Insect Factory is the solo guitar drone project of one Jeffrey Barsky of Silver Spring, Maryland. Now, as you could probably guess, the words “solo guitar drone project” sometimes conjure up some startlingly bad mental images. However, on the new release Air Traffic Control Sleep, Insect Factory delivers the sort of drone that is, y’know, actually engaging! Like, not only did I not get bored listening to it, I actually liked it! There’s something in Insect Factory’s sound that reminds me of what I’ll call (for lack of a better term) post-Niblock electronic drone (apologies to Mr. Phill Niblock as he is certainly still alive and well and making great music), wherein rock guitars were used to make pretty heavy non-rock music. The first (and foremost) practitioner of this style who comes to mind is Rafael Toral, the Portuguese guitarist who began making heavy drone statements such as Wave Field in the mid-1990s (more on him in a post coming soon). Insect Factory continues pleasantly in Toral’s footsteps, using guitar to make music that sounds nothing like “guitar music.”
Funnily enough, the last track on the record, “Landing Back on the Shore [By Morning],” isn’t really drony at all, but since it’s the shortest, it’s what I’ve decided to upload. This song is unlike the other two on Air Traffic Control Sleep, but don’t let that deter you. You can buy Air Traffic Control Sleep direct from Insect Fields here (for cheap!).
Barsky is also a member of/contributor to D.C.’s excellent Kohoutek, who will be soon releasing a new CD entitled Expansive Headache on Music Fellowship shortly. In the meantime, here is their self-titled two-song CDr from 2005, unfortunately Barsky-less, but still worth your time (disclaimer: I booked a Kohoutek/Mouthus show in the fall of 2005). And if you happen to live in the Washington, D.C. area, you can catch another Barsky band Civilians on September 18th (with Eddy Current Suppression Ring), Insect Factory on September 20th (as part of the Sonic Circuits festival), and Kohoutek on September 28th (with Alasehir and Suishou No Fune), all at the Velvet Lounge.
In an unrelated note, I will be moving at the end of the month, so posts may become infrequent. I know all two of my readers will be upset, but that’s the way it goes.