Montreal-based interdisciplinary artists Julia Dyck and Amanda Harvey join forces as Future Perfect on Drone On, a live recording that functions as a sonic treatise on ecoacoustics and the phenomenology of sound. The piece, originally performed by the duo in 2019 as part of a month-long residency at the Mitchell Art Gallery in Edmonton, has been made available to a broader audience thanks to the NYC-based boutique cassette label Kapha Selections.

Harvey and Dyck are both well-versed sound artists who have explored the sociocultural dimensions of sound in a number of different settings. Here, they propound their insights and queries atop a bed of sparse electronics and field recordings. At the outset of Drone On, feedback buzz prefaces an audio extract of someone talking about their experience of noise pollution in Edmonton’s metropolitan centre: “I haven’t found very many places in the city where you can just have quiet,” they say, as a metronomic tone floats into the mix. This quote effectively frames the spoken ruminations on community, intersubjectivity, and virtual connectivity that follow. Listen intently and a theme begins to emerge: the relationship between self and other as mediated by sound.

Across both sides of the recording, Dyck and Harvey broach different contexts in which sound can impede or facilitate connections between people and their environment. While they address issues of urbanization and technological determinism, they ultimately tend towards the notion that sound can be harnessed as an instrument for positive social transformation. In this sense, Drone On is a timely and lucid reminder of the power of sound to bring us closer together.