Jim Meneses

Next Bug

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AllMusic Review by

Percussion duets are not everyone's cup of tea, granted, but Next Bug is slightly different than other recordings you could think of. In the left corner, meet Toshi Makihara, a pyrotechnical drummer from Japan gifted with a featherweight touch and lightning speed. In the right corner, we present Jim Meneses, an American drummer, well known in avant rock circles for his work with the Stick Men, Zero Pop, Palinckx, and many other outfits. Here he performs on the MIDI marimba. This is an encounter between acoustic and electronic percussion, between the immediacy of improvisation and the care and preparation that went into the sample banks triggered by the mallets. That's why this album has a much more diverse sound palette and a quirkiness that set it aside. At times, like in "Preoccupied Equestrian," the music sounds like Frank Zappa's last Synclavier works (Civilization Phaze III): dense, complex, punchy to the extreme. At other times it gets more subtle ("Deep Dinner," "Patter"), showing a strong synergy passing between the two men. Some of Meneses' samples can be striking, be they voice samples, backward sounds, long quotes from orchestral recordings ("Left Donor"), or even -- behold -- drums. Yet in the end the album cannot shake off a certain coldness. Still interesting, especially for fans of odd percussion.

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