Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dragunov - 637

Written by Justin C.


Paris-based duo Dragunov has put out an excellent instrumental EP called 637. The longest song on the EP is 6:37, and the shortest song on the EP is also 6:37. Keen students of mathematics will have figured out by this point that ALL five tracks are exactly 6:37 long. Tristan, the drummer, explained to me that they hadn't intended to make this a 6:37-concept album, but when the first couple of songs ended up the same length, they decided to go for it. I didn't even notice it at first, which is a little embarrassing, but on the other hand, it's a good thing from a musical perspective. If I'm not having moments of "This song is tooooo loooooong" or "I wish they'd explored this idea more", then I know the music is in that sweet spot of holding my interest completely.

The band self-describes their music as "garage post-metal", which I think is pretty apt. It has the kind of dissonant riffing and wide dynamics you might expect from post-metal, but the guitar sound is dirty and crunchy, and they're not afraid to go for simple-but-effective riffing, as demonstrated in the beginning of the second track, "Adin". "Adin" also demonstrates how effective the musical basics can be when done right. A sample in the middle of the song is accompanied by sustained guitar chords and a pulsing drum beat that quiets and swells. A lot of bands in the post-metal world rely on a simpler formula of quiet-LOUD-quiet-LOUD to break up the music, but it's easy to forget how much a subtle ebbing and flowing in dynamics can add to the musicality of a song.

The songs on this EP are always full of motion. The band doesn't bother with conventional song structure, but they don't devolve into chaos, either. The riffs are catchy, but the duo never grinds them into the ground with over-repetition. And their sense of dynamics is far from the only tool they use from the musical toolbox. Midway through "Tchetyre", we get a fantastic little alternating-note riff that eventually explodes into a more furious variation. Album closer "Piatt" has some great call-and-response sections, with a distant-sounding guitar leading off with an idea, followed by full-bore explosion based on the same idea. This all leads up to a fantastic, sawing riff that plays the EP out.

I haven't seen much mention of this band outside from a post from our brethren over at No Clean Singing, but 637 is a gem of instrumental goodness that deserves much wider recognition.


[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Tagged with 2015, Dragunov, Justin C, post-metal
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