WFMU : Freedom is Freeform!
jason on 10/22/2009 at 11:19AM
"Southern Illinois native Zac Nelson is a drummer, and knowing that you should also know that he is a madman". -Holy Mountain's release page for the Hexlove album Knew Abloom (Life's Hood)
It does require a very unique kind of drummer -- "a madman", perhaps -- to venture into new sonic territories. The result -- as with Zac Nelson's Hexlove -- can be infinitely rewarding, but too often, the Drummer is cast as a mere beat-keeper, as if The Beat is something that must be kept. This leaves little room for innovation, especially in any genre-specific setting, where the drum kit and drumming have both been standardized; there is already a well of tried and true beats at a drummer's disposal.
But when those born into the drummer's throne are naturally inclined to explore beyond the drum cage, they bring with them an exhilaratingly fresh, hyper-rhythmic approach to music composition and improvisation. A new generation of exciting drummer solo projects is emerging right here on the FMA: Black Pus (Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt), Soft Circle (Hisham Baroocha ex. Lightning Bolt/Black Dice), GDFX (drummer for Teeth Mountain, Liturgy, and the Dan Deacon Ensemble) and Bolmongani (Ryan from Paik) come to mind. And we're very excited to welcome Hexlove to the FMA with his Harp Drafts EP, a free release from the blossoming Obstructive Vibrations label.
Across Harp Drafts' four tracks, Zac Nelson unleashes a fluid outpouring of expressive drumming atop kaleidoscopic harp loops and ambient electronics. He hints at patterns that beg you to grasp for them but fade when you try. And that's ok -- just let it wash over because each new trajectory sets off a fresh batch of seratonin. (Take a listen and read on after the jump...)
Harp Drafts is but a glimpse into the wide, open world of Hexlove. In the past few years, Weird Forest has released both the Want To Be Nice CD and Free Jazz From Slavery 2xLP. Hexlove also has two double CDs: Pija Z Bogiem (Dreamsheep Records) and Your Love of Music Will be an Important Part of Your Life (Porter Records). Early editions of the Dreamsheep release came with a limited cdr of Hexlove performing like on KBOO in Portland, where he currently resides. And just this week, Porter Records released an album from Zac Nelson's collaboration with fellow extraordinary percussionist Zach Hill (Hella, Marnie Stern, Wavves etc). The duo's called CHLL PLL and the album, Aggressively Humble, is available here with some enticing audio samples. Though Harp Drafts is an instrumental album and works well that way, on most of these releases, and on his other projects (like Who’s Your Favorite Son God), Zac Nelson weaves a vocal layer into the mix.
Harp Drafts is the first free release from Obstructive Vibrations. Their second free release, Raleigh Moncrief's excellent Combed Over Chrome EP, will be on the FMA soon and can be heard here now, along with samples from a new super-limited LP by Joanna Newsom's drummer Neal Morgan.