Dave Schoepke 2020
Milwaukeean percussionist tunes into environmental patterns to embroider silence with a barely-there groove to get under one’s hardened skin.
Dave Schoepke is no stranger to noise, laying down melodious racket on-stage with the likes of Martin Barre, which is why, perhaps, in a solo mode he prefers sparse serenity to loudness. But if 2019’s “Drums On Low” – first album under Schoepke’s own name – offered a literal implementation of his formula, its follow-up is taking things further by proposing a more organic experience. This time Dave tuned into the outer world to bring the surrounding sounds inside, so that the sonics from nature, street shuffle and other sources of aural delight and disturbance – refracted strictly through percussion – could find their way to the listener’s psyche.
The results don’t work on a trance-like level, though; what the American artist came up with is much, much subtler. Take, for instance, “Air Above” or “Currents” which, instead of streaming pastoral bliss, invoke electric charge and urban chug that’s not devoid of groovy solemnity set in “Voices Welcome” – and here’s another deceptive title. The voices in question are channeled towards rimshots and stereo-panned dynamics in this piece, unlike in “Nemophilist” where birds chirps, the only overdubs on display, spice up the deeply buried rhythm, while “Hartundi” introduces an unhurried, albeit intense, tribal dance to the flow, before “Loomfixer” increases the beat’s speed when sticks bounce off its faux-phased veneer.
Yet “Beyond The Slanting Surfaces” is as variedly straightforward as it gets, showing Schoepke’s force in physical terms – and in terms of a feel, too, because Dave’s spare delivery produces a nice strain, and also lets “The Churning Void” restore the calm. This is the very essence of “Tessellated Resonance”: the human touch – a contact with environment. That’s something not everyone would want to hear but something that everybody has to learn.