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No Tracks In The Snow Noel Gardner , March 11th, 2019 08:33

In Drekka's new album No Tracks in the Snow, Noel Gardner detects shades of Coil, Flying Saucer Attack, and Jandek

Drekka is at once an odd fit for, and logical presence on, the roster of Dais, an American label whose intersection of industrial, noise and goth is generally accompanied by angular haircuts and edgy literary tastes. This project by Bloomington, Indiana musician Michael Anderson has existed for a little over two decades, runs to dozens of micro-run releases – No Tracks In The Snow compiles eight songs from Drekka’s earlier years – and is, in the main, a deeply gloomy grab-bag of tape-fi bedroom drone, loner folk and still more abstract tilts towards early industrial.

It often sounds like something which might have emerged from the Bristol area in the slipstream of Flying Saucer Attack, one of Anderson’s stated influences, or the swathe of American experimenters who picked that baton up later in the 90s: in touring and performing with Jessica Bailiff in 2002, Drekka effectively became a part of that canon. Often gathered under the cumbersomely wide umbrella of post-rock, you could equally – perhaps more usefully – observe a piece like ‘Strika’ in the context of Coil. Insular, eldritch psychedelia built from timestretched vocals, flutes (I think they’re flutes) which flicker in and out like a shortwave radio and delirious choral vocals amidst bassy rumble. First released in 2000, it makes few enough concessions to the outside musical world to avoid the possibility of datedness.

‘Instrumental 3’, recorded in 1996 at Drekka’s very inception, is centred on guitar, but a frightfully bleak inversion/subversion of blues motifs, a mood perhaps coined by Jandek on early LPs like Six and Six. ‘Christmas 1973 Or 1974’ – a very Jandek-y title, that – stretches this aesthetic out still further, vocal syllables either held or edited (the tape fuzz makes it hard to discern) for improbable lengths. In this company, the eight-minute, defiantly-named ‘We Are Who Not Lonely’ feels accessible by virtue of decipherable lyrics and psych-folk fingerpicking. Anderson’s more recent music is, impressively, every bit as cave-bound and inscrutable as the more youthful, mournful cries heard on this LP, but No Tracks In The Snow is a more than viable point to start digging.