California-via-Cambridge based drone duo The Fun Years is Ben Recht on baritone guitar and Isaac Sparks on turntables and electronics. They’ve been releasing music since 2004’s Now That’s What I Call Drone, Volume 4. Following up on 2010’s God Was Like, No is this year’s One Quarter Descent, a collection of 4 ambient drones released on LA-based label Spring Break Tapes. Wrapped up in an ever present background of dusty old vinyl hiss, it shows the band continuing with their minimalist yet blissful atmosphere, keeping things on the mellower and more harmonious side of drone.
Each track blends into the next one, the first one being sun blackened field daisy, which starts sparse and soft but grows into a lush many-layered soundscape of guitar loops and turntable noises. As things peter out it leads into Decapite El Mirlo with a lonely descending guitar riff ensconced in crackles and pops that ties the two tracks together. This lull of sorts coagulates into a seething tide of static and feedback, filled out by reverberating guitar and innumerable squiggly little sounds.
The next side is similar, starting strong with Sea The Shroud, one of the most guitar-heavy yet subdued tracks on this already chilled out album. After a ponderous and beautiful intro with a wonked out little piano sample, the drone balloons into layers of bubbly looping guitar, before wandering off into the scratchy warmth of Janice Was Into Recovery to close out the album.
The Fun Years excell at reconciling their gadgets with a dreamy organic vibe, like the meandering thoughts of a cyborg with its head in the clouds. Their emphasis on the repetition of simple phrases evokes a similar sort of atmosphere to minimalist composers of yore, while the contrast created by recht’s guitar and sparks’ electronics,adds to their freshness among drone artists. You’ll have to listen to one quarter descent over on bandcamp, since the limited cassette run is sadly sold out.