Rose is proposing that harmony and melody need not be treated as in anyway superior to what the drums are saying…

Earshift Records CD EAR067

Jeremy Rose – composer, tenor sax, bass clarinet; Simon Barker – composer, drums; Chloe Kim – composer, drums; Thomas Avgenicos – trumpet; Hilary Geddes – guitar; Novak Monojlovic – piano, Rhodes, Prophet synth; Jacques Emery – bass; Ben Carey – modular synth

Recorded at Free Energy Device Studios, Newtown, NSW, Australia; 17-19 January 2022

Although he plays woodwind, Jeremy Rose is especially interested in drum-based music, learning about traditional rhythms and cultures of the Asia Pacific region, including Korea where he spent a longish period.

Disruption sees him working together with two master drummers, fellow Australian Simon Barker and the Korean born, Sydney based Chloe Kim, who has become deeply involved with the Australian jazz and improvised music scene. Here Barker and Kim are engrossed with Rose as players and composers, alongside of musicians from the Earshift Orchestra.

Rose’s writing for this album was to complement the two drummers’ solo recordings, which were then re-composed, responding to that writing. The new arrangements were then studied by the three at a number of workshop sessions.

One of Rose’s compositional methods was to create a series of drum chants which were layered in dense, rhythmic forms; the sounds of other instruments were used to illustrate elements such as colour and texture, even the grammar of the music in terms of where does a paragraph end or where to sound a semi-colon.

One might say that in general terms other instruments have been handed subordinate roles to that of the drums.  This is particularly clear in Track 2, Road to Body, in which the drums’ eminence increases while other instruments are subordinated.

Rose is proposing that harmony and melody need not be treated as in anyway superior to what the drums are saying and need not be so elevated as to their relative function in the whole work. The piece starts off in a very reflective mood, largely at the hands of the bass clarinet. The opening is largely drum-free, but they come in with vigour.

There are no ‘easy pieces’ in Disruption, it is at times difficult, even challenging, but one is aided by its environmental theme. Those of us who are not at all enamoured of drum solos from jazz bands will find it particularly trying, but there is interest and passion throughout.

Reviewed by Ken Cheetham