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Percussion Music Is Revolution! - The playlists: 2

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Second selection of percussion music favourites of mine. Here is a detailed tracklist:

00:00 - John Cage; perf. Maelstrom Percussion Ensemble - Imaginary Landscape No.3 - album “John Cage - Imaginary Landscapes” - HatHut 1996

02:56 - Frank Zappa - The Black Page - album: “Zappa in New York” - Rykodisk 1978

06.46 - Ryuichi Sakamoto - Anger - Talvin Singh remix - album: “Anger / Grief” - Ninja Tunes 1998

13:47 - Kodo - Monochrome - album: “Heartbeat Drummers of Japan” - Sheffield Lab 1985

25:33 - John Psathas; perf. Evelyne Glennie & Phillip Smith - Matre's Dance - album “Drumming”, BMG 1996

34:51 - Maracatu N.E.B. do Recife - Moro Omin Ma - album: “Maracatu N.E.B. do Recife” - 2002

37:45 - Thomas Newton - Root Beer - album: “American Beauty - original motion picture score” - Dreamworks 2000

38:47 - Peter Hammill - Jargon King - album: “A Black Box” - S-Type records 1980

41:20 - Johnny Greenwood - Convergence - album “Bodysong” - Parlophone 2003

45:41 - Aphrodite’s Child - The Wedding of the Lamb / The Capture of the Beast - album: “666” - Vertigo 1972

51:18 - Antonio Sanchez - Doors and Distance - album: “Birdman OST” - Milan records 2014

53:30 - Daniel Ponce - Solo Para Ti - album: “New York Now!” - Celluloid 1983

And for those of you with an inclination for long readings, or simply want to know more about the tracks in the playlist, here's a track-to-track commentary from yours truly.

00:00 - IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE No.3 This was written in 1942, pretty much the same period of “Amores” (see my first FW mixtape), but it is very different from it in both mood and choice of material. In regards to the former, it is less intimate, more concrete; constructivist if I may say so. As for the material employed, whereas Amores was making use of fairly orthodox concert percussion instruments, in this piece we find tin cans, three turntables, an oscillator and various contact-amplified objects, all of which propels it rightfully and steadily into the second half of the XX century. 02:56 - THE BLACK PAGE I’m taking the liberty of putting here this all-too-obvious classic only because there will be more Frank Zappa on the next playlists. And that will be more of a dig into the less known repertoire. 06:46 - ANGER - TALVIN SINGH REMIX The original track is one of the four movements of a full-length opus for extended orchestra by Ryuichi Sakamoto, very much worth listening if you get a chance (and if you can smuggle a whole hour of peace into your schedule). I love this remix to bits, and I’d go as far as saying that this is the track that got me curious about the art of remixing, and its many creative challenges. 13:47 - MONOCHROME I hope this one comes out nicely of whichever cheap sound diffusion some of you might use. The dynamic range is insanely extreme, and even though for this purpose I’ve heavily automated the volume to flatten that a bit, it will still probably sound like total silence at times, on say laptop speakers. I hope that’s not what you customarily use to stream your music anyway. These are the drummers from Kodo, the Japanese island, and this is one of their original compositions. 25:33 - MAITRE’S DANCE In praise of non-repetition. This is Evelyn Glennie again, with Phillip Smith on piano. 34:51 - MORO OMIN MA More maracatú. Something peculiar about the singing in this piece, which makes it sounding rather unusual for North-East Brazilian music, and it reminds me so much about something coming rather straight out of the Grupo Folclorico Nacional de Cuba. 37:45 - ROOT BEER One of the main themes of American Beauty has been unhappily plagiarised in endlessly repeating ringtones, but it remains a great theme despite that; but there are many more hidden gems in this soundtrack, which I invite you to discover, like this one. 38:47 - JARGON KING I can’t begin to tell you how much of Peter Hammill and the Van der Graaf Generators I have listened and played along to as a teenager. This is a peculiar tune for Peter Hammill, and it is my justification for smuggling him into this series. 41:20 - CONVERGENCE I remember trying to figure out how Jonny Greenwood must have devised the construction of this piece in the studio. When I finally succeeded, I’ve ended up using the same trick in one short piece of mine. This is what good ideas are for, no? 45:41 - THE WEDDING OF THE LAMB / THE CAPTURE OF THE BEAST This was “666”, by the Aphrodite’s Child. After hitting it big with two indisputably cheesy albums they somehow created this monster concept opus magna, which propelled their music in dozens of divergent directions. It is no surprise that after that they could barely look at each other in the eyes and they just called it a day as a band. Demis Roussos continued to sing lightweight songs with huge success, Vangelis Papathanassious started a formidable and long-lasting career creating highly evocative synth instrumental music, while we are not given to know much of what happened to the other two. It’s amazing to think that what is often, and rightfully, mentioned as possibly the greatest progressive and psychedelic album of all times, is also one of the very first works of these genres. As far as I know almost certainly the first rock concept album of all. This is the very first album I ever got deeply into as a kid, and it had a massive and never-fading impact in my music life. Needless to say, I spent hundreds of hours drumming along this album in my bedroom, on pillows, buckets and other victims of my youthful excursions into music. It is all still there in my playing of today; it couldn’t be otherwise and I feel no shame. 51:18 - DOORS AND DISTANCE There’s something I find very enjoyable and intriguing about recording a musical source with a moving apparatus. The recordist upgrades from the rank of engineer to that of performer, and the spatiality of sound becomes integral to the musical poetry. 53:30 - SOLO PARA TI Congas, man; just congas until the end of life. Fascinated as I have always been about the sound of pretty much anything that can be found and hit, scraped, bowed, shaken or rolled around, the single instrument I have spent more time on as a percussionist is the conga, and I don’t see this dichotomy ending any time soon. Daniel Ponce is one of the players who have inspired me the most; still trying to figure how he does some of the things he does after all these years…

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