Some recordings move past all boundaries. This is one of them. Percussionist Brad Dutz
, a veteran of numerous recordings and film scores, and a fixture on the LA underground jazz scene, has assembled a quartet that explores the pure realm of sound
. Playing a host of percussion instruments and found
objects (bottle caps, bundt pans, cookie sheets, etc.), the quartet creates a rhythmic collage that is also highly melodic. Each composition is more than a collection of sounds thrown together, but tells a story much like the African drumming traditions do. The closest point of reference here is Swiss drummer Pierre Favre’s 1984 ECM percussion quartet recording, "Singing Drums," which also evoked natural sounds and stimulated the imagination.
The opening "What Ever Happened To The Station Wagon" starts with scraped sounds, then works into muted bell and gong tones. There is a feeling of momentum in the playing, where the instruments move in and out of the sound field, keeping the ear interested. You get a sense that each percussionist is carefully choosing their sounds, rather than just playing on anything. The composition evolves over 12 minutes and never loses interest.
The short, "Japanese Toy Balloons," is a playful improv of buzzing sounds. "Constant Machinery" starts with repeating rhythmic cycles that suggest the clockwork dance of a factory. Various metallic sounds move in and out, constantly evolving and changing. "Moist desert" is a quiet piece featuring shakers and gongs. It evokes the mystery and expanse of the desert with sounds reminiscent of insects, animals, and the night sky. "Dry Steam" features both muted and unmuted gongs that give way to shakers and rattles.
These fourteen tracks cover a lot of ground and reveal much about the landscape of percussion. Brad Dutz has put together a compelling set. This is highly recommended adventurous music for adventurous listeners. Available from: Brad Dutz