YOUNG DRUID - YOUNG DRUID
(2017 5 GATE TEMPLE)
Sealed with the canine ouroboros pictured above, YOUNG DRUID's debut compact disc offers arcane techno cloaked in an ascetic aesthetic: the British producer and frequent Dean Blunt accomplice stocks his eponymous LP with a dozen tunes topped with synthesized brass and digital gnosticism. It's a snug fit for the listener's ears in comparison to the cryptic network of .zip files released under DRUID's other aliases (John T. Gast, Tribe of Colin, etc.), marked by their coarse, lo-fi vacancy. Here, layers of silicone sediment are compressed into compact hallways of sound, imitating the sort of vaguely archaic jams that soundtracked the CD-ROM titles I'd thumb through and occasionally purchase on childhood trips to Target. These games, like Civilization IV and Age of Empires, each sought to invoke an air of ancient mysticism without nodding to any specific culture or time period. Their hyperreal settings were implied by earth-toned landscapes, brooding color schemes, and software-generated "world music" that channeled Enya as much as it did the smooth-jazz synth pop of Yellowjackets.
YOUNG DRUID's catalog of musical anthropology seems to have been recorded in one or both of these virtual worlds. "UV" in particular reveals the sense of incongruity that makes the record so interesting, splattering muzak saxophone against a militant wall of marching drums and pan flutes. It's the sort of background music that might spill into a shopping mall's vomitorium, adorned with Doric columns and heroic wall reliefs. "Blue" utilizes a more futurist arrangement of instrumentation to conjure its primordial mood, groaning drones sweating down vegetative bass as the steady rhythm of robotic congas suggests nearing danger. It is unclear whether these sounds seep from the landscape itself or are being piped in by a documentarian's team of editors.
Spinning this CD simulates the sensation of being clicked on. Of being the pawn in a PC user's turn-based RPG. Of travelling to multiple time periods at once. Young Druid is your laser-etched DeLorean.