Drowse Announces New Album for The Flenser, ‘Wane Into It’
Drowse Announces New Album for The Flenser, Wane into It
The third full-length from Kyle Bates’s long running exploration of slowcore and experimentation will be out November 11th. // Watch a video for the album’s opener, “Untrue in Headphones.”
Photo by Lula Asplund.
In 2019, Drowse’s Kyle Bates set out to produce a self-recorded new album. Marked by moving across state lines, long-distance relationships, and deaths in the family, the following years proved to be metamorphic. Now, three years later, he’s emerged with Wane into It, continuing a distinctly Pacific Northwestern tradition of self-recording indie experimentalists (Grouper, The Microphones, Unwound’s Leaves Turn Inside You).
One of the most impactful moments came during the looming passing of a family member. With death expected, the choice was made to conduct a bizarre “living-wake” gathering — with the soon-to-be-deceased in attendance. Shortly after, Bates found himself disturbed,preoccupied with the abstraction of memory. The experience led him to reassess the tool we use to curate our selective memories: the internet. The internet, which creeped into even more aspects of life during the pandemic, serves as our self-made digital link to the past. Its uncaring presence layered over humbling thoughts of death and his own childhood memories of the Oregon Coast as he worked on Wane into It; life’s hyperreal texture sank into the recordings as he felt his body age and wane.
Bates comments, “’Untrue in Headphones’ was the first song that I wrote for Wane into It. In fall 2019, I captured the Bass VI parts DI through a preamp in my apartment because I couldn’t make too much noise. I recorded in different spaces and it kept expanding: live vibraphone arrangements, textures from Mills College’s Buchla 100s, field recordings of my van sampled into percussion etc… I asked Madeline from Midwife to collaborate on guitar and vocals because I knew her haunting style would add otherworldly colors to the sound. Working with her was surreal.”
He continues, “The song is about ambiguity, listening to Burial’s Untrue on a train to anesthetize myself, and being ok with our inability to fully know another person—finding the value in it. The accompanying video was shot during a residency in La Barre, France, and on the Oregon Coast. It invokes the difficulty of being present: thoughts fragmenting through time and place.”
Big sounds were captured in bedrooms, hallways, practice spaces, forests, and on highways throughout West Coast — vibraphones chime over black metal guitars, a mellotron drones under degraded samples, violins splinter against granular field recordings. In the process of documenting these aural moments Bates completed an MFA at Mills College, coloring the album with shades of avant-electronic and minimalist composition (Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, Maryanne Amacher, Sarah Davachi etc…). To realize this scope Drowse collaborated with Madeline Johnston (Midwife), Alex Kent (Sprain), Lula Asplund, a chamber ensemble and more.
Bates’s songwriting and production have never been more lucid; sounds flicker as he sings with fragile intensity. The record, Drowse’s third for The Flenser, impressionistically distills loss, distance, mystery, prescription drugs, the preservation of memory via recording, and ambient anxiety through its titular act: to Wane into It, to disappear awaiting the next moon phase, water returning to sea before reemerging as a wave.
Pre-order Wane into It ahead of its November 11th street date here.