* Messiaen: Visions de L’Amen (Bon/de Leeuw) (Naïve/Montaigne CD)
* Marti Epstein: Hypnagogia (Ludovico Ensemble CD)
* Elvin Jones: Time Capsule (Vanguard LP)
* Andrew Hill: Smoke Stack (Blue Note CD)
* Abdullah Ibrahim: African Suite (Enja CD)
* Jimmy Giuffre: Tangents In Jazz (Capitol LP)
* Gateway: Homecoming (ECM CD)
* Tim Berne: Sanctified Dreams (Columbia LP)
* Andreas Vollenweider: Behind the Gardens—Behind the Wall—Under the Tree (CBS LP)
* Eric Bikales: Tranquility (Moodtapes LP)
* John Fahey: The Transcendental Waterfall: Guitar Excursions 1962-1967 (Takoma/4MWB 6LP)
* Iverson & Walters: First Collection (Eagle LP)
* Trapezoid: Now & Then (Flying Fish LP)
* Hawkwind: Space Ritual (EMI 2CD)
* Allan Holdsworth with I.O.U.: Metal Fatigue (Enigma LP)
* David Sylvian: Gone To Earth (Virgin CD)
* David Sylvian: Dead Bees On A Cake (Virgin CD)
* Prefab Sprout: Swoon (Kitchenware LP)
* Sleep: Sleep’s Holy Mountain (Earache LP)
I had the good fortune to have my friend Andrew Dickson over to my studio this week. A fantastic drummer and all-around cool guy, he is a total pro to boot -- as this recent profile on NashvilleThreeSixty reveals.
Dickson is definitely in-demand, so it's a rare treat to get to jam with him. It had been over a year since the last time we got together so I had some ideas I wanted to try.
"Even gotten into Krautrock? You know, like Tangerine Dream, Can, Amon Duul, that kind of stuff?" I asked him.
I pulled up Can's classic Future Days on iTunes and played "Moonshake" so he could hear Jaki Liebezeit's quintessentially motorik drumming. "Notice how he only uses cymbals for accent and color," I remarked. "The rhythm is mostly happening on the hi-hat, snare and toms."
After listening for a couple minutes he said, "Cool, man. Let's do it!"
We proceeded to jam over a Berlin School style sequencer pattern I'd cooked up -- and damn if he didn't nail it. Seriously, he sounded exactly like Jaki Liebezeit, effortlessly propelling Can through Inner Space. After a rocking ten minutes, we wound it down.
"Dang, my right arm is tired," he said.
"Well, I noticed how that Can dude was totally pushing the beat on the beat on the hi-hat while everything else kind of lags behind. It was exhausting after a while!"
I had never really noticed that but it makes sense and listening again, I can totally hear it. What makes Liebeziet's machine-like propulsion so compellingly human is that tension, that push/pull, between rushing and lagging the beat. The fact that Dickson could, without having ever heard this music before, key into its essential quality and recreate it on the spot is...well, pretty freaking amazing to an amateur like me. Like I said, the guy is a total pro.
The neat thing is: he digs it and wants to do more, hopefully next month. We might be onto something here...
Next month will be the New Year -- hard to believe! In the meantime, I am hoping to get together again with the one-and-only Sam Byrd over the holidays, where we will continue to refine our personal musical project. Please check out our Bandcamp page to hear what we've been up to. The best is yet to come, of that I am certain! Music is the best.