The Drones

by Robin Parmar

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I keep coming back to the drone as the essence of music, from the primal to the contemporary. Ancients must have relished the thrum of the waterfall, the lash of wind in a storm, the sound of distant thunder detected first by the hairs of the neck. Instruments like the suburuburu (bullroarer) were held sacred in societies across the globe. From this simple twirling stick came a complex sound that seemed to mirror the cycles of day and night, tide on tide, season following season.

Drums were brought out for special occasions, played not only for rhythm but to elicit long-term oscillations in rhythm. Voices were trained to sing overtone notes and create beat frequencies... sounds that transcended what simple flesh should be capable of. Is it any wonder that such music is associated with mysterious rites and religious experiences?

In contemporary life we are surrounded by drones of our own construction: the thrum of tire on tarmac, the shriek of heavy machinery, the whine of a television transformer, or the ever-present AC power hum. Like all drones these are only annoying when we do not listen. As we pay attention they become strangely comforting. Their ever-changing but steadfast nature provides a safe sonic environment in which we can contemplate our life, just as the chanting of monks allows thoughts to turn inwards as actions cease. The drone and meditation go hand in hand.

Six years in the making, this is a collection of compositions that explore the drone through many methods and in various forms. I suggest that you play this music as loud as is practical and safe. Certain harmonic relationships and psychoacoustic effects become more apparent at increased volumes.

For this reason I also recommend that you download the high quality FLAC files. The streaming MP3 version is significantly compromised. But it's here to listen to for free, as you like.

Those who download the album as a unit will be gifted with a bonus track.

The limited edition CD of "The Drones" adds two further compositions that date back to 1987, making 67 minutes of music in all.

Tracks were recorded by Robin Parmar at Studio Ubiquity, unless otherwise noted. Released by Stolen Mirror as 2013D01 (digital) and 2013C01 (compact disk). For more releases, visit


released January 20, 2013



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Robin Parmar Limerick, Ireland

Robin Parmar is an electroacoustic composer, improviser, and sound artist based in Ireland. His pieces have been played in Canada, United States, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, England, Germany, and Sweden.

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