NNA085

NNA085: Booker Stardrum “Dance And” s/s c40/digital

“Dance And” is a complex and disorienting celebration of all things percussive, conceived in the brain and executed by the body of Booker Stardrum. While taking a break from the role of drummer in his various other projects (Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Landlady, VaVatican), Stardrum began solo experimentation with his instrument to develop new compositional ideas in percussive sound. After a period of live performance and bedroom trial-and-error, the seed had been planted and the roots of “Dance And” began to grow.

A series of residencies in Kerhonkson, NY and Red Hook, Brooklyn gave way to passionate exploration and dedicated recording sessions where percussion, the instrument family with the widest variety of timbres, was fully liberated and allowed to exist as it’s own new sound world. Approached from the mindset of sound art and modern composition as opposed to that of traditional rock and pop music, “Dance And” retains an atmosphere of intense experimentation where the multitude of sounds from the drum set are juxtaposed against each other in inventive and puzzling combinations.

Engineered, produced, and mixed in collaboration with VaVatican’s Nathaniel Morgan, “Dance And” is largely a studio composition, where unorthodox recording techniques and elaborate processing are used to extract every ounce of texture and detail from vast array of prepared drum kits, cymbals, gongs, bells, resonant metals, and more. Synthesizer and guitar make cameo appearances as well, but they are used in more auxiliary roles to further complement the dynamic and diverse range of sounds discovered through the active process of studio investigation. Brooding tom tom rolls are viciously slashed apart through rough cut edits, while a chorus of bells and gongs resonate forth through dissonant drones, only to be met by abrupt synth stabs and the sputtering of snare drums. Free drumming solos are filtered beyond recognition by the use of a contact mic’d cymbal as a microphone, while unmanned guitars laying on the ground jam themselves through pulsating sympathetic vibrations, showcasing the acoustic nature and resultant power of the kit as an entire band in itself. “Dance And” is a daring musical endeavor, brought to life at the hands (and feet) of one the most creative modern drummers operating at a compositionally and conceptually high level.

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