Crank It

A friend once told me that all of the noise dudes in Chicago were nothing but a bunch of posturing dorks, but that Kevin Drumm has probably actually killed people. I don’t imagine that’s true, and although he is an untamed looking mother fucker I imagine he’s a swell guy. He was behind me in the beer line once and did not purchase flagons of whiskey as you might expect, but the smallest bottle of Smirnoff the store had to offer. That said, his music is basically the most evil sound that was ever made, and occasionally that is something I can get behind. I generally worry about my hearing and have already done enough damage during ages 18 to 21, but Drumm’s Sheer Hellish Miasma is still one of the most impressive documents of electronic music to these ears bar none. I used to blast it at 4am when I was working overnight in the sound studios in college just to feel how loud it was. Maybe the worst thing you could ever listen to on headphones, but through the speakers it’s almost paralyzing.

Now why I’m bringing him up; the guy has two new releases: a box set and a reissue of his first album (see above) from 1997, which is one of the best solo guitar records ever (probably my favorite at least). Drumm is an extremely influential player in regards to experimental music in Chicago, who organized the Myopic Books improv nights during the mid 90s which still happen today. I can say the same for very few people in this city and in fact most players his age are miserable burn outs or stale academics, nether of whom I recommend talking to. Kevin’s not exactly on the same page as he once was, but he certainly deserves the MacArthur grant more than some assholes.

This entry was posted in Chicago, Eai, Improvised, noise. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Crank It

  1. nguzunguzu says:


  2. davequam says:

    Yeah that one is my 2nd favorite! The first track sounds like a jet engine. There was an interview that came out in Stylus right after that album came out where he said he was making something that made Land Of Lurches sound like a muted duck fart…I wanna know what happened to that.

  3. Isaac Linder says:

    ouch! i want to hear the background about why Vandermark is such an asshole. I mean, he’s always kind of come off to me as more of a football player than anything else, but seeing him a long time ago with the Brotzmann tentet and the Vandermark 5 were pretty revelatory experiences.
    kevin’s not on the same page for sure, but Imperial Horizon was some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard

  4. davequam says:

    OK well, maybe Vandermark is a nice guy…but his music is pretty goddamn boring to me. All of it, but then again I have no interest in free jazz after the early 80s or so (tho a couple AEoC records throughout the 80s were good). I do dig a handful of the Euro improv stuff that happened later in the 70s-90s a lot more than anyone that continued to play jazz. I can understand the appeal of Brotzmann and he’s definitely a talented dude, but I honestly just don’t care too much (though I’d be down to see him do it live). For Vandermark I just think he’s an asshole because his music is so boring, yet he got a MacArthur grant. Obviously just my personal preference though. I’m way more into electro-acoustic improv stuff and play it too.

    To tell you a funny story, Brotzmann LOVES Chicago (obviously), and I guess he loves to just walk super long distances without riding the bus. I guess one time he bought brand new cowboy boots from this cowboy shop on Chicago Ave and walked all the way to Rodgers Park, which is like 10 miles! Talk about wearing in your new shoes.

  5. paul j. says:

    i think we once talked about how most noise music is pretty boring, but kevin drumm is definitely an exception. i first saw that dude play at some black dice & wolf eyes show in 2002, and his set was so sick. black dice had just released beaches & canyons so they were playing stuff that sounded kind of like that, and wolf eyes were fun, but drumm definitely stole the show… and he opened.

  6. davequam says:

    Well I do think there are a bunch of great noise records and artist out there, but I don’t really listen to it anymore. Since I listen to experimental music pretty sparsely compared to high school and early college, I’m actually more impressed when I take the time to absorb a good one than I think I did before. Stuff still blows me away, though I really don’t keep up very well anymore.

    I am totally jealous you got to see Drumm on that tour, that would have been the time to see him no doubt. I have seen him a few times and it was usually in pretty bad settings. He played with that Swedish poet Lief whats his name at Lampo about 4 years ago and while the poetry was kind of retarded, Drumm’s sound were pretty great.

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