Drone and Hum is not necessarily a new record – it was originally released five years ago, back in 2014, as a digital format. Now, as the year closes, this special album is released as a very limited 12” lathe cut vinyl edition, encased in a handmade sleeve and including a 6-page booklet. Photography from J.M Almqvist and a short story by Andrea Lundgren (which is written in Swedish) completes this delightful package. A stamped box includes the English translation of the story, along with an etched iron ore inside another bag. As if that wasn’t enough, 2 download codes for Drone and Hum and Drone and Hum Reworked are also included. The music is deserving of a beautiful physical release. Now, after a time, it has one.
Old Amica’s sound is warm and comforting; wintry, but ultimately merry and bright. Chords are full and deep, resonating into the air and creating a sound that feels satisfied, complete, and whole. The music travels slowly, as if it were trampling through clumps of snow. Light tweaks take place here and there, altering notes, reversing them, and experimenting with the general flow of sound, but this never interferes or overtakes the music. The piano is still at the forefront, even with these subtle genetic mutations. Altered notes surround the main piano completely, not as a hostile act, but as a benevolent form of protection, an extra layer of warm clothing which adds to the sound rather than distracts or subtracts.
The ambient sound billows out of ‘Solstrimman’ in a spectacular and utterly gorgeous way, and a place of spaciousness echoes throughout the album, where open, snow-coated fields stay untouched and villages are home to tiny populations. Although only making a brief appearance, a clean electric guitar adds some more colour with a warm, repeating melody. In the background, an ambient soundscape lingers and then covers the guitar’s sound in a gust of wind and dancing snow. The movements are almost balletic. The guitar is eventually lost in the ambient layer, shrouded in it completely. And the closing track ‘Eric’s Dinosaurs’ sees the homely piano return, and a thawing arrives with the birdsong. The piano is old, an elderly being, but it has aged like a fine wine, bringing musical maturity and sprinkling experience all over the record. There’s a lot of breathing space here, and as such, it’s a perfect album to close the year.