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"Kinetic Tones"

Oaken Palace


LP (edition of 500 bronze vinyl)


Sonic Meditations










One of Drone’s most prolific artists, Justin Wright aka Expo ’70 can look back on an impressive discography counting more than 40 albums since 2003, which have undoubtedly influenced many other musicians in the Experimental/Psychedelic/Drone community and attracted a huge followership in the scene. This has resulted in extensive touring, the last one through 11 countries in Europe, and several live releases.


Now Expo ’70 returns with a brand-new studio album, showcasing his trademark organic guitar drones that propel the listener ever deeper (or higher?) into other states of consciousness. Kinetic Tones was recorded all to analog reel-to-reel with no over-dubs, which gives the whole album an even more personal and intimate feel. The album spans over four tracks that range from minimalist Drone over spooky Psychedelia to harmonic and beautiful soundscapes, reaching a total running time of just under 40 minutes.




A Look in The Local Bin: Expo ’70

Originally started by Steven Ervay, A Look in The Local Bin does exactly what you’d think: looks at the cool local records in Mills Record Company. Last time I combed through the local section, I looked at some heavier punk and radio friendly rock. This time I’m looking at Expo ’70‘s latest LP Kinetic Tones. Expo 70′s thick drones create a lush atmosphere that wraps its listener in a warm blanket of sound.


The record itself is a beautiful object. Featuring incredibly intense album art, the record is pressed on 140g bronze vinyl. This not only looks fantastic as it spins on any turntable, it also gives Kinetic Tones a definitely physical presence that is blurred a bit by the music that hides in the album’s grooves.


Simultaneously ethereal and deeply intimate, Kinetic Tones spans nearly 40 minutes of droning ambient music that jumps between foggy walls of sound and intricate harmonic overlays. Because the album was recorded on reel-to-reel there’s a fuzzy warmth that lends its tones a depth that cannot be generated digitally. Expo 70′s experimentation falls within the same realm of SQURL or Sinoia Caves or AUN, but never does it become complacent in retreading these droning forebears. Kinetic Tones has a brooding tension to it that hides just below the hazy guitar tones.


It’s hard to come up with words that accurately describe what Expo 70 is doing in Kinetic Tones. The album drifts through its four songs with an ease that almost seems as if it isn’t moving at all. This is perhaps one of the most intriguing thing about the album–its nonlinearity. Listening to Kinetic Tones, it becomes more and more apparent that the album exists simultaneously and one moment doesn’t necessarily lead to the next. It is almost as if its listener were turning around it, catching glimpses of its multiple dimensions.


While there is certainly a lot of droning happening in the album, there’s an undeniable blues base that hangs beneath its expanding tones. Kinetic Tones‘ blues comes out when the lead riffs peek from behind the smoky guitars and bass notes. Maybe it’s this bluesy feel that anchors the entire album to something real, maybe it’s the juxtaposition between the otherworldly feel of layered sympathetic harmonies and the earthy leads, or maybe it’s how Expo 70 is able to inject tension into even the most seemingly static compositions.


Whatever the case may be, Kinetic Tones manages to gain depth and dimension as it unfurls its spooky soundscapes without ever losing its footing in this realm. The album is a must listen for any fans of: AUN, Sinoia Caves, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor; or soundtracks like: Partir: To Live, Sicario, and Only Lovers Left Alive.


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Officially the first album I received this year. Nothing on the card sleeve nor labels to identify the record and it took me a little while to realize that this is DLX version of Expo ’70s latest album, Kinetic Tones. This is my second album from this artist and I have to admit that for some strange reason I have managed to skip tons of his previous releases.. and that’s a pity. I like this kosmische-experimental-drone album just because it takes you to a journey beyond time and space. Excellent drone release, in my opinion. This hand-numbered, “deluxe” version with alternative artwork is limited to 20 copies and surprisingly sold out by now. But don’t worry, there are still bronze-colored version (limited to 500 copies) available from Oaken Palace Records.


Oaken Palace Records is a charitable record label that uses all its profits to support various environmental organisations all around the world.


