Gregg Bendian

Definite Pitch

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Solo percussion records are really a shot in the dark. They are either inspired works of art or pretentious pieces of crap -- they fall in few spaces between. To that end, American drummer extraordinaire Gregg Bendian has offered a study on the various spatial relationships of pitch to movement on everything from chimes and marimbas to metalophones, xylophones, glockenspiels, timpanis, altered vibraphones, and snare drums. Each piece is short, an exercise designed to reveal a certain pulse and regulated pitch inside timbral shifts and tonal variations, almost like ghost tones that emit sounds even when the motion used to produce sound is static and repetitive. The fact that Bendian can produce these microtones, overtones, and semi-quavers from the ether on any number of percussion instruments is an achievement in itself. However, that he can commit himself to an artistic process and make it compelling listening is another. And that is the true mark of art -- the thing that has never been done cannot ever be repeated and engages us simultaneously.

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