Before the Rāga Comes the Drone

Category: multichannel sound installation, electroacoustic composition 
Date: February 13, 2024
Location: Berlin 
Venue/Gallery: Errant Sound
Curated by: Errant Sound 
Sound recording, music mixing and mastering: Vladimir Razhev

The cyclic principle and form of the drone create or imply a harmonic and textural canvas, extending an invitation to attune. Here, a sound is sustained with enough consistency to form a grounding presence, influencing the listener’s state of mind to a moment of concentrated unity, as if approaching a sound source that has been present all along. Just as a prism reveals the hidden spectrum within light, the drone reveals itself in a spectrum of musical colours, each note refracted into a vibrant array of harmonic relationships. The once static and unassuming drone now takes on a dynamic quality, revealing continuous movements with fractal subtleties.

Experienced in a spatial sound set-up, 'Before the Rāga Comes the Drone' is a contemplative exploration of sound and form through the enigmatic intricacies and energy of age-old acoustic instruments and the spatial dynamics that unfold within vibratory relationships. The resulting interplay of multiple instruments saturates the space with shifting overtones, a polymorphic variety of sonic textures that, at times, unite in resonance or become their own element, constantly undergoing continuous change in emphasis and location, revealing their nuances to careful listening.

“Based on a distillation of home recordings, I am guided by instruments with an intrinsic drone character, particularly the tanpura. Its different tuning variations let me start with a simple sound and create a foundation through the harmonics of each string. This approach is extended to other instruments like the gusli and psaltery, which, when acoustically extended and thoughtfully treated, contribute to recreating the drone effect. I also spontaneously immerse myself in recording sound fragments of my voice and drones on woodwinds, harmonium, vibratory bells, and bowls. The different tonal layers, currents, and oscillations emphasise unique harmonic structures as quintessential vessels of resonance.”

Details and installation views

Duration: 18 minutes 22 seconds
spatial sound installation (8 channels)
four Neumann studio monitors (quadraphonic)
four PPA 205 1PX 5 (suspended)



Binaural stereo master

Download lossless FLAC file 
Download lossless WAV file

Note: Please use good quality headphones if possible to be able to fully immerse yourself in the spatial aspects of the piece.

Publishing Materials