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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Eric Thielemans - Sprang (Miasmah, 2014) ****

By Stef 

Oh, oh, oh ... in my latest solo percussion review I forgot to mention this new album by my compatriot Eric Thielemans, apologies for that. And who is he? Ever heard of Eric Thielemans? He is a percussionist with a broad background in classical, rock, jazz and free music and many more styles, and on this album he develops his own genre. 

With a myriad of objects and percussion instruments, he creates stories of sound, purefied stories, on which all the unnecessary subplots and superfluous characters are stripped from the straight line, a line full of atmosphere and tension, the result of precision and careful effects. Some tracks have a zen-like quality, such as "Rocks", on which the sounds - no, not rocks - evolve quietly and naturally, well-paced with a slow, hardly noticeable build-up of density. On "Garden", his distant and quietly resonating whistling gives a cinematic feel to a number of single percussive hits on a variety of objects, strangely comforting. 

Other tracks have more shifting dynamics, such as "Tptptptp", which sounds agitated and nervous, a rhythmic collage, or the more theatrical "Ode To Oxley", on which rhythm is completely removed and replaced by percussive effects resonating in space. 

In sharp contrast to many solo percussion albums, there aren't many unnecessary notes here. Thielemans is not really a minimalist either, because he offers a lot, with creative variation, with substance and density, and innovative inventions, without expanding too long on each concept. 

A really beautiful album which will please non-drummers too. A percussion album that makes you dream: a rare feat. It is not only about technique, it is about the music. And we like that. 

Listen and download from eMusic. The album is also available from the label on vinyl and CD.