Thursday, September 7, 2017

DANE ROUSAY “blip” (self-released)




I wasn’t sure how “minimalist percussion” was going to translate from a concept to a reality, but once “blip” the album started zig-zagging through my headphones, I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to escape it. Dane Rousay isn’t content to wail away on a drum kit like a basement-bound Neil Peart wannabe – no way. At times, I’m not even sure he’s playing “drums” or percussion or something – I have every reason to believe he’s processing these sounds through some kind of computer program. But you and I know better. The whole point of “blip” is the inventiveness on display, the “magnification” – Rousay’s word – of minimal percussion until it becomes an overwhelming maximalist production. At times I feel like I’m listening to an electronic glitch producer, but the tones and the timbres discourage me from that line of reasoning rather quickly. I’m reminded of the time I was in a band in college and we instructed our drummer to play like Aphex Twin, although I realized later I should have said Autechre. Assuredly, “blip” is nothing like that. It was a weird digression that I just thought of.

The sound is incredible, and makes the idea of a fully “percussion” album less avant-garde-y and more accessible than it probably has any right to be. Because it exists on the nexus of acoustic instrumentation, rigorous composition, and virtuosic playing bordering, as I’ve said, on the unbelievable (it’s actually injected with way more humanness and feeling than any technological composition whose feeling is sheened away by processing), “blip” probably has ripped a hole in the space-time continuum and plowed a nonlinear path in a direction unforeseen by physicists. From tuned and hammered glass (?) to an actual kit, Rousay’s playing is considered and resourceful, and it’s clear that the ideas he’s got kicking around in his head are well worth the attention of those with even a passing interest in percussive arrangement. Then, “blip” is a triumph, something to return to time and again with questions like “How’d he come up with that?” nagging the backs of our amateur minds.

And goodness – the “blip” art is fantastic, a gorgeous job all around. Kudos to Grace Herndon. And it’s mastered by Marcus Maurice, whose More Eaze work I’ve profiled in the past. I’m pretty sure “blip” is the complete package.

Dane Rousay’s WEB SITE
Dane Rousay’s BAND CAMP

--Ryan Masteller


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