Percussion lovers, rejoice! Out of the deep haze of a Wednesday afternoon, Durham composer, improviser, and erstwhile Megafaun drummer Joe Westerlund announced new album Reveries in the Rift. The album was released today on local label Psychic Hotline.
Westerlund is most recently the drummer for Mandolin Orange and has worked with Alexandra Sauser-Monnig on her Daughter of Swords project; he has also released an album under the pseudonym Grandma Sparrow, an album for yoga practices, and Mojave Interlude, his debut album under his own name, in 2016.
To make Reveries in the Rift, Westerlund—a devotee of Milford Graves—recruited a small host of collaborators, including multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas (Mountain Goats), improviser Jennifer Curtis, and trombonist Evan Ringel.
At eight tracks, the recording is disciplined and tidy, though each track also manages to feel improvisational—a glittering mosaic of gentle gongs, drones, and textured percussion. At nearly nine minutes, opening track “Ituri Air” is a loping, pacific cosmos unto itself. In listening, the time and space continuum seems to break down, just a liiiiitle bit—a perfect listen for a weird Leap Year weekend.
This is music for deep breaths and meditation, sure, but it also doesn’t need to be confined to a private moment. Perhaps the gift of ambient music like this is that it doesn’t entirely jerk you away from your life; it just makes you pat the ground around you a little harder as you remember where you are.
Westerlund will enact an installation and “reimagining” of the album at Sahja Space on April 11, according to his Instagram.
Contact deputy arts and culture editor Sarah Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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