by Rachel LeBlanc
In the future, when we live in space stations, leading simpler lives with a higher level of consciousness, I imagine the music produced will be much like the music already created by Seattle’s KRGA. The songs contained on these two albums, Magic Wand and June, are highly ethereal, droning vibrations layered upon pulsating electronic manipulations layered upon vibrations layered upon otherworldly sounds resulting from the crossing sound waves.
The force of this album is captivating. As with other drone music, I feel gripped in a meditative state, the sustaining notes taking hold of my imagination. Different from other drone acts though, KRGA’s music focuses on higher octaves rather than deep bass lines. Variation is the key, with the language of machines spoken throughout: beeps, static, signals, feedback, reverberation.
At times, beautiful atmospheres are created, particularly in “DM.” Other moments, if you are held close enough, induce a discomfort in a subliminally psychological way, much like a David Lynch soundtrack. This album is definitely not for everyone, nor do I think it is intended to be. But the composition contained in these albums, of pushing a guitar to what it can generate and further probing to what level you can take the produced sound waves, grant them at least a try.
The man behind this experimentation is local musician Kristian Garrard. Garrard is not new to the music world; this solo project is only the newest edition to a growing list of acts. He’s played drums in math-rock group Joules, has a solo acoustic act which makes the rounds at local venues frequently, and a few other appearances in groups, particularly of the non-mainstream sort. Availability of the KRGA tracks is strategically limited. Released on local atypical label Aphonia Recordings, as with the rest of their catalog’s releases, the songs are provided through digital download only, rather than a tangible source.
My word of advice: listen through headphones.