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

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

David Bedford - The Odyssey – Bedford reached a new high with The Odyssey from 1976. It's based upon the Odyssey which Odysseus undertook in the eponymous book from Homer. When you look at the back of the CD, among the 11...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues