Exposé Online banner

Drums & Tuba — Battles Olé
(Righteous Babe RBR047-D, 2005, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2008-10-01

Battles Olé Cover artDrums and Tuba has to be one of the oddest bands active these days in terms of their basic instrumentation, which would be, um, drums, tuba, trumpet, trombone, guitar and electronics. The core trio (Brian Wolff, Tony Nozero, Neal McKeeby) are augmented on this studio recording, their sixth, by friends on organ, sax, and additional brass. In some ways they remind me of Medeski Martin & Wood at their most experimental if they replaced the keyboards with guitar and the bass with tuba, if that’s not too much of a stretch. The basic idea is that solid, slightly funky drumming keeps things going no matter how far out the rest of the playing gets. And far is how out it gets here, with bizarre loops and distortions, squiggly sounds from unidentifiable sources and angsty vocals. The vocals are a new thing for the band, and don’t detract from the instrumental base, as the lengthy tracks allow plenty of room for stretching out. For all the improvisation, there is no space wasted on noodling or showoffy stage-hogging – texture and sound are favored over technique or flash. The centerpiece is the ten-minute gem with a loping Afrobeat triplet rhythm called “Magnum Opie,” which ranges from a quiet staccato build-up with acoustic guitar to an amazing climax of avant guitar, swooshing noises, and echoing trumpets. Amazing stuff.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Drums & Tuba

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Farpoint - Cold Star, Quiet Star – Let me cut to the chase. Cold Star, Quiet Star is undoubtedly one of 2008's best progressive releases and it is Farpoint's fourth album. They have been around since 1997, and it shows. Just pop their...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues