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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Logan Seguin - Drone

How do you react to an artist who delivers an album chock-full of murderous references, who then concludes with a track asking if you could “try to be a little bit more happy?” That’s the challenge posed by 24-year-old Logan Seguin in the 8-track album, “Drone,” available via Bandcamp through Digitalis Recordings.

As the album title suggests, “Drone” draws upon the genre of the same name, and incorporates long, pulsating noises that could belong in a 2001: A Space Odyssey-type weightless environment where time stands still. However, “Drone” is not concerned with the universe beyond the stars; instead, it concentrates on the dark side of human nature.

The album builds dense buzzing synths around samples of dialogue primarily from horror films. For example, “Max Cady” is named for the villain in Cape Fear who terrorizes the family of the man responsible for sending him to prison. Track 3, “Dr. Loomis,” references the psychologist from the Halloween films, with the creepily slowed down speech describing “the devil” in Michael Myers’ six-year-old eyes. Similarly, “Mr. Grady,” “Annie” and “Patrick” incorporate quotes from The Shining, Misery and American Psycho.

While some sensitive listeners may require a dose of some happy top 40 to get the words from “Drone” out of his or her system, there’s something poetic about Logan’s decision to use such aggressive dialogue with minimalist noise. The deconstructed and exploratory nature of his music – where no shiny movie screens, fancy DP work, attractive actors, or popcorn are involved – makes hearing about stabbing, shooting, killing and dying all the more disturbing. Even ‘mainstream’ music seems to have desensitized listeners to such themes (how many people sing along to “Pumped Up Kicks” without thinking twice?).

The final “Drone” track, “Please…” is a departure from the rest of the album. This simultaneously sad and sweet ambient song offers up the only non-distorted voice pleading, “Would you please / just try to be / a little bit more happy with me / and one day maybe / I’ll be happy too.” In a way it’s as though Logan is taking five minutes to remind listeners that it’s time to cross back over into “normal” humanity.

In our correspondence, Logan, who hails from Michigan but moved to Los Angeles two years ago, alluded to frustrations over the sporadic completion of various projects. However, he is working on a new album – inspired by the pending birth of a friend’s child – that will be “positive and more upbeat” in opposition to the vibe of “Drone.” It seems that Logan Seguin is still honing in on what sound he’ll ultimately be known for, but at least he’s demonstrated that he’ll make the exploration worthwhile for listeners.

--Elaine Ordiz

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