Matthias Kaul

Matthias Kaul: Solo Percussion

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There is something about Solo Percussion that is so inside -- even a small joke that permeates each selection -- that listeners are kept outside the record's language. It talks to them, but not in a manner listeners can grasp because the language it speaks is private. That this should occur on a percussion session is unthinkable. Of all musical communicators, rhythm is the most basic of elemental forces both inside and outside the human body -- in every living thing, actually. So how does a fine percussionist like Matthias Kaul, who has worked so productively with other musicians and ensembles, push an audience so far to the margin that they stand outside of it? After repeated listenings in different situations, that question may remain unanswered. But the entire proceeding feels cold, disconnected, and insular. Again, given the nature of rhythm and its virtually limitless textures, overtones, and timbres, it is the great earthly communicator to both worldly and heavenly issues. Kaul seems unconcerned with anything but abstractly yet systematically expressing what he's already found, not what he's looking for. There is no crack in his proceedings that allows for a listener to either get inside his own sound world or climb out of it in hope of discovering something else along the line. This predeterminancy seems to overshadow whatever technical wonder Kaul has to offer, and provides listeners precious little to grasp and hold on to. This is precisely the way not to make a record.

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