Review by: Christian Sußner
Album assigned by: Tristan Peterson
Ayahuasca, recorded by the experimental trio Pelt mainly consists of drones played simultaneously on different string instruments including a couple of traditional Indian instruments. Most of the time we hear the band meandering extensively through different chords and combinations, sometimes more harmonic, sometimes more noisy with long feedbacks. Rhythm instruments appear very sparsely but sometimes, in the more folky and song-oriented moments of the album, there are vocals.
I’m not very familiar with drone music. I occasionally enjoy the monolithic power of Sunn O))) and other similar bands that somehow originate in a “metal-tradition” but take a more experimental approach on the genre. But Pelt is different, rather spiritual than cathartic, carefully shifting between frequencies rather than operating with sheer volume or other sonic extremes. I went through the over two hours of Ayahuasca in one session. Twice. And it neither caused me headaches nor did I find it really captivating. They do create a meditative atmosphere which I enjoyed in some moments but a bit too often smells of patchouli and batik clothing, of not-so-revolutionary-anymore senior-hippies in Goa. In the end I was glad when it was over.
Adorno in his “Introduction To Musical Sociology” establishes seven types of music consumers. On one end of the scale there is the “expert listener” who has a deep understanding of the subject and therefore enjoys music by identifying, following and predicting the composer’s motives and techniques. On the other side of the scale he identifies the “entertainment listener” for whom music is more a backdrop for other activities. I doubt that Pelt have enough to offer to entertain the sophisticated “expert listener”. On the other hand it is difficult to imagine situations in which the “entertainment listener” could enjoy this stuff. And no, I’m not going to make the obvious drug reference here.