Where (we) Live

Where (we) Live

3.0 1
by So Percussion
     
 
With the album Where (we) Live, a distillation of an evening-length show that So Percussion premiered and toured in the fall 2012, the group continues to push the conventions of what a percussion ensemble sounds like, or even what it is. A collaboration between So Percussion and singer and guitarist Grey

Overview

With the album Where (we) Live, a distillation of an evening-length show that So Percussion premiered and toured in the fall 2012, the group continues to push the conventions of what a percussion ensemble sounds like, or even what it is. A collaboration between So Percussion and singer and guitarist Grey McMurray, it is conceived of as an ongoing project in which local artists are invited to contribute to, and therefore significantly alter, the substance of each performance. (Initial ideas have included collaborating with a fabric artist playing a sewing machine or a blacksmith at a forge.) A video artist, choreographer, and writer/director are also involved in the live performances, adding to the spontaneity, unpredictability, and variety of each show. All the music is related in one way or another to the idea of home. Whether recalling bittersweet memories of homes of origin or reflecting on current homes, the intent is clearly one of inclusion, inviting other artists and listeners to come in. Where (we) Live might more likely be classified as indie-pop than anything even under the very broad umbrella of contemporary classical music. There are only a couple of tracks that a listener coming to the album cold would be likely to identify as the work of a percussion ensemble, and even then, usually for only a small portion of the track. Few of the tracks develop a single idea, but include a fragmented collage of diverse elements combined intriguingly and unpredictably. Electronics are prominent, used in a variety of traditional and creatively unconventional ways, including woozy atmospheric sound collages that can morph into heavy rock-driven grooves. Most tracks include guitars, keyboards, and vocals either sung or spoken, and occasionally the sound of a percussion ensemble is recognizable. "Room and Board," which has at its center a long spoken narrative, makes an especially strong impact. After the listener is acclimated to a state of disorientation, the album further subverts expectations by closing with a folk/pop ballad of disarming simplicity and sweetness. Artists like So Percussion and Grey McMurray are at the cutting edge of new music composition and performance, and Where (we) Live continues their push even further into uncharted territory. The album should be of strong interest to fans of boundary-stretching music.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/25/2012
Label:
Cantaloupe
UPC:
0713746308728
catalogNumber:
21087

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Where (we) Live 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Mike_Maguire More than 1 year ago
‘Where we live’ is a collaboration between So Percussion and Grey MCMurray. It’s part composed, part inprov, part electronic overdub, part narrator-all mix in a crude, neo primitive fashion. The style veers oddly off-balanced, between brief slick fusion and found art/ noise /free form, with occasional gamelan perc overtop. It’s often deeply personal, sometimes childish, sometimes uncomfortably psychological- as if the whole CD is someone’s memory, churning out deeply embarrassing images. Although they are going for letting these disparate elements just fall where they may (in a kinda Cageian, synchronistic joy or melancholy), I kept wishing there was something deeper in the structure to pull all these different worlds together. It all has a feel of being recorded in a day with this specific concept, but didn’t work out when they came to mixing it over the next weeks. There’s some phenomenal playing here (especially the perc playing), something which would have been enhance by tighter structure and tastier, more subtle mixing. Having said that, my reservations might be my insular taste, and there could easily be a more receptive audience out there for this stuff. Here’s my blow by blow: 1. This place the place Distant piano pattern, male talking, with hard left/right electro-acoustic intrusions in fore ground 2. Five rooms back Same format-this time add drum set to piano- noisy climax 3. Strange steps Opens with sus accordion, then perc groove joined by bass, and piano that all fade back to perc groove, into jazz fusion/ Donald Fagan vocals . Then great bell riff into big groove, plus vocal head that repeats adding length each repetition. 4. Moat Guitar and monophonic synth, precedes vocal, interrupted by gamelan-like perc, interrupted by multi track distortion guitar and same vocal. Then drum kit with tuned African drums. Decapo the vocal, then return the gamelanish perc. 5.Room and board Talking and guitar strum. Foreground static. Last phrase gets looped. It continues in somewhat the same way-add Fender Rhodes chords and drum kit. 6. In our room Languid strumming and picking of acoustic instruments in an electro-goo. Drums enter in foreground. 7. All along Metered drum kit groove with electro-stuff floating by over top. Again the slow Rhodes chords emerge triumphant. 8. Strangers all along Rhodes and kit groove. Vocal overtop 9. Five rooms more of the same 10. Thankyou Big chorus phrase that adds chunks each time it repeats, with large, churning perc climax underneath.