Sunday, June 05, 2016

Pierre Favre - DrumSights (Intakt Records, 2016)

Drummer and composer Pierre Favre worked with his new ensemble for five years on this repertoire, the search for a pure voice for drums. Although most of the pieces are written compositions, they play them all off by heart and there is lots of room for improvisation. The band consists of Favre, Chris Jaeger, Markus Lauterburg and Valeria Zangger all on drums and percussion. “Again” opens the album with a very cool rhythm that immediately sweeps you away, with lighter shading vs. dark, and heavier elements playing off against soft, quicker ones. The clicking of sticks, and lower booming of drums, in dynamic interplay. A section of massive fast clicking, leads to the hollowing of the booming sounds, without a misstep. The dynamic of the rhythm is great, changing at a moments notice developing a massive multi-pronged rhythmic attack, coming from all directions. “Dance of the Feline” is quieter, and subtler like a large cat stalking its prey. The music develops a very oppressive rhythm, moving in consort with the animal, gracefully as he moves through the tall grass of the plains. There is a very thick rhythm with many different beats coming together to make a thick stew. In a different light, there is a funky light rhythm to “Pow Wow” with shakers and other percussion instruments added to the mix, for a very interesting sound. The music defies easy explanation, but that is part of what makes it so interesting, with the ever shifting rhythms, and the beats that do not stay anchored. There’s a brief pause and then the pace is picked up considerably and then ridden rapidly to the conclusion of the performance. Heavy hollow sounding drums open “Tramping” building in power and volume. The rhythm starts to fill in and become more complex taking on a faster, tribal setting, with drums in their original function transmitting information across vast distances and sharing information with other travelers. “Games” begins with subtle percussion and builds as other drums move in and develop its groove. Drums talking to one another, ranging from choppy sticks to booming drums, there is a wide range of sound being made. Tight hand percussion and faster drum kits play with time, pushing and pulling, faster and slower. Favre wrote in the liner notes that the group had become an organism with a specific and recognizable sound and that the goal was to create frictions, to open spaces in the listener’s feeling. They have certainly done so, this was a very impressive album, one that defies easy categorization but should be heard with fresh and open ears. Now -

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