On what I assume will be his final release of the year (although with his prolific output its hard to be sure), Kevin Drumm's Wrong Intersection is a single piece with a sound that fits its somewhat sinister title and ambiguous artwork perfectly. It might not be as aggressive as some of his other works, but Drumm excels in setting an exceedingly bleak mood via a constantly shifting dynamic, and a healthy bit of extreme frequencies as well.
Drumm mixes hushed harsh electronics with digital interference noise in the opening minutes, conveying a creeping malignant force in its overall subtlety. His use of random sounds being disturbed by some unseen entity does a brilliant job at introducing the work. After about 10 minutes, thunderclap-like crunchy noises, shrill oscillations and what sounds like field recordings of crows have the piece taking on a clearly evil tone, leaving a feeling of isolation and utter darkness.
One thing that Drumm does extremely well on Wrong Intersection is keeping the composition continually changing and evolving. At this point, the piece builds to a harsh and violent outburst before abruptly stopping, replacing the distorted passages with a droning, ringing tone. He keeps the sound very sparse and foreboding, abruptly stopping and magnifying the buzzing harsh cacophony that follows. Drumm maintains the slow and subtle pacing, but introduces a buzzing machinery drone and oceanic swells of noise, never becoming harsh but always just on that precipice.
The buzzing works well to convey something that is ambiguous and dangerous: an unidentifiable sound that cannot be seen, conjuring an exquisite sense of dread. The intertwining electronics remain in a sparse arrangement, but interact perfectly with one another to keep that sustained creepiness. Again, Drumm backs off with the harshness, leaving an underlying bowed string like melody to sustain throughout as the noise drifts in and out. Everything then is pulled away into a paring of extreme high and low frequencies. Shrill, painful ultrasonic frequencies are blended with heavy low end, subwoofer taxing drones that at first appear amidst distorted passages, and then in an ambient, spacious context.
Most of Wrong Intersection features Drumm building up from either silence or the most minimal of tones, conveying at best ambiguity and at worst pure evil, then being pulled apart and reshaped by him. The constantly shifting dynamic and variations on sounds that stay constant throughout the album is where its strengths lie, taunting a full on assault but never actually reaching it. It is bleak and sometimes terrifying, but that is exactly what makes the album so gripping.