Brian Chase: Drums & Drones [Pogus P21070-2]
The title of this CD-DVD package by Brian Chase, best known as the drummer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, announces its content with cheerful simplicity: All ten tracks are dedicated to the sounds of drums and drones.
The essence of the project represented here is to apply La Monte Young’s theory of just intonation to percussion. Chase does this by exploring the varieties and patterns of overtones that can be produced by a vibrating drumhead supplemented by electronic amplification and processing. For each piece, the drumhead was tuned to a fundamental tone and then made to vibrate, the resulting overtones then being isolated or amplified through techniques such as looping, creating feedback, and equalization. The different tracks employ different methods for sounding the drumhead, and aim at producing different overtone profiles. Typically a piece will begin with a strike or series of strikes and then will build into a drone of changing complexity and intensity. By the middle of the track the sustained, electronically-tinged sound is such that it’s easy to forget that it originated in a drum.
The audio CD includes a companion DVD of the sound tracks accompanied by video images from Ursula Scherrer and Erik Z.