The press release for Drumgasm, the one-off improvisational collaboration between Zach Hill (Death Grips, Hella), Janet Weiss (Wild Flag, Quasi) and Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam), takes a combative tone. “The casual listener, the musical window shopper, there is just nothing for you here,” it reads. Way to sell a concept, Jackpot Records.
Can’t say I blame them, though, because even for the most adventurous of listeners, this 40-minute splatter of drum solos is a slog to get through. The three percussionists spend the majority of their studio time rattling out fills and gleefully whacking at cymbals with no indication of actually listening to one another. Once someone does manage to get a steady beat going, at about the 4½-minute mark of the album’s A-side—from its jazzy tone, my guess is it’s Cameron—the other two fall in, adding some nice color and polyrhythms. That lasts about four minutes before the whole thing devolves into freeform chaos once again.
What becomes clear by
the second half of the album is that this was completely unrehearsed.
By the midpoint, the players finally begin melding their individual
styles together for the purpose of reaching the titular percussive
release. They come close, but never really find the right combination of
harmony and clutter to push listeners over the edge.
HEAR IT: Drumgasm is out Tuesday, Aug. 27.