Technology – Technology - 3.5/5
This is not the first time I’ve praised the style of Chris Tsagakis, drummer for both ‘Rx Bandits’ and ‘Sounds of Animal’s Fighting,’ and I doubt it will be the last, but before it always felt like a mere snippet into the unusual character he has developed throughout his music. My long overdue foray into his eclectic solo work has divulged so much more about him that I feel as though – for better or for worse – I understand him better, and that’s an odd thing to say of any musician. Performing an odd combination of electronic backing effects and simple keyboard lines, combined with the main feature of the piece – his own drumming abilities – this on one hand feels experimental, but it never feels forcibly so.
One of the critical elements that has come to my attention now that I’ve heard him perform solo is where my initial intrigue came from; with regards to technical proficiency he doesn’t rank as one of the best, rather its his attitude towards the music that feels out of place. Drummers before him have taken influences from the styles of drumming found in jazz but few can claim to have taken the attitude towards the instrument as their own; fluidly progressing many of his beats, finding new creative ways to perform his instrument without care for the repetitive aggression or simplistic structures that so often plague drummers; his often heavy handed approach creating an unrelenting stream of beats that whilst show him as perhaps not the quickest drummer in town, certainly one of the quirkiest.
Much like his drumming style, this album is a bold and unusual testament to creative freedom which sadly leaves it a very niche target audience. Popularity never feels like the intention behind this though; it’s a side project that sounds as though he intended to write, perform and record what he wanted to uninhibited by convention and the result speaks for itself. It’s no coincidence that when he truly gives himself the time to explore an idea that we find our album highlights, progressively exploring an idea until the end. Love it, like it, or hate it, you’re certainly unlikely to find much else like it.
Highlights: Holiday in Galapagos, Phantoms, The Running
Note: I couldn't find a copy of the front cover which looks like he drew a few speakers and a tree on a piece of card with some crayons, complete with smudges and slip ups, and despite the 'cheap' look it feels remarkably personal. Anyway, I couldn't find a picture of it so have a live recording instead.
This release can be bought directly from the artists myspace, found here