Han Bennink

Nerve Beats

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Issued for the first time in 2000 as part of Atavistic's Unheard Music Series, this CD catches percussion madman Han Bennink at play in an improvised solo concert from 1973. However, just because this is a solo album and Bennink is a percussionist doesn't make this a solo percussion album, per se. Along the way, he also sings, yells like a mock karate artist, and rummages through a whole assortment of instruments: didjeridoo, saw, whistle, piano, trombone, etc. He even employs an early drum machine on the title track, laying down a simple beat, over which he unleashes a noisy, over-blown clarinet solo; oddly, he continues this section for a good four minutes, whereas few of the other instruments can hold his attention for much more than a minute or two. Still, there is plenty of percussion to be heard here, ranging from the extended wall of sound, snare drum roll of "Bumble Rumble" to a lot of rumbles, ticks, and clattering noises elsewhere that aren't always easy to identify. He goes at everything with the enthusiasm of a four-year-old at play, and this tendency does lead to some dead ends here and there. The positive trade off is that there is real air of suspense -- that anything could happen -- not to mention a feeling of welcome sense of humor and a general lack of pretentiousness. A Bennink solo recording is almost by definition going to be a little erratic, and in this case that goes for the sound quality, too -- after all, he's constantly moving around the stage. Still, this album does a really good job of capturing Bennink's personality and documenting his unique approach to improvisation, and it holds up surprisingly well over repeated listens.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
4:21 SpotifyAmazon
26:07 SpotifyAmazon
16:36 SpotifyAmazon
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