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Despite their reputations as aural opiates for the perpetually stoned, ambient and its darker, deconstructed relative, illbient, are profoundly functional musics. The three CDs in A Storm of Drones, Vol. 3 of The Sombient Trilogy, are categorically divided for your engagement; despite the “sombient” tag and unlike chill-out puffery, these mind sounds incite not sleep but sedition. Do not get supine if you want to discover the divine pleasures within these sculpted sounds, because to fully explore their dreamscapes, you need to examine your own landscape. Disc 1, Audio: Strap on headphones, jump on the Metro, and let the sounds of the underground mix with the noises bleeding from your speakers. Disc 2, Environmental: Travel up the subway’s steps, and see how the sound in your head serendipitously blends with those of a street musician. Not until you reach the top and see the performer’s amplified flute and drum machine do you realize the tones are not emanating solely from your Discman. Acoustico-optics: It’s the sound your eyes can follow. Disc 3, Immersion: Walk around the city and let the cranes and cars, screams and scrapings recombine with the collage they were extracted from—the industrial city, the subliminal city, the inner city—by DJ Spooky, Vidna Obmana/Asmus Tietchens, Robert Normandeau, Naut Humon, ISO Orchestra, Elliot Sharp, and 28 others. A Storm of Drones is sound art, recording and reflecting the beatific acoustic barrage we normally block out. Tune in to the everyday.

—Christopher Porter