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Booker Stardrum - Temporary etc.

Booker Stardrum - Temporary etc.

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We are excited to announce the return of LA-based percussionist and composer Booker Stardrum to NNA Tapes, in the form of the brand new full-length album ‘Temporary etc.’ Booker has ceaselessly dedicated himself to the art of percussion across multiple platforms, having recorded and performed with rock-based groups like Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Landlady, Lee Ranaldo, and Weyes Blood, in addition to more experimental and free improvisation collaborations with Nels Cline, Arian Shafiee, VaVatican, and more. This diversity in experience has given Booker’s solo music a unique voice, employing a wide range of techniques and ideas into his compositions, yielding a highly personal amalgamation of electro-acoustics, minimalism, ambient, jazz, and contemporary experimental electronic music. ‘Temporary etc.’ exhibits a distinct refinement and maturity, combining percussive methods and melodic figures into a dense, multi-faceted whole through the use of electronic manipulation and studio ingenuity.

Engineered, produced, and mixed with Deerhoof’s John Dieterich, ‘Temporary etc.’ creates an ambitious electro-acoustic world where both melodic and percussive gestures are fused to create profound results. Instead of the primarily linear nature of popular music, Booker’s work aims to exist in multiple spaces and dimensions simultaneously, creating a dynamic energy that feels full of life and finds it’s own unique static space, in the vein of Jon Hassell’s Fourth World philosophies or Eno’s Ambient modes. This non-linear musicality gives the pieces a fluid, amorphous quality, which allows the separate tracks to flow together into a singular whole. “A Passage or Time in a Hanging Truth” deals specifically with the relationship between vast, suspended harmonic clusters of varying pitch and tone, segueing seamlessly into “Wisp,” which uses musique concrete-like editing and production to create a highly active, dynamic composition. Transitions like these display the creative freedom and diversity of musical ideas that Booker chooses to employ within a full-length album context.

Upon deeper listening, a linguistic quality to Booker’s playing emerges, almost as if ideas are being communicated through the various textural and rhythmic qualities of the percussive objects themselves. By tapping into and harnessing the universal intuitive rhythms that exist all around us, Booker is able to convey non-verbal, but distinctly human, thoughts and emotions that can be felt physically as well as heard sonically. “Drim Dram II” and “Drim Dram III” most explicitly demonstrate Stardrum’s strength on the drum kit, with frenetic, yet groove-centric, phrases being discharged like expressionist paint hitting a canvas. These tracks also act as sequels to the original piece from Booker’s 2015 NNA debut ‘Dance And,’ showcasing a continuity and progression from his previous work.

Stardrum self-describes his music as “pan-tonal” and “pan-rhythmic,” meaning that it is composed and executed with an intentional flexibility that gives space for human intuition to influence the musical outcome. Therefore, the relationships between pitches and chords, and tempos and rhythms, are left up to a feeling or cosmic guidance, rather than a strict methodology. These personal concepts can be heard and felt throughout the album, which exhibits a distinct humanity throughout it’s nine tracks. Recorded not only in the studio, but also at home, while traveling, and across different mediums such as portable recorders and phones, these recordings are manipulated and processed digitally in a sculptural, collage-like manner. This multi-fidelity approach to the recording and mixing process gives ‘Temporary etc.’ a unique textural tone and essence; one that builds its own contained universe with seemingly infinite depth and vastness.

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