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Günter Müller, Jason Kahn, Christian Wolfarth - Drumming

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Artist: Günter Müller, Jason Kahn, Christian Wolfarth

Album: Drumming

Label: Creative Sources

Review date: Jan. 11, 2006

The name of this record is provocative, to say the least. While all three of the participating musicians have spent plenty of hours behind a drum kit, only Wolfarth directly plays a percussion instrument here. Kahn plays laptop, Müller iPod and electronics, and while both men use plenty of sound files of percussive origin, they've processed the original taps, scrapes, strokes and beats into distorted, pixilated ghosts of their former selves.

Only occasionally, as when Wolfarth puts brushes to snare at the beginning of "Drumming 4" (each of the nine tracks is similarly numbered), do the players work with obviously drum-like sound material. Nonetheless the title fits. Even at its most electronic, this music has a physical quality that you'd expect from guys whose formative musical experiences involve whacking things. On "Drumming 4," for example, even the squelchiest sounds have a graininess that suggests palpable texture rather than virtual experience. "Drumming 6" comes at you with a spray of clicks and crackles crisscrossed by wavering tones that evoke insects beating their amplified wings against your back porch light while their cumulative voices beat at your ears. "Drumming 7" takes the insectoid vibe underground, with a juxtaposition of merry clatter and fricative huffing that suggests a hill full of ants playing castanets while a dog snuffles vainly at their abode. It is this delightfully suggestive property that makes Drumming a record worth playing again and again

By Bill Meyer

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