Khompa – The Shape Of Drums To Come (Monotreme Records)
To say this sounds like Animal from the Muppets taking out his existential frustrations is both a compliment and a pretty reasonable comparison. Lord knows what the shape of the drums was, to begin with, but by the end of this pulverising record, it seems pretty safe to assume they ain’t the same now. Marvellously rowdy stuff.
At times The Shape Of Drums To Come is like the more tribal end of techno played by a live band. At others, it’s a gruffer, almost metal-type affair. Throw in some ominously brooding atmospherics such as on terrifying closer ‘Wrong Time Wrong Place‘ and this all adds up to a pretty thrilling affair.
When tossed out the end of all this, it’s sobering to note that, far from the aforementioned, band, the record was recorded completely live by one fellow. Davide Compagnoni has somehow contrived to make one of the densest, liveliest and ferocious albums around using just his drum kit, 4 drum triggers, a custom built step sequencer and his laptop. He recorded each song as he played it, all at once with no changes to the structure. There are other contributions, such as a spat out and rather unnerving vocal by Taigen Kawabe of Bo Ningen, but essentially this is a one-man operation. One man channelling some colossally loud percussion and devilishly swampy sounds from down below somewhere.
There are subtle and melancholic melodies drifting around. Rather than detract from the power they rather add to it. Some of the moods may be influenced by ambient but together with the crashing bangs and wallops, there’s not a great deal of let up. The smooth(ish), droning bassline on ‘Make The Operator More Productive‘ – a pin-point descriptor for the whole record – has a pure, techno feel, but all around is more organic and forceful. Hard to imagine a time and motion chap demanding more production and commitment.
Whether one calls this dance music or something else entirely, who knows? As so often, the margins and crossovers can be the most interesting places in music. That is the case here. Quite unique and out there on its own. Smacks you about the head in the most engrossing way and transcends genres. It’s dizzying in the best sense and utterly relentless.
Deeply impressive stuff. More so as a set up has been put together to perform this on stage. Again as a solo project and without click tracks, loops or backing – 100% live. Something that has to be heard to be believed, one imagines.
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