The debut solo album from David Evans, drummer from local post rock outfit This is Your Captain Speaking is a sparse mesmerising work that is so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s music that hypnotises you, in fact it’s only midway through the album that it becomes obvious that aside from a few deviations, it’s music created solely from percussive instruments. It takes so long because we’ve become so acclimatised to electronic music, to repetitive rhythms, to simple melodies garnered from rhythmic beats and bleeps. Evans is clearly aware of this, and though there are a wide variety of approaches here, it is very much an explicit attempt to recreate the electronic on an acoustic drum kit.
There’s everything from taut tribal percussion where the kit almost sounds like a djembe on the title track, to lush glittering post rock on 1am to 2am, to what could almost be field recordings on The Edge, to peculiar indie house music on the appropriately titled Swing House.
His cover of Kraftwerk’s Trans Europe Express is bizarre and a little bit cheeky. The only track with vocals, he creates this shuffling beat, then uses a glockenspiel for the melodic elements and a rainstick to build density. The vocals of course sound like a robot, but the damage has already been done. Kraftwerk have never felt so earthy, so organic. Then there’s the eleven-minute Music for Brian. It’s obviously improvised, however it does seem to lose its way occasionally, coming across a little self indulgently, like, well an 11-minute drum solo. Whilst his shorter pieces are much punchier, simpler, and better executed, even this sprawling epic has a big hypnotic payoff in the end that makes it worth the journey.
The album is so lush, so multi layered it’s impossible to believe it can be the work of one man. Then there’s the fact that five of the eight pieces here were recorded in a 24 hour period as part of the 24 Hour Drawing Project, an exercise in making art quickly. But it doesn’t feel rushed. It defies categorisation.
Bob Baker Fish