Dane Rousay is a San Antonio based percussionist and this is the first of several planned releases. This is a solo effort largely with drum kit and perhaps a couple of enhancements or additional percussive hardware. There are 8 rather brief tracks on this album, all of an experimental nature and all very well recorded.
One small disclaimer: I generally don’t review download only releases but Mr. Rousay was persistent and kind in his requests for a review. Another aspect is that there appears to be an increase in this purely digital release format and to ignore that in favor of a demand for a physical product would likely be missing an opportunity to hear some good work.
Despite the brevity there is much for the ear. The percussion seems to be closely miked and that is apparently the point here. Each track is like a mini-etude or experiment which will presumably be used as material for other work. Whether this is jazz, free jazz, new music, classical, etc. is actually beside the point. The point appears to be the sound itself.
There are no liner notes and little in the way of explanation to be found even on the composer’s web site. (That’s not necessarily a negative thing either.) It is not clear if this music is improvised or composed or if there is any predetermined structure and there appears to be no intended connection between each of the tracks. Most of the work is mallets or sticks of some sort hitting the targeted percussive surface though he does make use of extended techniques such as rubbing the mallets across the surface creating rich harmonics in the manner of the spectralists.
After multiple listens this reviewer is left with the impression of having visited the artist’s studio for a rather personal tour of some of his working ideas. If you are a percussionist or a fan of percussion music this album will doubtless interest you. It is not easy listening but it does appear to be a very personal exploration of this artist’s techniques and ideas.
I am looking forward to more from this interesting and seemingly uncompromising artist.