Stark soundscapes across Canada with National Drone Day


Photos by Christine McKenna


Drone day is not to be mistaken with the other drone day that involves those flying eyes in the sky. The Drone day I’m referring to is a day set out to celebrate all that is drone music.

What is drone though? Is it just a monotonous sound that drags on until you want to poke your eyes out with a needle? No, that’s called your neighbour cutting the lawn at 7 a.m. using a gas guzzling machine (although in the drone/experimental world this sound would probably be incorporated into a soundscape for the public’s listening pleasure).

Drone music is created using any type of instrument or recording forming a uniform sound with hills and valleys, sometimes more valleys than hills. It creates pathways for your mind and imagination to wander freely. It could encompass a delayed affected guitar playing an em-chord that’s held in place using an ebow, layered with the sound of a melancholic cello with softly placed robotic sounds.

Drone day was started 3 years ago, organized by Weird Canada volunteers and community members across Canada. This initiative is cool because it allows people  to organize their own “ode to Drone day”.

Although Tim Hecker is very talented and well known in the drone/experimental world, he is not the only artist out there that creates this type of music. Drone day showcases many artists and gives them a chance to share their art in a live setting.

In Ottawa there was a whole day packed with music and activities. Organizers featured not only musicians but many interactive displays for children and adults such as a kids “drone zone” (Hard Science hacks a Kinect system), open drone jams and other interactive performances, food, and some cool visuals.

Do some sweet droney Googling (feel free to start with Tim Hecker, it’s okay) and chill out to the whirrs and buzzes of just about everything.