Evelyn Glennie as a quartet!
Perfect for this time of year, Sandbox Percussion released their album ‘And That One Too’ back in March this year. The album contains two very distinct suites of music that are separated with some individual tracks. The album is a love letter to all kinds of percussion, tuned or otherwise. The idea is to showcase percussion in new lights and it succeeds with aplomb.
The first main suite of music is banded as ‘Music For Percussion Quartet’ and features tuned bells, glasses and a drum set. Each track evokes its own style so it opens with ‘Fluctuation’ which sounds like a cascade of bells delicately ringing out like a river of sound. Sandbox Percussion doesn’t want to make big sounds here – this suite is all about finding the busy quietness of percussion. This means fast-paced and intricate melodies of bells and glassworks that mesh together beautifully. ‘Sky’ turns that on its head with a slow meandering singing bowl style piece whilst ‘Oscillation’ flips between the two.
After the heavenly beauty of the opening suite, the second suite arrives. This near thirty-minute set is called ‘Not only that one but that one & that too’. The concept is split into three sections. The first section takes one hit percussion instruments and attempts to make a soundscape from them. This evokes a savannah-like shaker and cricket piece that switches up in part two to a full on drumming section. Solo drumming can be quite difficult to form into something that non-percussionists can enjoy and whilst I enjoyed the rhythmic flair of the piece, I feel that until it really gets going, it may feel a bit too artistic early on for many listeners. The closing section is entirely made of pitched percussion such as temple bowls, desk bells and finger bells. The idea here is that each instrument being played takes a bit of the melody and passes fragments on to the next instrument that picks it up and runs with it. The track has more in common with a modular synth piece but instead its tuned percussion. I really enjoyed this section.
Between the two suites are two individual tracks. ‘Haiku 2’ plays with what sounds like pots and pans like the garbage orchestra to create a fun introduction to the album. ‘She is a myth’ is an outlier and composed almost entirely out of voice. It doesn’t fit the flow of the album but has plenty of artistic merit.
If you are lacking the jingle bell spirit or love bells but don’t want the jingles – Sandbox Percussion has you covered. It is one of the most pristine and crystalline albums I’ve listened to for a while – especially the ‘Music for Percussion Quartet’ suite which is absolutely divine to listen to.
Recommended track: Music for Percussion Quartet: Fluctuation
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