Like his fellow countryman Oren Ambarchi, Tim Catlin is an Australian musician who seeks to play the guitar and a few other instruments in unorthodox ways to explore the well-worn, but often rewarding, concept of the drone. His debut album, ?Radio Ghosts?, on 23five Incorporated features seven lengthy pieces.
Though the term is misused rampantly these days, Catlin?s music is absolutely the embodiment of ?drone.? Every single track on ?Radio Ghosts? consists of a single sound/note that does not really change, but simply expands as the piece pushes forward. This concept remains focused and unchanged throughout the album?s length, but Catlin?s methods change from track to track. One can easily imagine him pressing some strange, vibrating object against the strings of his acoustic guitar in the first track ?Hysterisis? as the guitar buzzes and moans away. At one point it even starts to sound like a harmonium. Although I have little doubt that his methods are innovative and quite possibly complex, each track wears out its welcome eventually and, on the whole, the album doesn?t make for an especially engaging listen.
Catlin strays from his focus on the guitar on the album?s title track, which uses static and radio samples, as well as ?Mirage?, where he plays only a crash cymbal. Still, similar results are achieved.
?Radio Ghosts? might prove to be interesting and enjoyable for guitar nuts and fans of emotionally detached experimental music. But anyone who craves contemporary drones with a sense of musicality that probe the dark, uncharted depths of human consciousness should stick to Troum, Emeralds, Robedoor, and those good old Double Leopards. 6/10 -- Franklin Teagle (24 October, 2007)