ToPaRaMa — ToPaRaMa
(7d Media no#, 2014, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-10-11The publicity for this release said it didn't sound like a "drummer's album," the implication presumably being that a drummer's album would be a bad thing. But for ToPaRaMa, neither is true. It does sound like a drummer's album (or a drummers' album, in this case), and it is not a bad thing at all. This is a much more organic effort than the XtraKcts & ArtifaKcts release more than ten years ago, where Pat Mastelotto assembled a bunch of Crimson-related recordings into something completely new — although "completely" is a matter of interpretation here. This time around he has partnered with Tobias Ralph, the other Crimson ProjeKCt drummer, along with a number of guests on bass, keyboards, and assorted other instruments; the two principles also cover some instruments besides percussion. In addition to a reworking of the Crimson tune "B'Boom," they present a set of tracks based around rhythmic patterns, which could end up being tedious in less capable hands (and feet). The results are not surprisingly reminiscent of Crimson tunes of the 90s and beyond era, all of which have featured Mastelotto, only with more emphasis on the percussion and without the guitars. But even for those either not familiar or not fond of the later Crimson era, ToPaRaMa presents a fascinating sound, seamlessly blending electronic and acoustic sounds, playing and programming. And while the drums take the lead, there's no lack of melodic material, and nothing resembling a traditional drum solo of either the rock or jazz variety. This is a fascinating glimpse into the minds of two great drummers whose talents extend far beyond hitting things with sticks.
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
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
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
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more