The success of A List Of The Burning Mountains – the first Oneida record following their 200+ minute musical triptych called Thank Your Parents that spanned three years and three albums – rests squarely on the sticks of drummer Kid Millions. For their 13th LP, Kid Millions functions as the de facto leader of band, who are somewhat of an institution in the experimental/avant/noise/out scene Brooklyn performance spaces. This is a band whose versatility and evolution transcends simply being coined as “progressive” or “genre-defying”. Oneida are unto themselves a singular musical organism, peerless, and pushing only against themselves to challenge their own status quo.
And so there’s little in the way of garrulous entertainment or easy entry for Burning Mountains, a frequently harmless, occasionally dangerous, and mostly curious album of oscillating noise drones and arryhytmic, spasmodic drumming. The record’s two tracks, both filling up the side of an LP at about 20 minutes each, are cursorily simple installations into the drone canon.
Atop landscape of circulatory synths and charred guitar, Kid Millions chisels away at the drone, attacking it from all sides — blast beats, ride cymbal rolls, raps on the bass drum, shots on the snare. But the synthesizers never break, they just swirl around the drums, mocking their effort, hardly informing what’s happening behind the kit. It’s a distorted reflection of the improvisational aesthetic of their live show — something more abrasive and discordant — but after repeated listens, the push and pull of the band becomes one of the album’s best assets.
If you looked at the waveform of these two tracks, the incline would be more on the Sunn O))) degree than that of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but the subtle dynamic shifts and the micro-changes in the two compositions will make Burning Mountains something to revisit, which is much more than you could ever ask from any other 40-minute drum solo.
Essential Tracks: N/A