Artist – Dane Rousey
Title – Blip
Label – Self Release
Release date – April 2017
Keywords: experimental avant-garde improv percussion texasSan Antonio
Link – https://danerousay.bandcamp.com/album/blip
Reviewer: Wayne Rex
Hello, good evening and welcome to another review from the underground, courtesy of YIKIS!
Today as I trawled through the potential reviews for today I came across something that is right up my street and not a frequent occurrence. A drum album but not just any old drum album but a free improv / Avant-garde drum album. I clicked the link and so hoped and prayed to the baby Jesus that it wasn’t just some knob head with a Rush t-shirt attempting a solo on his expensive, massive sized drum kit in his mother’s basement.. (Spoiler Alert!) It wasn’t
From the opening track of this 8 track album you know you are going to be taken on a percussive ride through the mind, body and soul of a rather talented chap. I too am a drummer and play in various forms with other free improv musicians so know a wee bit about what is good and what is not and also how one can define good or bad as surely if it’s expressive free-form music then judging in such simplistic terms is not just a slur on the aforementioned persons talent but their inner being too. Anyway, I digress and shall save such discussions for another time, when I am alone and drunk, in a dark room on my own apart from my cat and memories.
Blade is the opening track and what a glorious, imaginative and wonderfully played piece. Dane has turned his drum kit and percussion instruments into something more. An abstract orchestra, played by one man and making a rather beautiful and progressive tune, with heavy hints of European, almost Germanic composing style. It’s mixed together perfectly to make a short but also epic 3mins and 19secs of inventive music.
Petiole is in at track two and it’s a minimal percussive piece. Using percussive metals like a cowbell to the rusting of what I assume to be something like a crisp packet to make a finished product that just works. This is turning into more of a percussion opera than an album.
In at three we have the short but to the point track called ‘All’ and it borrows as much to a noise artist as it does to drums and all the better for it as it highlights the broad rage of ways you can make a record using the natural sounds of things all around you.
Next up is a track entitled ‘Mimic’ and this, I would say highlights the technical talents of Mr Rousay and his skill as a percussionist/drummer. It’s very impressive indeed but in no way an ego piece. Everything is played to work and fit the final product. This is very good indeed and even for the doubters out there, you will be impressed.
Tusk is up next, no not the 70’s Fleetwood Mac album but a 19 seconds track that again lends itself to the noise scene and also highlights what you can do to make something that is pleasurable to listen to. This to me sounds like another language, maybe spoken by insects and I am the only human that can hear it.
In at six we have ‘Clear’ and from the moment it start it’s a sonic experience to equal if not top, any that you have experienced before. Screeching’s and scrapings to blow your eardrums out and make you want to have a go yourself.
Most broad is the penultimate tack. Using every inch of the kit, not just to hit but to rub hands and sticks to create a haunting and expressive effect to show the extraordinary talents of Dane Rousay. This track in itself is an improv opera in the same way as the who would write a one track rock opera before the days of Tommy. This track (like the whole album) really does take you on a journey, not just via the mind of Mr Rousay but your own too. After all, we all interpret what we will and our own mind translates what we hear and usually different to what others may hear.
Last but not least we have the title track ‘Blip’ and it comes in at a whopping 10.24 seconds. From the off it’s the show piece of the album. Making use of every technical skill and imaginative skill of the artist. He is literally playing like an 20 piece orchestra and just as interesting to hear. This isn’t just drum solos, this is classical, experimental music, actually, it’s not just music it’s art and some of the best you will hear in it’s field.
I know many people who would absolutely love this album and I also know many that by the sheer idea of a drum album would be put off and turn their small minded noses up at it. If you are one of the latter then please think again and open your mind and your ears to something out of the ordinary. You will not be disappointed.