Monolithic Undertow: In Search of Oblivion

A new book exploring the history of drone music will be published this February by Hachette imprint White Rabbit Books. ‘Monolithic Undertow: In Search of Oblivion’ is the debut work from arts journalist Harry Sword, charting the journey of drone music from ancient religious tradition to contemporary underground experimentation.

The drone, says Sword, occupies a unique place in music composition: neither a chord nor a melody, its power transcends that of popular music and equates to something far more spiritual. He cites its origins in Neolithic tribal chants as evidence of the drone as a time-honoured musical foundation, laying down the blueprint for avant-garde works by Sunn O))), drone metal pioneers Earth, and the ambient krautrock of Ash Ra Tempel.

Comparing the “universal hum” to an audio portal, Sword views drone music as a creative force to unlock the door to a more enlightened sense of being. Linking ritual sounds and modern electronic rock music to the very beginnings of the universe, Sword offers an engrossing investigation that enriches our understanding of the way music works around us.