For most people the name of Dave Schoepke doesn't ring any bells. Those who do some investigations on the internet will find that he is an accomplished North American drummer, who has been the primary drummer for The Willy Porter Band since 2002.
In addition to his work with Willy Porter, Dave has had the pleasure of working with the former Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre. Dave toured with Martin's band in 2017 and in 2018 for the “Cruise To The Edge” Tour. Whilst doing all of this he still has time to devote to his own band Tweed. In between he also managed to record his first solo album Drums On Low, which was released on July 15, 2019.
When I received this album I didn't know what to expect at all. Maybe the title Drums On Low would reveal what the music on this album is all about. Drums!!! Nothing more nothing less. Each of the ten compositions are written and performed on the drums and percussion instruments by Schoepke himself. Did I like it? Yes and no! Yes because it's very clever to write and record ten different tracks and to release it on an album. No because to me it sometimes sounds too much the same and has hardly any melodic parts which are enjoyable for a lover of progressive rock music. Listening to Drums On Low is as if you are listening to a drum solo which lasts almost 45 minutes. You do have to know that I am not at all fond of drum solos during progressive rock concerts. Hardly any drummer managed to entertain me while do his solo spot. Of course Dave is very talented behind his instruments and sometimes you hear that he is probably inspired by people such as Carl Palmer, known for his work with acts such as The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster, Emerson, Lake & Palmer en Asia. The solo spots which Carl got during his time with ELP on record and during concerts must have been an inspiration for Dave Schoepke. Just listen to ELP's Toccata and the solo spot which Palmer got on ELP's Works Vol. 1 and compare it to parts on this release then you will notice the similarity. The only track with not only Dave is Tangles on which we can hear a spoken sound fragment. Probably coming out of the radio which we can find on the cover and on the inside of the album.
It's difficult to give a verdict to an album of original drum and percussion compositions recorded devoid of any overdubs, editing or splicing, only done live in the studio. With many of the tracks improvised while some were pre-written. At times moving into Avant Garde music, at others going towards experimental stuff. Therefore I won't. Just listen to the album if you have the chance and decide for yourself if you find it very enjoyable or not. I guess maybe only recommended to drummers and percussionists out there!
(no rating) Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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