Experimentation often leads to failure before success. Such is the case with MV & EE, which has used multiple monikers (Tower Recordings, Medicine Show, the Bummer Road and now the Golden Road) to traverse acid and free-folk, psychedelia and drone. If MV & EE have experienced much failure to this point, the group’s interstellar opus, Drone Machine, is the reward that follows the disarray.
Drone Trailer opens like a Bardo Pond record rather than a free-folk recording, with a blizzard of fuzz and incomprehension called “Anyway.” The storm clears with “The Hungry Stones,” as acoustic strums, harmonic hums and Matt Valentine’s stoned impression of Neil Young whist about in harmony.
The resemblance to Neil Young is unswerving throughout the record, but Valentine’s strange interpretation is like Young in a capsule beaming radio signals down to Earth. Lines like “I reckon I’ll go toward the drone and head out for the slow tapes” exemplifies how detached Valentine has taken his drugged-out Young impersonation: The line is like a mirror of “Ambulance Blues,” where Young desperatly croons, “I’m deep inside myself, but I’ll get out somehow.”
The title and music that encompass Drone Trailer seem to sum up what MV & EE have attempted all along — a peculiar, acid-drenched and improvised take on American traditional music. Even while working inside a style that has changed very little throughout its multiple-century lifespan, with Drone Trailer MV & EE have learned that looking outside tradition and beyond the past is a precious means of progression.