Louigi Verona's Workshop


"droning" is a lifelong project to explore various forms of drone music, at the same time providing no context and allowing the listener to use his own context - experience, expectations, state of mind - to define the value of the project for himself. Thus, each release has no title, but just a number.

"droning" is not announced as a work of art, nor it is presented as not a work of art. In fact, the only thing said about "droning" is that it is a project to create certain type of audio recordings. What you get are those audio recordings. How you use them and how you understand them is up to you.

The reason for this is that I am simply unwilling to force any context beyond the context provided within the recordings themselves, believing that suggested contexts have influenced many works which otherwise would have had very different lives and places in our culture. I am deeply interested in what things can become when left out of initial context, suggested by the author or distributor.
What would you say about a painting of a black square if it was not presented as a work of art? Would you still find it classy? Would you enjoy looking at it? Would you notice it is really not a proper square? Would it matter? And I am not suggesting it won't. It might, but certainly in a very different way.

The ambiquity of the word "art" creates many complications. People can argue forever whether a particular book is art or not, but what it comes down to for each person is whether that particular book has touched him deeply or not. Things which are commonly considered to be art are usually things which have had an impact on many people in the past. Whether they should be considered art today is a valid question. Art is always a present judgement. Art that is called art only because it was relevant to people in the past is, in my view, not art today.

Another factor, which seems to be important, is whether the work done required a lot of skill and whether it shows. I think half of the charm of certain classical music is in its complexity and intricacy.

On the other hand, "weird" music, which breaks the laws of "ordinary" music, becomes possible only because it bounces off of "ordinary". It might not seem that interesting or even that weird without "ordinary" music as its context (or might be if we suppose that "ordinary" music is more common because of the tools we use to perceive sound - our ears and brain). Nevertheless, in my comments to "radiogram" I point out that perceiving sound music as a way to destruct the usual note music is an error and comes from misunderstanding how a sound composer works and how the end result should not be regarded as note music, but something completely different. Additionally, it can be done in a way that sounds completely natural and pleasurable to the human ear. In that case it is "weird" only culturally, not biologically.

Of course, it is impossible to remove all context in a literal sense. Everything we perceive is contextual. Our whole way of thinking is contextual. But the amount of context and its nature may vary. Common context is basically physical laws of the world, natural sounds, smells, things based on our biological nature. Cultural context is when something is perceived in reflection to other things, bouncing off of cultural artifacts and images. "droning" aims to remove as much context as possible. By not providing a title to each droning piece, I am able to let listener imagination work and assign images to the sound freely. But numbers might still be part of the narrative. A person with synaesthesia might assign colors and feelings even to numbers.

Technical notes

The amount of recordings allows me to explore many forms. Ranging from dull humming of simple tones to spacey and rich textures, presented drones display lots of styles. The overwhelming majority of them has no beats, but several do. A noticeable sub-class of dronings feature or are based upon note sequences, commonly called "arpeggios".

Compositionally "droning" is monotone. By that I mean that there are no beginnings and no endings. Each droning is done as if you are hearing a snapshot of a larger process. There are usually no breakdowns, no change of mood in the middle. For many tunes the dynamics of the first 30 seconds is what you can expect throughout the whole run of the tune. This is especially true for the first 100 and becomes less so as releases progress.

This concept is very important because it attempts to capture the whole essence of droning as an activity. Immersive experiences like this require continuation on a very special level - conceptual infinity. Many compositions have a beginning, middle and ending. Even if no such thing is there, it is usually implied by the way the melody is written. Some great examples of songs that do not have an ending are songs which work well when looped, when there is compositionally no "reason" to stop. Same is done in "droning". Every droning piece is conceptually infinite, as nothing in the way sounds are laid out gives any compositional or conceptual reason for the process to stop. In popular music a device that is sometimes being used to end the song and at the same time increase emotional appeal of the melody is to shift it up half a tone or a whole tone. Some of these tunes are written in such a way that at some point in time you can go up a tone again and then keep on going. Melody might not provide any compositional solution to breaking this pattern.

This unending process is actually more similar than a typical song to the way reality as a whole appears to work. The Universe around us does not seem to have any valid reason to stop - we know of no physical law that tells things to cease to function. Narration is part of how mammal brains evolved, so that we can organize information into easy to work with chunks. But reality as a whole is too complicated to be a narrative. It can be viewed as a narrative, of course, but so complicated that there is no point of framing it as such. And so project "droning" is a way to provide a narrative-less environment in which one either views the narrative as ever-continuous or does not perceive it as a narrative at all. This might not be very easy to achieve, but nonetheless possible.

As the number of dronings rises, the amount of variations of this rule does as well. Still, every droning conceptually and compositionally has neither a beginning nor ending. Even if the structure is there, it does not allow to mark a definitive "intro" or a definitive "middle". That can be said even of the very sophisticated compositions like droning248, where there are clear parts, but none of those parts can be singled out as a starting point. droning260 is another example of a droning piece that sounds more like a conventional tune with a structure and development of sorts, but one can also see it as a looped experience, when ending is really the same as beginning. It also deliberately happens in the middle, so that the listener looks at the tune as a series of islands connected by bridges. Conceptually, that series of islands has very little reason to start or stop.

Volume-tuning of "droning" was a difficult thing for me at the start, because I had to choose whether to make drones loud or not. I had to find the precise volume I would be satisfied with. Eventually, I chose what you hear. Some might say that the volume is not as high as they wish. However, I found that there is a noticeable difference between quitely playing a loud file and loudly playing a quiet file. I chose the latter for the more accurate effect since in essence many recordings were made to be quiet recordings. However, you are free to increase the volume, since another good thing about releasing quieter music is that it gives a listener sonic space to play with. A noticeable rise in overall volume starts from droning140 and onwards.

I do not group drones in any particular order, but number them as they go. Most dronings recieve a number before any work on them is started.