Kevin Drumm

(Copyright © 1999-2016 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Krentz Ratings:
Folie A Deux (1996), 6/10
Kevin Drumm (1997), 6.5/10
Second (1998), 7.5/10
Duo (1998), 5.5/10
Den (2000), 5/10
Cases (2000), 5/10
Drumm/Doerner (2000), 5/10
Particles and Smears (2000), 7/10
Hasn't (2000), 5.5/10
Comedy (2000), 7.5/10
Frozen by Blizzard Winds (2001), 5.5/10
Triangle (2001), 5.5/10
Deg (2001), 5.5/10
I Drink Your Skin (2002), 5.5/10
Sheer Hellish Miasma (2002), 7.5/10
Ajar (2002), 5.5/10
Our Trios Vol 2 (2003), 5.5/10
Land of Lurches (2003), 5/10
Eruption (2003), 5/10
Impish Tyrant (2004), 5/10
2673 (2005), 6/10
Imperial Distortion (2008), 5.5/10
Venexia (2008), 5.5/10
Trahnie (2009), 5/10
Necro Acoustic (2010), 6/10
The Volume Surrounding the Task (2011), 6/10
Relief (2012), 7/10
The Back Room (2012), 7/10
Kitchen (2013), 5.5/10
Trouble (2014), 5.5/10
The Abyss (2014), 7/10
Busman's Holiday (2015), 5/10
Elapsed Time (2017), 7/10
Inexplicable Hours (2018), 5/10

Chicago-based tabletop guitarist and synthesizer player Kevin Drumm (who also played with Jim O'Rourke in Brise Glace) developed a style that stands as the guitar equivalent of Mika Vainio's and Ryoji Ikeda's digital/glitch electronica: an art of static soundscapes roamed by sporadic, arctic, minimal events. Like with Mika Vainio's music, the result is often a psychoacoustic study on flow of time.

Drumm's first major sortie came in the form of two collaborations with Japanese guitarist Taku Sugimoto: the split Folie A Deux (BOXmedia, 1996). Subsequent collaborations with Sugimoto include: Duo (april 1998 - Meme, 1998), the live Den (april 2000 - Sonoris, 2000), the guitar trio of Ajar (Alcohol, 2002) with Otomo Yoshihide.

The full power of his project became apparent with Kevin Drumm (Perdition Plastics, 1997), seven untitled tracks that took the ideas of Keith Rowe and Fred Frith and relocated them to another era and another planet. Second (october 1998 - Perdition Plastics, 1999), particularly the 24-minute sonic odyssey Cynicism, further sophisticated that program. Comedy (Moikai, 2000), particularly Organ (that uses chords of organ to anchor its noisy deconstructionism), was even more subtle.

Among his notable collaborations are: Drumm/ Doerner (october 2000 - Erstwhile, 2000), with German trumpeter Alex Doerner; Particles and Smears (august 1999 - Erstwhile, 2000), with Canadian turntablist Martin Tetreault, one of the most intriguing and revolutionary; Hasn't (Fringes, 2000), a split album with saxophonist Bhob Rainey (one half of Nmperign); Frozen by Blizzard Winds (october 2001 - Smalltown Supersound, 2002), with Norwegian jazz musician Lasse Marhaug (a member of Jazzkammer ) on computer; Cases (Selektion, 2000), with German electronic musician Ralf Wehowsky (founder of industrial outfit P16.D4); Triangles (Moikai, 2001), with Swedish sound sculptor Leif Elggren (co-founder of the experimental group Firework); Deg (october 2001 - Firework Edition, 2002), with Elggren and Swedish percussionist Mats Gustafsson; I Drink Your Skin (American Tapes, 2002), with guitarist Aaron Dilloway; Out Trios Vol 2 (Atavistic, 2003), with guitarist Jeff Parker and percussionist Michael Zerang; the speed-metal spoof Eruption (Grob, 2003), with Flying Luttenbachers' drummer Weasel Walter and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm; etc.

Drumm's fourth solo album, Sheer Hellish Miasma (Mego, 2002 - Editions Mego, 2007), resorts to harsh drones for the 20-minute Hitting the Pavement and the 24-minute Inferno. The brutal walls of noise built by this album seem to renege on Drumm's aesthetic of silence.

Land of Lurches (Hanson, 2003) is another orgy of gothic distortions, but a little too indulgent. Ditto for Impish Tyrant (2004 - Dagda, 2009), that is just a bit less cohesive.

A split album with 2673 (Kitty Play, 2005) delivered another slab of Drumm's atonal orgies, but this time it seemed to simulate first the pounding rhythm of house music and then the relaxed hypnosis of chill-out music.

The double-disc Imperial Distortion (Hospital, 2008) suddenly turned to droning minimalism a` la Phill Niblock.

The five-cd box-set Necro Acoustic (2010) collects unreleased electronic recordings of 1998-2008, reissues limited-edition recordings of the past, and delivers the full 55-minute version of Organ (1996).

The quartet of Mika Vainio, Kevin Drumm (both on electronics), Axel Dörner (trumpet and computer) and Lucio Capece (soprano sax, bass clarinet and shruti box) performed together on Venexia (may 2008). Vainio and horn player Lucio Capece collaborated on Trahnie (Mego, 2009),

The 37-minute piece of Relief (Mego, 2012) and the 28-minute piece of The Back Room (2012) showed his mature glitchy art.

Kitchen (2013) contains computer-modified solo accordion pieces that originally date from 1996.

Trouble (Mego, 2014) contains a 54-minute "ambient" piece.

The double-disc The Abyss (june 2014), a collaboration with electronic musician Jason Lescalleet, contains the 34-minute The Abyss and the 50-minute The Echo Of Your Past, and is one of his most spectacular works.

Busman's Holiday (october 2015) was the second collaboration between Drumm and electronic keyboardist Jason Lescalleet.

The Volume Surrounding The Task (january 2011) documents a 40-minute live improvisation with Radu Malfatti (trombone) and and Lucio Capece (bass clarinet).

The six-disc boxset Elapsed Time (Sonoris, 2017) collects material recorded from 2012 to 2016 including: the 43-minute Mithering The Skiving Gorm for organ, audio generators, guitar, voice and tape delay; the 21-minute May 1 for sine waves; the 31-minute The Sea Wins for sine-saw-pulse; the 31-minute Crooked Abode for computer and electronics; the 41-minute Earrach, for cassette tapes chosen randomly, electronics and computer; the 30-minute February for bass pedals and tone generators; the 43-minute Bolero Mutter for audio generators and computer; and the 30-minute Middle Of Nothing.

Inexplicable Hours (Sonoris, 2018) collects compositions from 2014-2017.

The 3-disc box-set Pressure Trilogy (november 2018) contains three lengthy electronic works: the 39-minute Another Odyssey Of Waiting; the 28-minute Murder; the 30-minute Sunday.

Battering Rams collects archival works recorded between 2000 to 2022.

(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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