Drekka/Octal split 7" (Blue Sanct Music 1997, INRI 024s)
Magnog 7" (Enraptured 45s 1996, RAPT 4508)
From Aural Innovations #6 (April 1999)
Drekka is Michael Anderson, a guitarist from Chicago who generally creates noises and feedback against a programmed drum track. His vocals are softly delivered, and are hard to pick out as a result. Of the two tunes on the 'A side' of this single, "Posterity is Futile" is the harsher, choppier track. "Visible Trace II" is more of the fuzzy drone variety, but is a touch more clever with what appear to be plucked acoustic guitar strings acting as 'percussion,' and vocal effects that give a more cosmic dimension. Mainly for the fans of harsher drone-rock like Jessamine and Jason Bill & Jack Rose (ex-Charalambides).
Octal is the solo side-project of Magnog's Jeff Reilly, based in suburban Seattle, Washington. "Sun Filters through Snow" is a quieter cosmic drone number that actually has a bit more life to it than some of the tracks on the 1997 full-length Octal CD (Space Age orbit 007cd). Again, the vocals are distant and chantlike, but Reilly's light guitar work (seemingly both rhythm and lead guitar at once) is more to my liking. In small quantities, there's a lot to be said for soundscape music - just don't play it in the car!
The full-trio Magnog released an earlier untitled 7" vinyl in 1996, including three non-CD tracks. "Mist Waves Riding the Hills" is not unlike the Octal material...quieter, spacier drone music with subtle vocals. The instrumental "Moving Ahead Again" relies on Reilly's active bassline, and a mid-range drone-soup that could be from any number of guitars. Dana Shinn's drumming is audible, but just barely. "Ghost States" is an eerie, rainy day number featuring noodling guitar lines by Reilly and Phil Drake in more of a Berlin-krautrock style. Again, the material works for me in small doses...the full-length works can get a bit tedious.
Reviewed by Keith Henderson