Somnambule - Writing About Music

Strategy ~ Drumsolo’s Delight

The very thought of a drum solo is enough to strike fear into the hearts of most music fans. What horrors, then, await the unwary listener to Drumsolo’s Delight? Contrary to expections, first track Cascadian Nights will calm the anxious soul, treating them to delicious, slow motion swirls made from quicksilver and pitted by microscopic sputters like the sound of tiny insects blowing bubbles. It’s the sonic equivalent of luxuriating in a kingsize bubblebath which never cools from the right temperature. And nary a percussion instrument to be heard. Super Shewolf Inna Jungle, besides bearing a mighty fine title, continues in the same vein while delicately upping the ante slightly. This is surely the sound of a bottle of carefree sighs being uncorked.

After almost ten minutes of such aural bliss the arrival of beats on the title track, no matter how shuffling and soft-focused they are, comes as something of a disappointment. However, as musical layers gradually accrue like eiderdowns settling gently down, they can be forgiven for their intrusion: if there must be beats, these are surely good enough. Final Super Zen deposits its percussion in rockpools where it clatters and echos. Walkingtime’s surprise vocals sound pleasantly amateurish and their admonition not to worry seems rather superfluous given that the foregoing music will have relieved the listener of their anxieties long ago. The vocal delivery is surely inspired by Roy Ayers’ hazy, lazy singing on Everybody Loves The Sunshine.

Probably in a deliberate move to wrongfoot expectations, the final twelve minute track The Jazzy Drumsolo is drenched with the sound of echoing rain. Overhead musical cloudscapes race like a sonic rendition of Koyaanisqatsi. After seven minutes the drums and rain cease, leaving only Strategy’s now trademark swirls. Drumsolo’s Delight is something like Bill Nelson’s Sounding The Ritual Echo sharing a hug with Porter Ricks’s Biokinetics and Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works II. Seven exercises in loveliness in a second under 44 minutes.
Colin Buttimer
June 2004
Published by the BBC