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CHASE, BRIAN - Drums & Drones

Format: CD & DVD
Label & Cat.Number: Pogus Productions POGUS 21070-2
Release Year: 2013
Note: "Just Intonation"-drones (based on LA MONTE YOUNGs theory) performed on a specially tuned drum-head, creating rich overtunes;... very reduced & focussed experiments by this percussionist from New York City (also active as drummer of YEAH YEAH YEAHs, etc..) + DVD with videos by URSULA SCHERRER & ERIK Z.
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €18.00

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"A first for Pogus! This fantastic new 2 disc set by Brian Chase, drummer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, contains both a CD of the music and a DVD of the music with videos by New York video artists Ursula Scherrer and Erik Z. This recording is exactly what it says it is : drums and drones - based on Just Intonation tuning theory: A tuning system modeled after a naturally occurring acoustic phenomenon known as overtones, the subsidiary tones which exist in an ordered series from an established primary tone. Stemming from this single primary tone an infinite amount of overtones can be derived. As Chase explains: Drums and percussion has seen some but not much exploration in Just Intonation, yet they are inherently designed to represent it as such: a drum head is tuned to a single pitch, one frequency, and resonates with rich harmonic detail. From there the overtone series can be uncovered and expressed. The Drums and Drones project deals directly with approaching drums and percussion from the standpoint of Just Intonation. For Chase, the genesis of this project is outlined in this brief excerpt from his liner notes: The Drums and Drones project initially came about from inspiration by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela's Dream House installation in TriBeCa, NYC. I had spent a good amount of time, volunteering there as a 'monitor' someone who minded the installation and greeted visitors. The duration of my shift, about 4-5 hours, was mostly spent sitting directly outside of the gallery space, listening and feeling the immense sound pulsing through the door and walls, and reading up on the principles of Just Intonation and the historical background of La Monte, Marian, and their cohorts of the NYC experimental art scene. I accumulated countless hours, too, sitting in the space itself, embracing the impact of the finely tuned sound and light vibrations. The tones would dance in my head, hypnotic and entrancing, and I would hear tones that previously seemed veiled which were now resonating loudly and clearly somewhere between the air, my ear, and my brain. I was mesmerized by the power of this physiological experience. With the pieces that were developed for a Feb. 2007 concert, a starting point was formed for what was to grew into a recording project. I had the idea of approaching the project as being a series of etudes, each one a study in the different ways of the application of the Just Intonation tuning theory to drums and percussion. Eventually I did develop a basic method which laid the groundwork for most of what was to come with D & D: 1) tune the drum head to a specific frequency 2) mic the drum and run the sound into a computer 3) with recording software, use very precise, a.k.a. surgical, equalization to emphasize and boost the frequencies of the drum's overtones. Also as part of the setup was a loop pedal, but at this stage it was used more for live performance. Another important method that I developed at this stage was getting sustained feedback tones generated between the resonating drumhead and the stereo speakers. To do this, I would boost a specific frequency on the EQ corresponding to the fundamental or a low harmonic, and this would encourage the drumhead to vibrate at that frequency. A feedback loop would get going between the drum and the speakers. Often times I would need to raise or lower the pitch of the drumhead ever so slightly to 'dial in' the tuning of the feedback tone. Each etude developed at this time would highlight a different set of overtones and showcase a specific playing technique. Brian Chase is a drummer and composer living in Brooklyn, NY. Growing up on Long Island, he started taking private drum lessons when he was 5 that led to earning a Bachelors of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. Though he works in a variety of contexts, Brian is probably best known as a member of the rock group Yeah Yeah Yeahs, a band that has toured extensively throughout the world and has been nominated for two Grammys. Other recorded projects include the Seconds, a minimalist punk rock band that has two albums on the 5rc label, a duo ensemble with saxophonist Seth Misterka that has a record on the Heathen Skulls label, and Jeremiah Lockwood's Sway Machinery with a record on JDub. Performance collaborations have included Matt Welch, Jessica Pavone, Mary Halvorson, Stefan Tcherepnin, Alan Licht and Okkyung Lee. Brian is also interested in the Just Intonation tuning theory and is heavily influenced by the work of La Monte Young introduced to him by guitarist Jon Catler." [label info]


"The next release is the first DVD release by Pogus, with the same music on CD. I went to straight to the DVD. Brian Chase is the drummer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (which name I may have come across, but surely not their music, as far as I know), a rock group. I must admit I didn't know what to expect from a disc in which the title already tells us what's going to happen. But exactly how drums create drones, or how the two are going to be married, is of course the big question here. Inspired by LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela, Chase started to tune the drum head to a specific frequency and 'mic the drum and the sound into a computer' and then using software with very precise equalization to emphasize and boost the frequencies of the drum's overtones. In a concert situation he would also use a loop pedal. That was one starting point, the other was to have drum heads resonate with feedback loops between drum and speakers. None of this is actually be seen on the DVD, and the images, created by Ursual Scherrer and Erik Z, which are mostly abstract affairs of multi-layered images, that fit the music rather well. In many of these pieces one hardly has the idea one is listening to anything that is even remotely drum like, except perhaps 'Stick Shot Harmonics Drone', which is also one of the pieces in which the video seems to be running along with the music - in sync. But many of the other are like sustaining tones of sometimes sine wave like sounds, waving slowly and majestically about. If you listen closely you may recognize a bit of drum here and there, maybe more apparent if you play the CD and not be distracted by the visuals. As someone who loves drones, I must say I was quite taken by this release." [FdW/Vital Weekly]