An online acquaintance, Ian Fenton of Frozen Reeds, had mentioned on occasion that s/he was listening to Kevin Drumm. Since Mr or Ms Frozen Reeds knows a bit about electronic music, I thought I should check out what is up with Mr Kevin Drumm.
I still don’t know much.
Mr Drumm is a very prolific recorder of music. Going from his bandcamp page, he records and releases an album or two a month. He also appears to be from, or live in, Chicago, IL.
I selected Trouble at random because I liked the cover and the notion of “Trouble”. However, Trouble is one of the least troublesome records I’ve run across. If I had to pin down the sound source, I would guess some sort of Tibetan ringing bowls, but it could be something as simple as a treated or bowed guitar.
The record, according to the liner notes, is, “Intended for quiet listening (suggested stereo system volume setting 4).” And it really is quiet album. It was a rainy day, and between road noise and the rain, it was pretty impossible to hear Trouble while driving. So not a great commute soundtrack.
However, it is pretty great music to listen to as intended.
Turn down the lights, put on the stereo, and zone out as sounds ring across and back from the event horizon.
From the Thrill Jockey Website: “SAICOBAB is the Japanese quartet of vocalist YoshimiO (Boredoms, OOIOO), Yoshida Daikiti (sitar), Akita Goldman (bass), and acclaimed in Japan Motoyuki “Hama” Hamamoto (percussion, gamelan). SAICOBAB masterfully blend traditional Indian music with melodies and unexpected rhythms using unorthodox instrumentation to create utterly distinct modern ragas. On their debut album SAB SE PURANI BAB, YoshimiO’s leaping, animated, effected vocal melodies dance fluidly through Daikiti’s intricate sitar patterns. The entrancing synergy of Goldman and Hama’s rhythmic pulse drives and shapes the aptly named SAICOBAB’s sound to one that is at once rooted in ancient tradition, and wholly new.”
Lekhfa by Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca, and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh.
A collaboration between three Egyptian musicians, two vocalists, Maryam Saleh and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, along with multi-instrumentalist and producer Maurice Louca.
What I think of is how Middle Eastern and Indian music influenced American and British Psychedelic rock musicians. This album is sort of the reverse happening, with American and British Psychedelic music returning and influencing these Egyptian musicians.
There is always something interesting happening on this album, whether it is the vocalist intertwining with synthesizers or unexpectedly modern beats under traditional instrumentation.
Another album I heard via Forced Exposure, who have the following to say about the album, “Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca, and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, names that have turned heads in alternative Arabic music with solo albums and conspicuous collaborations. With Lekhfa, they give birth to an off-kilter sound where layers of grit and beauty intertwine in and around the dystopian poems of their contemporary Mido Zoheir, whom they’ve dubbed the fourth member in this creation, and one of the most talented Egyptian poets of their generation.”
The DKV trio is a long running group with Hamid Drake (Drums), Kent Kessler (Bass), and Ken Vandermark (Woodwinds). This album was recorded live in 2014 at The Silver Maple in Milwaukee, WI. While Messr’s K and V’s contributions to this album are fantastic, it is Mr D who stands out most to me. His drum solos on “Faster Than it Would Be” and “20th Century Myth” are stunning examples of loose limbed grace. Each time I listen to each of those songs, I hear another cool aspect of Drake’s playing I missed the previous times, like examining a crystal from a different angle. A master class in percussion.
Free without losing it’s funk, this is a fantastic album by three modern masters at the top of their game.
Marker is a new ensemble from Andrew Clinkman, Steve Marquette, Macie Stewart, Phil Sudderberg, and Ken Vandermark. Two guitars, violin/keyboards, drums, and reeds, respectively.
The first song on Wired for Sound “Okinawa Bullfight (For Chantal Akerman”, starts out sounding like an outtake from a Wilco album, moves to a brief free improv section, and finishes with an Ethio-Jazz Sax workout.
The other songs are equally diverse, mixing Jazz, Rock, Soul, and Improv tropes with abandon and fervor. If you’re a, “please don’t get peanut butter in my chocolate,” kind of person, you may not enjoy Marker. Otherwise, hop on, strap in, and enjoy the ride.
An adaption or setting of poet Matt Shear’s work, “Dear Everyone,” this is an incredibly diverse and ambitious album. Veering from new classical, to improvised music, to prog, this probably comes closest to sounding a bit like some of the recordings of Henry Cow.
I was unfamiliar with the poetry of Matt Shears and his semi-topical poems about the mundane, profane, and befuddling nature of 21st century existence seem perfectly apropos to where I find myself.
Likewise, Mr Bruckman’s arrangements and improvisations, which skirt noise, harmony, and chaos, are equal parts jarring and pleasing.
A Little Milky Way of Sound Day 16, Arasa, by Roland Kayn.
The 16th and final disc of “A Little Milky Way of Sound”. After the abrasive menace of Icursim, Arasa is an interesting contrast. Much of it is very quiet, perhaps the quietest piece of the entire 14 hour composition.
Contemplative and gentle would be the words I used to describe it.
A Little Milky Way of Sound Day 15, Icursim, by Roland Kayn.
13 hours in, and I can’t say I feel any more confident in detecting an organizing principle or finding motifs in, “A Little Milky Way of Sound,” than I was on day one.
There is definitely a sonic palette that Kayn uses and reuses with varying tweaks applied. The shimmering fields of static sound. The streaming, whooshing, noises like pressurized air or water.
It is interesting how the lack of definable or typical “musical sounds” affects your listening. The slightest nearly recognizable sample, whether it is a creaking door or a processed voice, stands out, calling attention to itself.
Of course, it’s always possible, that those sounds are just my mind attempting to make sense of the boiling sonic chaos.
In any case, Icursim is more menacing, than threatening, with louder than usual percussive events at intervals among the other sounds.
A Little Milky Way of Sound Day 14, Ritaces, by Roland Kayn
Ritaces starts in the neighborhood of the previous haunted Ecerit pieces, then starts to sound like a summing up. Pieces of previous strategies, that would have been allotted significant time, flash by. Familiar sounding events crop up and fade into others. Foghorns bellow, water streams against pitch charged plates, and many doors creak open in quick succession.