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Author & Punisher has returned after a three-year gap with a mind-blowing new album in Krüller. Wielding upgraded machines, a new sensory stratagem, and a crafty curation of top-tier collaborators, proprietor Tristan Shone emerged from the time off refined and re-tooled. Krüller is hoisted defiantly on breakouts “Incinerator,” “Drone Carrying Dread,” “Maiden Star,” but menaces profoundly on “Blacksmith,” “Centurion,” and the title track. These are anthems for the decay and self-absorption of today. To celebrate and invite musicians and creators into his visceral and tactile world, Shone’s also launching a bespoke audio gear company called Drone Machines to coincide with the release of Krüller.

“Drone Machines is a boutique gear company started by myself and two others with skills in mechanical engineering and synth architecture,” Shone says. “Using my current devices as a starting point, we have redesigned them to be much more robust and streamlined. The machines I use in Author & Punisher are pretty raw in construction, so we wanted to expand the functionality. As for Author & Punisher, I wanted to up the game. The time off [largely due to the global pandemic] allowed me to reshape my synth and
drum sounds, my microphone, and the rest of the gear. I’ve made some new machine versions for practically every album, but I never got the chance to dig into the guts because I was always writing or touring: album cycles became a lot more important after the Drone Machines album. I finally got the chance to improve the machines I use with a team of like-minded folks. And most importantly, I wrote constantly. As the pandemic kept pushing out, I just kept on writing. I haven’t spent this much time writing in a very long time.”

Shone, the creative core of Author & Punisher, started the project in 2004, setting out to craft devices (machines) as a force multiplier. That he could control machines to trigger a myriad of sound objects (synths et al.) was not just heuristic but revolutionary. Shone’s mechanical engineering and art background functioned perfectly as a catalyst to his songwriter form. To date, Author & Punisher has seven lauded full-lengths and one EP, the latest of which is Krüller. Shone’s unconventional yet assiduous methods with music and machine have landed crucial collaborations with Perturbator’s James Kent, and Tool’s Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor, who appear on Krüller tracks “Misery” and “Centurion,” respectively.

“There are collaborations on this record that mean a lot to me,” says Shone. “The song ‘Blacksmith’ is this jungle/IDM-like thing that is a real branch-out from what I normally do. That track features my producer Jason Begin (Vytear). My wife Marilia appears as a backing vocalist on ‘Maiden Star.’ Phil Sgrosso wrote all the guitar parts on Krüller. Of course, as already mentioned, ‘Misery’ and ‘Centurion’ were collaborations with Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor from Tool. They turned out really cool. I’ll say with all these artists coming in and adding to Krüller; I think the Author & Punisher sound is still there.”