Growing: Hardest Working Drones
- Words: Fred Miketa
Close your eyes and imagine that you're in an igloo. You're all by yourself. It's pitch black. Then you start to hear the sounds in your mind, rekindling the sensations of love, life, death, and suffering. Open your eyes. You've just experienced the cerebral din of Kranky Records' ambient guitar drone masters, Growing.
Hailing from New York City–by way of Olympia, WA–guitarist Joe Denardo and bassist Kevin Doria take the sensations of human life and weave them into soundscapes of the most intricately primitive proportions. It's a bit unfair to categorize a duo as colorful as Growing as merely an instrumental indie rock project. Their sound consists of layer upon layer of subsonic heaviness, unresolved feedback, and gorgeous flutters of delay, consummating a style and vision all its own.
The duo began playing together in college, both intent on escaping the constrictions of their respective hardcore/punk backgrounds. "Growing was the first thing each of us took seriously in any way, so it was always just about making good sounds from the start," says Denardo. Serious is a gross understatement. Since Growing's formation in the fall of 2001, the duo has managed to release seven albums with re-releases of several of the band's limited cassette projects, a split remix EP, and a new full-length on the way; not to mention the duo's latest record, The Soul of the Rainbow and The Harmony of Light, which is a weighty homage to an 1893 essay by Bainbridge Bishop regarding the relationship between color and sound.
Growing has played everywhere, from all-ages hardcore shows to the highly regarded All Tomorrow's Parties festival in England. These experiences have exponentially evolved their creative process. With each release, the duo's ambitions transcend the conventions of an already revolutionary sound palate. "I like to concentrate on how the sounds are resolving themselves," Denardo muses. "And when things are good, everything is very even and I feel like I'm not at a shitty venue anymore."
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