DIGITAL 5th August 2020
There are people who use the drum solo in a concert as an opportunity for a toilet break – particularly if it is one of the ten minute ones the Grateful Dead used to play. For those people who don’t, Dave Schoepke has a second album of solo percussion and much of it is the investigative, exploratory type, you’d find in a substantial concert drum solo. It’s been a good year for solo drum albums, with Mani Neumeier of Guru Guru releasing an album with a number of tracks consisting of percussion performed on the sorts of things you find on a coral beach. Played on a more traditional kit, this album nevertheless has plenty of interest.
Dave Schoepke is an established drummer with other bands and prolific session musician but here wanted to find his rhythmic connection to the environment, so there are no surprises when bird calls crop up on one track, traffic and other noises elsewhere. He delved into musical experiments with his small baby and dug into his own self to see whether rhythm is natural. Ultimately, thanks to COVID-19 quietening human activity, he realised there was almost nowhere in normal times where the sound of humans wasn’t present. It isn’t clear whether he thought an hour more of recorded human noise would therefore be a good idea but the foregoing illustrates the depth of thinking going on in creating the set. I found it an interesting and enjoyable trip through a range of ideas, developing as they go and, for those who don’t favour the toilet break, a solid hour of sonic exploration without screaming guitars getting in the way.