Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sharks & Sailors (1997) – June of 44

(Part Four of the Mine Ears Have Heard The Glory of the Banging of the Drum tetralogy)

Guitars grate, scratch, plink, hum and buzz in the waters of “Sharks & Sailors,” while a bottom-dwelling bass trolls its depths. Ex-Rodan guitarist/vocalist Jeff Mueller snarls a chantey of bemusement, but his vocals serve as punctuation to the true featured player—drummer Doug Scharin. Spurred by stretches of unconventional time signatures, Scharin lobs tom-rolls that tumble a shade earlier and a trace longer than expected. During the quieter passages, he casts a net of highly-controlled double stroke, accent and roll combinations, culminating in tom and snare hits on unforeseen offbeats. To further catch the listener unawares, the toms are tuned and mic’d in such a way that renders them devoid of resonance, like taut sails being struck. The drum monsoon that arrives 9 minutes and 7 seconds into the song is stunning. Via his atypical tom and snare strikes meshed with one-handed rolls, Scharin adds his name to the pantheon of drumming with an innovative, yet musical, non-solo performance.

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