Ashley Bellouin – Ballads

Today’s featured album is an LP of drone compositions by a young avant-garde composer. This is Ms. Bellouin’s second LP overall and first for Drawing Room. The instruments played on this LP are as follows: harmonium, glass armonica, aluminum rods, electronics, electric guitar, and cello.

Side A of the LP begins with a looping drone that gradually gets louder. A bubbling melody comes in, and low, gritty, string-like tones emerge that evolve into a feeling of warmth and tranquility. Small shimmers of melody are added to the mix along with some ringing, chiming tones. As the track progresses, the low tones fade back and forth to the foreground and background. There is some repetitive bleeping, some use of volume, bright melody, and a good deal of texture.

Side B of the LP is much more ominous and uneasy. A high-pitched tone starts this track and moves into a low drone with some shimmering melody and very low, furniture-rattling bass tones. There is a melodic wash of sound and some layering and texture again. Gradually the high-pitched tone comes back, gets louder, and evolves into distortion and feedback. By the end of this side, I’m feeling a bit disoriented.

This is a very nice LP that should please fans of avant-garde and drone music. The record is well-pressed, looks great, and comes with a poster and an MP3 download card.

Ballads can be purchased from Bandcamp and Drawing Room Records.

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