Leveraging the rhythms of his Native American ancestry through deep tom drums, along with percussion focusing around clarion bells, Richmond, VA drummer/percussionist Scott Clark (Scott Clark 4tet, SCUO) brings his listener on a darkly diverse journey through six superb solo drum improvisations, laid out with resolute patience in an epic rhythmic journey.
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Label: Out Of Your Head Records
Catalog ID: OOYH 007
Squidco Product Code: 31223
Recorded live at Minimum Wage Recording, in Richmond Virginia, on May 13th, 2019, by Lance Koehler
Scott Clark-drums, percussion, harmonica
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• Show Bio for Scott Clark
"Drummer and composer, Scott Clark keeps time in the balance. His performances behind the kit are generous and empathetic, establishing his voice immediately upon striking the surface. It is rare to find art that is both formally rigorous and aesthetically vital, but Clark thrives in this project, engineering frameworks for lucid, active songs, drawing on the performances of his collaborators and the weight of his subject matter. A series of jazz suites have emerged from the study of his own Native ancestry, beginning with Bury My Heart (2016) written in response to Dee Brown's book of the same title, and continuing with ToNow (2018) written as a contribution to the Standing Rock protests and the unlawful construction of an oil pipeline across Native land. By centering jazz in this historic and ongoing injustice, Clark pulls together a deeply American artform and a deeply American tragedy, yet his project never feels weighed down by its sense of purpose. Protest music that is lucid and nourishing, a rhythmic shape of restless assurance."-Scott Clark Website (https://scottwclark.com/about/)
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1. Quiet Friend 15:44
2. Who 07:52
3. Has Come So Far 03:06
1. Let This Darkness 04:32
2. Be A Bell Tower 11:17
3. And You The Bell 06:57
sample the album:
"You may already be familiar with Scott's drumming and composition through his ScottClark4tet albums Bury My Heart and ToNow (both on Clean Feed), but many of you also know him due to his regular involvement with Out Of Your Head Records. Scott and I have curated the label together since I relocated to Richmond VA from Brooklyn in 2019, and in a short time he has become a close friend and musical collaborator as well as someone who consistently inspires me as an improviser, composer, and bandleader. While already a legend in jazz and creative music circles in Richmond, This Darkness is a record that should make room for Scott Clark in conversations about the many internationally-reknowned and forward-thinking drummer/composers active today."-Out of Your Head Records
"This Darkness (OOYH 007) is the debut solo drum set recording by Richmond-based musician Scott Clark. To call it a solo drum set album is misleading (though it is a solo drum set album), as it defies preconceived ideas as to what one might expect the format to sound like. That the album opens with 7-minutes of a harmonica drone before you hear a single note of drums is only one such example. This recording will take you out of our world for 45-minutes if you allow it to do so. There is space. There is a sense of calm, and there is incredible patience. It shows Clark to be a musician of emotional integrity, and a creative force in the jazz and improvised music world that will continue to demand attention for many years to come. In group performances (most often heard with his own band the ScottClark4tet) he brings raw energy, and an explosive free-jazz attitude that can light a fire under any ensemble should he choose to explore that path in the moment. He also plays with incredible restraint, and possesses a gravitational pull that brings collaborators into his own world of space and often subdued sonic exploration. This Darkness is more of the latter approach, exploring sound, space, and at times quiet ideas at length, but is a fully realized artistic statement from a musician who continues to develop a singular voice in creative music.
The album is inspired by the poem Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower, written by the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke. A few weeks before recording This Darkness a friend gave Clark a copy of the poem written on a small piece of paper, and he would read it a few times a day leading up to the session. As he set up in the studio in May 2019, he placed the small piece of paper on a music stand and decided in that moment the recording session would begin with the poem in mind. Approaching a poem as a score is something that Clark had explored in the past, but was not necessarily his intention as he planned his first solo recording. On his previous records, Bury My Heart and ToNow (both released on Clean Feed Records), he followed a similar process in that the compositions were written to convey moments in Native history expressed through music. To apply a similar process to this poem, though slightly more abstracted and improvised in nature, feels like a natural progression in his development as a composer. The album as it is presented here was performed in a single take, recorded in the same order heard on This Darkness. After a short break Clark returned to the studio to document some other ideas he had planned for the day-long session, but it was clear to both he and the engineer that the record was already complete. What we hear on This Darkness is indeed a complete album no matter where the inspiration lies, and one that does not feel the need to indulge any preconceived notions as to what a solo drum album should be.
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