It’s nothing new, and the past won’t let us lie, but it is nonetheless half evident that in recent years we have experienced in western parts a kind of exponential awakening to the possibilities of percussion – be it acoustic or processed, beat or texture, anything goes – in solo register, where voice and function are assumed to be self-sufficient and not at all laconic, to evoke realities beyond the show off soloist of Moby Dick – to silence the aficionados of High Fidelity. Multicultural heritages that don’t belong to us but respectfully intermingle – we hope – in the matter of artists of vision and bravery. Close by and only recently we have had remarkable works by drummers like João Pais Filipe, Gustavo Costa or Gabriel Ferrandini who have taken this instrument as a fundamental means for explorations of sensorial and physical elevation. They remain as an example of a small but already diverse part of a cosmos where Will Guthrie gravitates.
Mr. Guthrie already has a long history behind him, with records on labels as illustrious as eMego – DEP Peter Rehberg -, Black Truffle, Ipecac or Clean Feed and collaborations with people like Oren Ambarchi, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Mark Fell or David Maranha. Something that in itself reveals a wide range of action, able to embrace with rigor and spirit several languages that hover over the abyss at the end of rock, liberating jazz, electro-acoustics and transitional spaces. An Australian living in Nantes, Guthrie is as tireless as he is meticulous in a plural language that makes use of drums, all families of percussion, amplification and electronic processing and applies them on several fronts: polyrhythmics, extended techniques, drone, sampling, fiery improvisation, martial beats. Always with vitality and ingenuity, without superfluous plots or brute force conceptualizations. In continuity with a glazed obsession with the metal percussion of records like Sacreé Obsession, Nist Nah released in 2020, starts from a fascination and on-site study around Indonesian gamelan in various cartographies, to thence arrive at hypnosis music that amalgamates all these past experiences into uplifting pieces with rhythmic pulse, timbric totality and lyricism. Already last year, the second part of ‘People Pleaser’ continues to operate in a field of vivid composition, in short themes where sampling, field recordings and (of course) beats owe as much to J Dilla or Madlib as to the hallucinatory collages of People Like Us or Thomas Rechion. In between, collaborative records with Jean-Luc Guionnet and James Rushford, and everything making sense in the midst of this whirlwind of activity in countercurrent with these days. Percussion supreme. BS