And Justin Wright is dedicating this record to critically endangered Flores hawk-eagle (estimated that there are less than 100 pairs remain). At least this time my money went to right place!




Under the moniker of Expo ‘70, Justin Wright has so far produced over 40 releases of transcendent solar music. His newest release Kinetic Tones, takes his project one step closer toward harmonic infinity. The LP (recorded on reel to reel with no overdubs) takes on the role of ancestor to the patriarchs of kosmische musik.


Over the four tracks spanning Kinetic Tones, you get a sense that Wright understands the precise environment his music needs to create in order to be most effective. “Static Harmonic Pendulum” opens with heliacal drones that are amplified by flared textures. “Eidetic Memory” overlaps somber repetitions with Göttsching-esque leads. “Ascension From Dusk” takes all the aforementioned ideas and integrates them into one beautifully aware piece.


Kinetic Tones is a glaring example of the talent of Justin Wright. While it is true that some sounds found on Kinetic Tones expose the history of Expo ‘70, you can be assured that Wright is merely an ancestor and not a plagiarist. Kinetic Tones breaks new ground on a musical genre that has never been clearly defined and with Wright’s help, never will be. - by Randy Reynolds




The thing about Justin Wright’s take in ambience is that it’s rushing. Ok, I know it’s slow, it’s drone, but like the cameras in a particularly hectic episode of Masterchef, these synth drones are tense, trembling things. They’re always paving the way for a grand canvas of psychedelia; whirring kosmische additives move in and out like passages of a grander infrastructure, the initial sustained motif a mere skyline under which everything else fucking goes. So here we are, it’s Expo 70, the year 2016, the one after 2015, the chronological next step, and ‘Kinetic Tones’ is happening all around your ears and all inside them and everywhere.


Actually, this record is a lot subtler than ‘July 18, 2004’, whose extremely fragmented movements and samples created a feeling of total disparity. This one holds on to its drone harder, with “Static Harmonic Pendulum” essentially running in place as groaning sounds filter in and out. “Eidetic Memory” sees Wright suddenly switch to a guitar, distorted and delayed to sound like one of Earth’s barren wastelands. It’s a gorgeous and striking transition, one that feels almost unusual considering the way Wright might usually adapt his environment (subtly, but on a grand scale). The record goes back to its ominous, whirring origins with “Lucid Landscapes”, though this track moves with whistling synth and an abundance of noise. Again, the coin flips with an almost too beautiful, overwhelmingly new age “Ascension From Dusk”, which again employs a bit of the ol’ amp balladry and a stifled motif that sounds like a clock rather tragically ticking.


This is, of course, great stuff -- with about forty records in just over a decade, the dude Justin Wright knows how it’s done. What’s lovely about this record is its brazen juxtapositions: it's fitting that Wright is into tones, not tone, because he’s trying to drone in multitudes.

8/10 from Robin (Staff)




Justin Wright’s Expo 70 never disappoints around here, and his latest slab of sonic dread is no different. Laced with drones, heavy and leaden as cinder block bunkers, and shot through with a cosmic strain of psychedelia that unwinds as much as unravels the soul; Kinetic Tones is another massive album for the band. Forty minutes, four tracks and all dense sonic tumbles through the Kosmiche eye. The album creeps in slow and steady, with a desolate dronescape that dredges up all those Earth comparisons, then things expand into heady territory, shifting to sweeping alien psych that feels as removed from the concept of pop music as possible. There’s always a sense of foreboding present on Expo 70’s releases and it rears its head here as well. For its reliance on limited melodic motion, drone knows how to play the long game, and here the tonal shifts slowly grip the listener like low level panic until it feels like it might overwhelm.


The record is dedicated to an endangered species of Indonesian bird of prey, the Flores Hawk-eagle, and its almost easy to see how the life of such an animal might influence the pieces here. The feelings embedded in Wright’s drones are atmospheric, towering above us in a detached freedom, but the sense of loss, loneliness and uncertainty of survival run deep. The closer “Ascension From Dusk” has the kind of masterful mix of sour stomach dread and reluctant acceptance that made the best John Carpenter soundtracks stick long after the credits rolled. This one’s another keeper in Expo 70’s long (40+) discography.