Michael Zerang

Scratch Match

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AllMusic Review by

Drummers' records often appeal only to drummers. There is something in the sound palette that seems uninteresting to ears not understanding how a drum can resonate. Scratch Match is even more abstract, but paradoxically may work better with non-drummers. American Michael Zerang (of the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet) and Swedish Raymond Strid recorded Scratch Match on March 31, 1998, at the Fylkingen studio in Stockholm. The two had first met in 1996 through saxophonist Mats Gustaffson and since performed as a duo in both Chicago and Stockholm.

On Scratch Match, both players focus almost exclusively on unorthodox percussion instruments and techniques, avoiding at all cost the drum kit. Once in a while a more common sound emerges (a cymbal roll, a high-hat snapped shut, a drum being hit), but the music here is mostly made from metal being scratched and bowed, metal hitting metal, fingers sliding on a drum head, etc. The track "Scratch Match"'s description is actually contained in its title: two players scratching objects with other objects. The stereo panning (Zerang to the left, Strid to the right) allows the listener to isolate each player's contribution and hear how they react to each other. More dynamic than a drummer's record, Scratch Match displays good interaction, but it remains harsh to the untrained ear. Sound quality is fantastic.

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