"Drum Army" says it all; I counted at least seventeen or eighteen
drummers and /or percussionists involved in the making of this record.
The mastermind behind this unique and bizarre drum ensemble is one Bill
T Miller. And what a dreary place this planet would be indeed without
imaginative individuals such as Miller pushing the envelope and allowing
us into his world. (Enter at your own risk.) He has compiled a number of
rhythms from around the world and produced them using a wide variety of
electronic and acoustic instruments. Aside from the sampled percussion,
some of the musical equipment includes tins, pots and pans, frame drums,
slit drums, tubs, and rice box (!). The result is a combination of an
educational experience coupled with a most unusual array of drum music.
Tracks 1 through 8 introduce us to Miller's take on the rhythmic rituals and jams of Africa, South America, Tibet, Native America, Britain, the USA, and Germany. The first few of these dark, haunting, often mysterious, and groovin' compositions induce images of foreign lands and cultures and the people who inhabit these regions. While these rhythmic compositions may not be "pure" (in terms of Miller's use of instrumentation and sampling), they are certainly genuine in their ability to create the mind-altering moods common to these mysterious rituals and exotic soils. From the foreign soils of the past, we beam to the urban sounds of now, from a not quite slow-mo jam fest (punctuated with toms) to a techno-industrialized big beat seducing the listener with images of robotic motions and the impending doom and destruction of mankind. (It had a good beat and was easy to dance to...) Much of the rhythmic exchange is interspersed with bizarre and well-placed voice overdubs, a la Pink Floyd, creating a strange, dream-like blend of the future and the past. Miller uses this method to get a few messages across, and has, I suspect, just a small amount of fun in the process. This is most definitely music for the individual accustomed to thinking "outside the box"....as it were.
Tracks 9-16 are presented as "Bonus Cuts by Out Of Band Experience"(!). These tracks are out, no doubt about it. Just what the hell is going on here? Android? Put on the headphones, grab a juice, and turn it up! This may be one of the most unusual rides you can take to enter the millennium. But then, some of the old trips are tired, anyway. With humor, wit, and some intelligent (and adult) themes, Bill T. Miller paves the way for a new drum recording experience that is skillfully crafted and fun as hell. (Man, I'm still hungry.) This disk is not going to be palatable to every discerning ear out there. Some from the old school may roll over in their graves. But this is a musical venture exploring the growth of the drum on a new frontier, and therefore worth exploring. The drumming stands on its own merits, as does the obvious grasp of a universal knowledge of rhythm. And the opening dialogue sums this disk up best: "The natural rhythms of the universe are beautiful...and sure." Welcome to the 21st century. This is a place for crazy people. Rated NC-17 (huh?)
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reviewed by: m montalbano
Trip around the world, from the jungle to the
rainforest to tibet mountain tops to american
indian plains to british rock beats to street bang
jams to german euro-tech grooves and
Drum Army parade march. PLUS....
OBE remixes and cuts from OBE lp, Call Now!
$10 for CD
$10 for CD
Drum Army Wants You!
1. Motherland (Africa)
2. Tropical Rainstick (South America)
3. Trance Dance (Tibet)
4. Tribal Stomp (Native America)
5. Big Rock Beat (Britain)
6. Urban Jamfest (USA)
7. EuroTech (Germany)
8. Drum Army March (World Parade)
Described by Drum Army ringleader Bill T. Miller as an "experimental percussion jamfest trip around the world", this disk covers percussive styles ranging from a Tibetan "trance dance" to the hard beats of the German techno scene. There are eighteen contributors in all, credited as playing gongs, pots and pans, and more conventional drums like snares and toms. Vocal samples are scattered all throughout the disk. The potentially chaotic clamour of rhythms always seems to maintain its focus, and each track is true to its designated culture.
This CD also includes a bonus EP tacked on the end from Miller's "Out of Band Experience", an album originally released in 1990. Constant samples are strung together over drum machine beats and simple electronics. It's rhythmic, low key cut and paste; the equivalent of electronic garage rock. The Drum Army portion of this CD is available for download free from mp3orgy.com, which is a great new way of using technology to eliminate material costs and get your music heard.