A drumset is capable of so much more than is commonly extracted from it, even in jazz, its birthplace and, generally, the context of its most sophisticated use. Yet an album of solo drums remains hugely ambitious, more than 40 years after it was first attempted. Sydney’s Simon Barker succeeds brilliantly. The traditional Korean drumming in which he has immersed himself is the key. Add a beautifully recorded kit (expanded with assorted gongs) and Barker simply tells stories. He has the great storyteller’s unerring sense of dramatic ebb and flow, and of colouring the narrative.
Even his overdubbing of the shakuhachi on one piece is a perfectly timed contrast within the scope of the album. Enthralling.
Recorded and mixed by David Nicholas
Studios 301, Sydney
Mastered by Paul Stefanidis at Viking Studios
Cover image: Cape Naturaliste, WA, by Gordon Undy
Special thanks: Paul Derricott, James Waples, Terepai Richmond
David Nicholas, Gordon Undy, Lyndell Undy, Fran Barker, Sho, Shino, Junko