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Brian John Mitchell
Brian John Mitchell: four and a half four and a half
MP3 Album 2012 | Silber 115
1 track, 270 minutes
$5 download (500 megs, may take a little while to download)

A 4.5 hour drone built from ebowed guitars & basses accompanied by synthesizers & theremin.

: Press Release
: Digital Booklet

Track Listing (500 megs, so there may be streaming issues):
four and a half

A 4.5 hour drone built from ebowed guitars & basses accompanied by synthesizers & theremin. Highly Recommended if you like – Brian Eno, Lamont Young, Gyorgy Ligeti, and the likes. How much drone can you handle… your patience will be tested on this one.
~ The Sirens Sound

Brian John Mitchell’s ‘four and a half’ gives new meaning to the word ‘patience’. Drone is known for its hypnotic quality, with four and a half though this is taken to its logical extreme. Over the course of four and a half hours of uninterrupted music it remains nearly stationary. Thanks to the help of digital media this is even possible. Before pieces this long and this extended (Eliane Radigue’s work comes to mind in terms of sheer length) were cut up into smaller, one hour pieces.
The length of the piece makes this intimidating. With the large amount of digitalized music going for shorter lengths this is completely massive. Being able to understand what is going on here is almost hopeless. In the face of such sheer size it is impossible to pick a ‘defining moment’. ‘Four and half ’comes the closest to the concept of ‘infinity’ I’ve ever heard in music. Shifts do occur but these are so gradual it remains impossible to detect. Sonically this is an interesting experience as the initially harsh combination of guitar and electronic drone creates an oddly soothing sound. On the low end is where Brian gets the most interesting, subtly panning the piece in pivotal moments and adding phasing effects when needed.
Picking out a favorite part of this piece is hopeless. What remains impressive is how Brian can slow time down with this sort of music. There are no melodies or rhythms to hold onto, unless the sound of gently moving waves counts. Despite the harshness and massive scale of the piece it remains rather engaging, like picking out the individual patterns in a giant boulder.
~ Beach Sloth

Brian John Mitchell (Remora, Small Life Form) has just released his first album under his own name, and it’s a big project. Four and a half is an MP3 album featuring a... four-and-a-half-hour drone. Yes, four and a half hours (exactly) of a monolithic sonic construct of numerous guitar and synth tracks that hide micro-variations under a static macro-structure that will make you crazy. I acknowledge the work and the craft that went into this behemoth, and I appreciate Mitchell’s decision to make the track available for download for a single dollar, but that doesn’t make it more enjoyable to listen.
~ François Couture, Monsieur Delire