Drums and Drones is the solo project of Brian Chase. Inspired by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela’s Dream House installation in NYC, Drums & Drones takes as its task the investigation of the subtle acoustic properties of drums and percussion. From here, expansive soundscapes are constructed, like aural snapshots of tone, uncovering the richness of sonic depth hidden within the resonance of these instruments. In developing each composition, Brian uses the pitch structure of the overtone series, a method known as Just Intonation, a.k.a. “nature’s tuning system.” The mood of D & D is often meditative, even in moments of high activity.
The debut Drums & Drones album was released in February of 2013 on Al Margolis’s Pogus Productions label and features videos for each track by NYC video artists Ursula Scherrer and Erik Zajaceskowski. The second album was recorded in 2015 at the Headlands Center for the Arts outside of San Francisco, CA as an artist-in-residence. The third album was recorded in 2017 at Brian’s home in Brooklyn, NY. For this 2018 release on Chaikin Records, all three albums are included together and come packaged as part of a 5”x7" 144 page book. Content for the book consists primarily of extensive liner notes for each of the three albums which chronicle the story and process of Drums and Drones both on a technical and intimately personal level. Also included in the book are an essay on Just Intonation, a series of video still from the first albums accompanying DVD, and many archival photos from live shows and recordings.
Brian Chase - Drums and Drones
Presentations of Drums & Drones include those at New Ear Festival (Fridman Gallery, NYC), X Avant Festival (Toronto), REDCAT (Los Angeles), Secret Project Robot (NYC), Studio 10 (NYC), Loop Festival (Barcelona), Phill Niblock's Experimental Intermedia (NYC), David Linton's DistENDed Cinema (NYC), The Broad Art Museum (Michigan), MCA Sydney, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Abrons Arts Center, (NYC) and Joseph Gross Gallery (formerly Art Now NYC).
Brian Chase is a Brooklyn based drummer and composer. His diverse range of work/play includes that with rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the community of the New York experimental scene, and Drums and Drones - an electro-acoustic project focusing on approaches to meditative listening. Away from the drums, Brian is a regular practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga.
Reviews for the debut Drums and Drones album/DVD on
"This stuff will put your brain into another space, and frankly, recordings that can reliably do that don't come down the pike every day." - Bruce Russell, The Wire
"All the videos share an oneiric feeling, visually relating to something in between abstraction and reality. What emerges then is the contemplative characteristics of the sounds, reinforced by their respective animations, creating a perfect symbiosis and reflecting the compositional qualities connected with visual and emotional consequences." - Neural.it
"Brian Chase has created something unexpected, no matter how it affects you. That is far from easy in these times." - Grego Applegate Edwards, classicalmodernmusic.blogspot.com
Drums and Drones at REDCAT (Los Angeles, CA), live video projection by Ursula Scherer
Drums and Drones at Studio 10 (Brooklyn, NY), live video projection by Ursula Scherer
Drums and Drones in concert - a performative installation:
Drums & Drones is a live sound and light performance featuring drummer Brian Chase and video artist Ursula Scherrer.
Drums & Drones, an approach to listening/viewing as an experiential process, began as Brian's solo venture and has since expanded to include the video projection of Ursula as a key component of the experience. The project takes its initial inspiration from La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela's Dream House, a legendary on-going sound and light installation in TriBeCa, NYC. With this, the notion came to investigate the subtle acoustic properties of drums and percussion as a medium for 'going inside the sound:’ expansive soundscapes are constructed, like aural snapshots of tone, uncovering the richness of sonic depth hidden within the resonance of these instruments. Similarly, the visual component investigates and reconstructs elements of found forms, whether in filmed objects or light itself. In the live video projections, an architectural abstraction continues to emerge and re-evolve, and layers stack to reveal shifting fields of depth and perception. The music and visuals function to bring on what La Monte has termed a "Drone State of Mind.”