andy pyne

 To many the thought of an albums worth of drum improvisation, might well cause an audible response as to the ‘why’ variety, what – some bloke hitting things with a stick, where the fun and point in that. I’d be in total agreement had I been a younger self, nothing was deemed more preposterous or annoying in my own limited understanding than drum solos being performed on the Old Grey Whistle Test, it was an instant turn off to see some bloke hidden in the back getting the spotlight for what seemed like weeks, when in fact it was mere minutes, to batter hell out of pit of drums of various sizes. It was one of the primary reasons why for years that metal and progressive rock where a conspicuous absence in my listening tastes and why AOR is still the subject of occasional aversion therapy. In truth, and I’m sure there’s a snobbery and hierarchy amongst even drummers, the first drummers to ever impress where Budgie and Pete de Freitas, the latter because of that sense of majesty of the wasteland, the former through his Creatures work with Siouxsie. Both sticks-men, much like Stewart Copeland possessed a wide spectrum of percussive artistry that relayed its own musical vocabulary, for a youngster reared on the three-minute directness of punk, both musicians proved to be a learning curve in the appreciation of the effect, the atmosphere and pacing afforded by this sound spine. I mention all this, just in case you were wondering if there was a point or whether I just fancied rambling, because just yesterday we received a cassette. No ordinary cassette mind, there’s only 23 of them, well 22 now that I have one, from Andy Pyne, yep him from foolproof projects and erstwhile Brighton based tub thumper – see Map71, kellar, ugly animal et al. ‘eight forms of defense’ features an octet of furiously skedaddled improvisational workouts revealing a wide spectrum of textures, nuances and moods that veer neatly from moments of schizoid no wave impishness to full on freaky art jazz intricacies. What first occurs listening to this limited set is, though the medium might be sparse, it’s the variance of picture boards that readily call to mind, amid these foundation footings to song development, the patterns expressed / utilised within have in some way, a musical tongue of their own with Pyne behind the kit taking you on, I guess what might be considered, a musical travelogue / road trip. As said earlier eight track frequent this strictly limited set, sometimes feral often structured and disciplined, Pyne deftly swings the baton to craft a molten brew whose intricate patterns found on say, ‘the tripping point’ (a track incidentally enough to have beards sprouting among the on looking brethren as they stroke their chins whilst smoking their pipes and nodding in collectively affirmation) blends in sharp contrast to the humorous devices applied to ‘flea circus’ (a little anarchic fun that for some of a certain vintage might well recall the surreal televisual happenings brought to bear upon children’s after school TV hour by Michael Bentine’s ‘potty time’). At other points, ‘moment of last scattering’ does have the feel of a chase vibe from an arty noir early 70’s cosmopolitan experimental filmic quality about its wares while in direct consequence ‘reverse fault pt2’ comes tightly coiled, its minimalist detailing narrowing the confines making it feel as though the walls are closing in as it gouging with an astute tenseness. It’s a similar instruction that’s brought to bear by its sibling ‘pt 1’ where you feel the only thing that’s missing is the icing of Ornette Coleman. Elsewhere ‘call to undercliff’ with its rolling patterns is possessed of a timeless monastic sense of tribal occasion, an almost spiritual reverence ensues while ‘sandstorm’ mirrors the disquieting calm before the storm with its heavily set squirreling earth beat signatures. Now that’s what I call drumming.

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