Do you hear that? It's the sound of Canada, droning together as one.
Saturday, May 28 is the third annual Drone Day, with celebrations now taking place in every province and territory of Canada (plus Germany, Bulgaria, Latvia, and England, for good measure). Marie LeBlanc Flanagan, Executive Director of Weird Canada, says the idea was conceived over soup while complaining about the lack of specific days for community celebration.
Drone, more than almost any other style of music, promotes collaboration, inclusivity, and spontaneous celebrations (drones). It's therapeutic and can encourage mental health. It represents oneness, a frequency you can tune into across the country. Here's a short list of events, in record stores and churches, rooftops and alleys. Expect some renegade drones in parks and kitchens, maybe even a few of serendipitous drones at airports and construction sites.
We corresponded with Flanagan about what appeals to her about drone, what it means to her, and then she made us a giant playlist of Canadian music that incorporates drone. Jump in somewhere and ride it out.
Chart Attack: Where did you get the idea for Drone Day, and how did it become what it is now?
Marie LeBlanc Flanagan: Drone Day was born in the kitchen, I was making soup. I was chopping up vegetables, feeling heated, and complaining about a late record. That year the Beatles Box Set was getting released in time for Record Store Day, so almost every LP in Canada was months late. Tours were delayed, small artists and do-it-yourself labels were struggling to make it work, everything was a mess.
I wanted a day for my community to own, to make with it what they wanted. That’s how Drone Day was born.
I wanted something different than that. I wanted to have a day I could get excited about, and not with some wall-leaning, eye-rolling, half-hearted smirk, I wanted to really be excited about the day itself. I wanted a day as an adult that reminded me of how holidays felt as a kid. I wanted a day for my community to own, to make with it what they wanted. That’s how Drone Day was born.
How would you define drone music? Is Canada a specific hotbed for it?
I’m not brave enough to define the genre of drone music, I’m sure there are a hundred well-intentioned musicology professors and old guard experts hovering over their keyboards under imposing walls of records and “history of music” books, waiting for me to make that mistake. But I will delightedly talk about the sound-element of drone.
The sound of drone is incredibly old, in music. It is cross-cultural, showing up in cow-bladder bagpipes, organum, sitars, didgeridoos, gagaku, hardinger fiddles, and human voices. Drones are in deep space, in NASA recordings of the planets, in the sounds of nature.
We have this incredible richness in Canada for experimental music, and we have these tiny pocketed communities stretched across vast uninhabited spaces, from the prairie skies to the deep forests, the northern ice, and the lonely badlands. I think drone is a fitting sound for Canada. Certainly Canadians have responded with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement for drone day, with many remote and even solo Drone Day celebrations.
How did you choose the artists in this playlist?
It’s really hard to make lists. I just want to include everyone, but it would probably break the site. For this like I chose songs that move me and incorporate elements of drone.
32 Essential Canadian Tracks that incorporate Drone
YlangYlang, "Descent In A Feminine Breakdown" (Montreal QC)
Sarah Davachi, "Barons Court" (Vancouver BC?)
Mot, "sands" (Victoria BC)
Comma I, "A Raga" (Montreal, QC)
Markus Floats, "Bandaid" (Montreal QC)
anthéne, "reaction" (Toronto ON)
Guidewire, "mar mar mar" (Regina SK)
Ian William Craig, "Either/Or" (Vancouver BC)
White Poppy, "Emotional Intelligence" (Victoria, BC)
Moss Harvest, "Dusk, Shrouded In Fog" (Halifax NS)
C. Diab, "Ice" (Vancouver, BC)
Echo Beach, "Solitaire" (Montreal QC)
Castle If, "Time" (Toronto ON)
Nennen, "Harbour" (Montreal, QC)
Isles Day, "Monoculture" (Toronto ON)
Brigitte Bardon't, Drone Therapy demo (Toronto ON)
Téléphone Maison - Appeler le Faiseur
Ssurfacing - I don’t want to die in the city (Montreal, QC)
Chad Munson – Infinity Mirror (Saskatoon SK)
Quiet Drones 7 SCOTT M2, HEIKI, PROCESSOR, dreamSTATE VS. HEIKI, CHROMOSPHERE and LUMINOUS HAZE (Toronto ON)
Gabe Pillar, Les Autres (St John’s NL)
GATES, "Moths Have Eaten the Core" (Toronto, ON)
Alcrete, "Abandoned by her people" (Montreal QC)
Cyclopean Wall, "Hypothesized Planet" (Toronto, ON)
Burden, "B" (Winnipeg MB)
Nick Schofield, "Droen" (Montreal QC)
The Phobic Trust, "Parcials IV" (Vancouver, BC)
surely i come quickly, "nahanni" (Saskatoon SK)
Immortal Beings, Mars 1266 (Side A) (Winnipeg, MB)
Valiska, "Dawn" (Calgary AB)
Janine Fortin, "Les marécages" (Quebec, QC)
lilac, "water boatman" (Winnipeg MB)