Wilco drummer Kotche employs a wide range of percussive instruments—vibraphone, kalimba, mbira, drum kit, and more—on this solo set, which includes variation on Steve Reich’s Clapping Music. MOJO calls it “ambitious, accessible, and beautifully played.”
Percussionist Glenn Kotche’s solo label debut, Mobile comprises eight new compositions, with inspirations ranging from mobile sculpture, composer (and label-mate) Steve Reich, the Ramayana, Wilco drumbeats, the Nonesuch Explorer series, and percussionists Tony Allen and Ed Blackwell. The album features a wide range of instruments, including vibraphone, kalimba, mbira, and drum kit.
“In the right lighting, I’m usually struck as much by the shadows that a mobile creates as by the sculpture itself. I’m also fascinated by the kinetic nature that affects relationships between the same basic parts to make something perpetually new,” said Kotche. “Throughout the record I investigate the idea of negative or opposite rhythm by utilizing the intrinsic spaces—or rests—of rhythms. Many of these songs were shaped from a few simple ingredients and then used in varying forms and different contexts, each time creating something new, yet homogeneous.”
The Massachusetts Daily Collegian said of Monkey Chant, a solo drum kit composition featured on Mobile, “The piece sounded as if Kotche ran into the jungle with a tape recorder and simply played it back to the audience. Everything was perfectly mimicked—from looped sounds of crickets to the roars of gorillas produced by Kotche pulling various pieces of metal with string and the tribal drum rhythms produced by Kotche’s thundering on the toms.”
“Glenn’s writing for percussion instruments is beautiful, original, and unexpected—unexpected, that is, unless you have heard his work with Wilco or Loose Fur, or during his solo performances,” said Nonesuch Senior Vice President David Bither. “Mobile brings together his rock experience, his classical training, his love of traditional music from around the world, and his knowledge of contemporary composition. It draws on the past and looks forward simultaneously, with brilliant results.”
A graduate of the University of Kentucky’s highly regarded percussion program, Kotche’s various stints with groups and ensembles have resulted in participation on more than 70 recordings to date. In 2001, he joined the rock band Wilco. Since Kotche joined as drummer/percussionist, Wilco’s accomplishments include the gold-selling album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the Grammy-winning A ghost is born, and the recently released double-disc live album, Kicking Television.
Beyond Wilco, Kotche is one-third of experimental rock trio, Loose Fur, along with Jeff Tweedy and post-classical composer/producer Jim O’Rourke; that group’s self-titled album was released in 2003, with a new record slated for 2006. Kotche also is half of the jazz experimental duo On Fillmore with bassist Darin Gray. Their latest recording, Sleeps with Fishes, landed them at the prestigious 2005 Percussion Pan Festival in Brazil. Kotche has released two previous solo works, Introducing and Next.
Recorded at the Loft, Chicago, by Mikael Jorgensen
Track 5 recorded at Soma E.M.S., Chicago, by Tim Iseler
Additional recording for tracks 1 and 2 at Semaphore, Chicago, by Jeremy Lemos
Initial recording for parts of track 7 by Matt Zivich
Mixed by Mikael Jorngensen and Glenn Kotche
Mastered by Dan Stout at Colossal Mastering, Chicago
All music written and performed on percussion by Glenn Kotche (Pear Blossom Music, BMI; administered by Bug Music) except Clapping Music Variations, written by Kotche / Steve Reich (Pear Blossom Music, BMI/Universal Editions), performed by Kotche.
Graphic design: Lawrence Azerrad for LADDesign
Photography: Michael Wilson
Glenn Kotche, percussion