Glenn Kotche

Mobile (Nonesuch)

Though drummer Glenn Kotche's role with Wilco may be all the credence needed to draw the indie faithful, little evidence of his day job shows on this, his third solo outing. Drum solos were once the rage, but Kotche's ability to hammer out increasingly complex rhythms on a variety of exotic percussion instruments (vibraphone, kalimba, mbira, and traps) makes him more than just another rock and roll thrasher. In fact if any comparison comes to mind — although these imaginative soundscapes do defy description — it would be the avant-garde minimalism of Steve Reich, Brian Eno, and Terry Riley. Kotche subtly layers his rhythms, beginning with a precise pattern and adding seemingly random sounds to gradually overlap and transition, then build and subside as the melodies shift and sway. Consider "Monkey Chant," which begins with a flurry of tom-toms before incorporating effects that suggest creaking doors, an isolated blip that could be a dripping faucet, and a further array of rhythmic onslaughts. However, some tracks create a consistent pulse. For example, "Individual Trains" provides a dark, ominous rumble prior to the solace and ethereal ambiance of "Fantasy on a Shona Theme." Eerie and atmospheric, sensual yet provocative, odd but endearing, Mobile offers mood music for any occasion.

 
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