Volume 20, Number 31 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | December 14 - 20, 2007
"Support businesses and organizations that support Downtown Express"
French for drums, but accessible to everyone
Batterie (Music Starts from Silence)
BY ANDREY HENKIN
The group name Loop 2.4.3 calls to mind an esoteric piece of software, and indeed, parts of this duo’s new album “Batterie” sound like they are being read from binary code rather than traditional music notation.
Loop 2.4.3 is Thomas Kozumplik and Lorne Watson, who between them play snare drum, tom-toms, temple bowls, gongs, cowbells, woodblocks, temple blocks, cymbals, crotales (tuned brass disks), boo-bams (tuned bongos), marimba, opera gongs, sleighbells, steel drum and samples. Most people’s experience with drum solos begins and ends with John Bonham but there is an established lineage of both solo and duo experimental percussion; Loop 2.4.3 fit squarely into this tradition with moments of impenetrability but diverge from it with segments of conceptually melodic cohesion. This is an important distinction as it makes the album interesting to the general listener rather than appealing solely to obscurists clinking chimes in dark rooms.
While the album might begin with the trying, almost 13-minute, “Son of Odin,” an involved drum duet mainly in typical kit style, “Almglocken Melodien” changes tack sharply, an almost prayer-like 6 minutes on marimba and gongs. The few seconds of space in between the two tracks serve as connective tissue rather than a declarative border. The album was recorded live so these compositions credited to the band function as a suite in a way they might not laid down in a studio. The contrast is stirring, given how little time Kozumplik and Watson (instrumentally unspecified) had to shift dynamics.
“Chickchi” returns to the more aggressive percussive style of “Odin” but is tempered by some early sleighbells that sound decidedly unseasonal. Clocking in at just over six minutes, this is a track for the Bonham fans. They may want to stop the CD at this point as “Urban Mantra” alters course drastically and marimba and steel drums float underneath ethereal samples of cellphone messages. The serenity of the marimba sharpens the edge of the samples, making them seem distant and alien, a very disconcerting effect.
The penultimate track “DBC” is the most overtly ethnic in its Latino rhythmic elements; listeners can hear this type of playing in almost any subway station around town, though Loop 2.4.3 thankfully vary the accents more than the usual bucket-brigadier. “Walls of Waves” closes the disc in remarkably deliberate fashion; titular waves of tom-toms roll along, generating snatches of momentum and then dropping off, the process repeating itself across nine minutes.
“Batterie” French for drums may have its moments of artificial intelligence, but retains enough variety and humanity to be a user-friendly entry into the genre.
Loop 2.4.3 will perform at the Barrow St. Theater (27 Barrow St., near Seventh Ave., 212-239-6200) Jan. 15, 2008.