Clang Quartet is not a quartet, but it (or he) is clangy indeed. The project is the creation of Scotty Irving, former drummer for Geezer Lake and current drummer for Elvis X, two alternative prog-metal groups from Greensboro. For a couple of years now, Irving has also been performing as the Clang Quartet, an act in which he steps from behind the drum kit and basically uses a bunch of found items as percussion. He is also a born-again Christian, and Clang Quartet, rather than being a band, is a performance piece based on the life of Christ. Irving’s local performances have become semilegendary because he becomes so crazed and so spontaneous–yelling, jumping up and down, beating on various objects with all the force he can muster–that you can’t help but become uneasy while watching him. He seems on the verge of completely losing his mind. Plus, many of the concepts behind the piece are fairly lofty–even for people with a strong Christian background. I saw him perform the piece twice and didn’t realize it was a Christian allegory until he told me.
As you’d expect, listening to Clang Quartet on CD isn’t nearly as riveting as watching him perform it live. However, rather than just record the piece as it was, Irving wisely opted to explore the limits of recording, and in the process created a piece that’s significantly different from its live counterpart. Irving experiments with tape loops, effects, found sounds, nature recordings, guitar, organ and, of course, percussion. It’s still difficult to listen to these songs and derive their Christian meanings. But, with the CD at least, you can read the titles of each song (many have Bible verses for titles) and at least have a clue to go on.