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Sean Baxter, "Metal/Flesh"

cover imageHaving a few collaborations out there with Anthony Pateras and David Brown, Australian percussionist Sean Baxter uses only drums on this single, with two distinctly different approaches to playing them. While the results are rather consistent with the world of free jazz, the microscopic elements of sound that shine through add an entirely new layer of depth to the recording.

Bocian Records

"Metal" is a multitude of clattering wind chimes and chaos, propelled by constant drumming under the morass.While at first glance it might seem like an intentional mess of sound, a closer listen reveals a lot of sonic nuance and detail exhumed from just percussive sounds, without any effects or processing.The raw, violent rattles of metal are beautifully underscored by rich, booming bass drum sounds that are perfectly recorded.

On the other side, "Flesh," the sounds are more sparse and given room to breathe.While much of the drumming was done via metallic items previously, on here Baxter used only his body to play the drum kit.It feels less violent and raw in comparison, the dramatic swells of bass drums are balanced out by careful flicks of a snare drum skin.As a result, the overall feel is simply more organic and human, as a clear byproduct of the way it was recorded.

While the instrumentation is Spartan by design, Baxter teases a wide world of nuance out of the traditional drum kit, mixing pensive, meditative pauses at one moment, then crashing noise and aggression the next.The way this single was recorded also must be recognized, as I’ve rarely heard drums sound this pure and lush:there’s a richness to be heard in each beat that few recordings have.