Sydney based Laurence Pike percussionist from PVT and Szun Waves also records as a solo artist, notwithstanding a couple of excellent duo recordings with iconic Australian pianist Mike Nock and the odd guesting on a Flanger record.
Prophecy is his third album, and his approach to his solo work is really quite fascinating. It’s a work for drums, percussion, and drum pad sampler, which initially sounds quite limiting and one dimensional, but not the way Pike approaches it. It feels very much performative and very influenced by electronic music. He apparently worked on his material for four weeks in the studio before recording it all in a day in Sydney’s Oceanic Studios in December. You get the sense that his four weeks of composing this material were spent jamming things out creating composition on the fly before listening back and refining his approach. Recording 10 tracks in a day in the studio is pretty difficult, unless there isn’t much layering and you’re just looking at capturing the performance of this one man band.
All of which is a very convoluted way to say that his compositions are really unique because he creates music unlike many others. Most pieces are relatively spare with a percussion orientation, yet not overly so to the point where you would call this a drummers album. Despite the unique process this is not an album about tricks, it’s about composition and pacing. It’s relatively downbeat, gentle even. And his use of samples are often ethereal like choral vocals or warm swirling organ. He does a lot with little and each element is used consciously and carefully to take the music into a new direction.
Not for a second should you doubt whether Pike is on the correct label for him. You can hear everything from elements of Leaf mainstays Susumu Yokota to 310 or even Eardrum in his sounds, which is fascinating considering their methods of construction have differed so wildly. This feels nostalgic and comforting.
Prophecy is warm beautiful and introspective music. It was created during this summer’s devastating bushfires when smoke and ash made its way across many Australian capital cities, challenging our assumptions about our place in the environment. You can really feel this contemplation here. It’s subtle, spare and endlessly inventive.