365 beats, 12 LPs, and a book. This is the epic project undertaken by Berne-based drummer Julian Sartorius. Acting not as a disjointed collection of one minute sound clips, as a first glance would suggest, Beat Diary acts rather as a year long exploration of music manifested through purely analogue sound. With a beat being written everyday and the date as the track’s title, Beat Diary may not have a clear them or motif that runs throughout, however it does follow a clear progression to a climactic end. Often sparse, often full: the 365 beats on the compilation definitely create a thought provoking, incredible listen.
As a taste ’11 January 2011′ opens with a crunchy bass kick holding steady under an escalating rhythm performed on what sounds like pots and pans. Maintaining itself for a mere 53 seconds, it’s a sign of what is in store with the rest of the track listing.
As the compilation flows through, the mood of the beats change almost constantly. ’22 March 2011′ rests on a much deeper and more ominous tone, with a haunting aesthetic and the sound of wind lying beneath it all. While ’25 April 2011′ is perhaps the most upbeat track out of the lot, sounding as though all of the elements were performed on a guitar, the rhythm by hitting the body, and the melody through using a slide, it definitely is a representation of how truly creative this compilation is.
The final track, ’31 December 2011′, ends the compilation as well as Sartorius’ year and experiment, in grand fashion. With a smacking drum track, small chimes lie over the top until the song comes to a peak mid way through, bringing in a progression on piano before ending, in a very apt way, with the sound of fireworks.
As an exploration of music, Beat Diary works perfectly; however as an exploration of a year in sound, it succeeds even more so. Sartorius’ collection of quick beats, loops and interludes is without a doubt a massive project to undertake, and one definitely worth its time to listen to.