Dronal Whilst We FallSUP009: CD / Digital
Release Date: 28th September 2023
Format: CD, Digital
Written, produced and mixed by Dronal (Alex Leonard)
Cover Design by Supple 9
Mastered by Porya Hatami
Whilst We Fall is the third album under Alex Leonard’s Dronal moniker, and one which he started writing way back in October 2019. The Dronal project has always been one with which he intended to merge his passion for ambient/drone music with that of field recordings, and with this release he wanted to investigate the blurred boundaries between the natural world and the one which we have created on top of it.
He considers it a love-letter to that nature which survives in the areas upon which humanity encroaches, but as the project developed he couldn’t help but find notes of sorrow entering the works, coming out of both grief and frustration at the loss of biodiversity, and the inadequate global reaction to the ongoing climate crisis. The front cover borrows its striated lines from a graph provided by NASA's Earth Observatory, measuring global temperature anomaly from 1880 to 2022 - an exponential fall into the red.
The initial ideas for the album came quickly, but were slowly developed over the following two years. Depth and an organic feel were provided by subtle use of field recordings from both natural and urban environments; fluidity and escape from grid structures were provided by multiple layered improvised takes with synthesisers and effects units in his Berlin studio.
The mixdowns were completed in early 2023, and the album was beautifully mastered by Porya Hatami, who has mastered albums by the likes of Arovane, Aidan Baker, Pausal, Andrew Tasselmyer and many more.
The end result is a soft and intimate collection of slowly morphing soundscapes, built on a somewhat mournful foundation, but with notes of hope overlain. The album envelops the listener, draws them close, and whispers.
Try and replicate the skilful touch of someone like Taylor Deupree, and you’ll struggle with the effort of restraint required to capture those atmospheres ... so ... when I come upon an album deep and rich, I notice right away the intricate details, the work that has gone in to make it sound so effortless and unassuming ...
The sound flows like a sonically rich, relentless river, slowly enveloping and filling each crevice with generous oscillations spread out through frequency space.
When flowing water is heard, one thinks of melting glaciers; the extended tones are like the expanses of the polar tundras. The organic undercurrent – piano and other instruments buried in the sonic morass – is akin to data present yet willfully unperceived. The album is as gorgeous as the cover, although as the author admits it is also sorrowful, at times suffused with despair... Whilst we fall, we will continue to deliver elegies, and rail against the machine, and flame out like burning embers.
Maximum goodness found here (we're using a track on our mid-October podcast).
... the nine pieces here are very much individual. Sounds of water, rain and obscured urban landscapes mingled with massive synthesizer paths ... Dronal's music is expertly made.
Dronal is a side project started in 2019 by Alex Leonard. He's an Irish electronic music producer based in Berlin, Germany.
He uses Dronal as an outlet for long form drone projects which incorporate extensive field recordings.
Previously he has released multiple LPs as Ebauche with albums like Mutable being selected as Best of 2018 by both Headphone Commute (UK) and A Closer Listen (US). Additionally, he releases music under the name Exan through the excellent Los Angeles based record label, Errorgrid.