Artwork: Al Luening
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Drowning In Snow is Dave’s third solo album and his second release on djummi, after the single Before Black and White came out in 2019 already. On the new album he continues his idea of Drums Only, which means to compose just for drums with the aim to narrate, and even spins it out. The collaboration with Sebastian on two of the four tracks however shows, that Dave’s concept is less dogmatic and open for new ideas from the outside.
On Stunted, which was released as a single previously, Sebastian steps in carefully, when he adds atmospheric sounds and subtle electronic percussion. Whereas on the title track Drowning In Snow he goes further and his editing can be seen as remixing or even recomposing. Drums Only seems to be jettisoned here. But all sounds and elements, which are audible in addition to the drums, are developed from Daves’ beat, the rhythmical as well as the tonal. Sebastian translates the idea of the song, the drum theme, in his own sound speech and tells the same story again in new words.
Falling Upstairs on the other hand is 100% Drums Only. Its rhythm is very impressing, as it really seems to emblematize the title. It sounds like it is moving forward and falling back at the same time. Brilliant!
All songs are from the recent past besides Bionic. It maybe can be seen as Dave’s first Drums Only work, which was recorded back in 1992 for his former band Moloko Shivers. The main theme of the piece is influenced by the John Bonham song Bonzo’s Montreux. Dave took his layering and periodic breakdown approach, but applied his own series of grooves and textures.
Dave didn’t plan the album ahead in its final form. It came into being more or less spontaneously and incidentally, like an idea patchwork, not least because of the vivid exchange the two musicians had during the stage of collaboration (which remarkably happened solely via internet). This interaction again and again produced new spontaneous ideas (musically and conceptually), which mostly found the way into the big picture without hesitation.
Although Dave took the decision of the song selection impulsively too, the titles may have something like a recurrent theme. All of them more or less describe stagnation or failing. Sebastian got inspired by this for a little text, which sounds like a factious official announcement with the bold claim to not believe in human progress. Its basis is the belief, that failing deeply belongs to human nature, and which is better to be considered, than negotiated.
People out there: Don’t trust too much in technical progress! It’s often accompanied by a form of regression at the same time. Mankind has subdued Earth and gained dominion over nature up to the point where it is about to lose the basis of life. The use of bionics to save the world by inventing robot bees is a desperate attempt, a complete nonsense: Reinventing nature after having destroyed it.
Bear in mind: technical progress isn’t solely improvement, it always happens at the expense of something. We don’t earn additional knowledge, we are mostly getting different knowledge and losing the former. It’s like going upstairs and falling. In actuality, technical progress is nothing more than a Stunted growth. So, beware: one day all of this Falling Upstairs might leave us Drowning In Snow.
Drowning In Snow is a fine little album with a wide spanned musical bow, surprising and inspiring.