Glenn KOTCHE (b. 1970)
Drumkit Quartet #51 [10:01]
Drumkit Quartet #1 [3:12]
Drumkit Quartet #3 [6:38]
Drumkit Quartet #6 [5:13]
Drumkit Quartet #50 [13:12]
Drumkit Quartet #54 [3:45]
So Percussion
rec. The Loft in Chicago, Illinois

Drumkit Quartets is a collection of percussion numbers composed by drummer Glenn Kotche, long-time performer with the rock band Wilco. The performers are So Percussion, a New York City percussion band known for their colorful and novel instrumentation and special percussive effects. So Percussion’s band members are Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, Jason Treuting and Eric Cha-Beach.

Drumkit Quartet #51 begins as a simple marimba number resembling raindrops and includes a softly-spoken haiku, then evolves with undercurrent rhythms and tones, before finally settling into a gentle marimba solo. Drumkit Quartet #1 is a drum duet tapped out to a rock rhythm and accompanied by an annoying static background, which distracts from the presentation. Drumkit Quartet #3 is an interesting number with three movements, each movement performed on metallic instruments, primarily triangles, bells and hi-hats. The rhythms are simple and the performers seem to feel their way along as they search to match patterns and harmonics. Drumkit Quartet #6 begins as a drumroll accompanied by other percussive instruments interspersed at odd intervals, and evolves into a slow distant drum beat with the sounds of chirping birds. Drumkit Quartet # 50 is a long 13 minute piece that begins as a low drone and then slowly modulates into a noise that sounds like the combination of a police siren and a vacuum cleaner, before finally settling into a steady din resembling the sound of a band saw. Other unrecognizeable sounds, rattles and noises follow on, finally settling into a series of light tapping rhythms near the end. Drumkit Quartet #8 is a rock drum rhythm pounded out with a warbling instrumentation effect in the background. The last number, Drumkit Quartet #51, Chicago Realization is a return to the marimbas and the rhythm and vision of raindrops, this time quicker and more colorful, with a sound that is warm, light and exploding with vitality.

Drumkit Quartets was released in February, 2016. It was commissioned by Meet The Composer (New Music USA) in 2010. A short page of liner notes is included with the disc and explains the music in greater detail.

The marimbas are the best part of this disc. Maybe the next project could include a more focused exploration of the tonal qualities of the various percussion instruments, and less on special noise effects.

Bruce McCollum

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