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Album Review

With the album Where (we) Live, a distillation of an evening-length show that So Percussion premiered and toured in the fall 2012, the group continues to push the conventions of what a percussion ensemble sounds like, or even what it is. A collaboration between So Percussion and singer and guitarist Grey McMurray, it is conceived of as an ongoing project in which local artists are invited to contribute to, and therefore significantly alter, the substance of each performance. (Initial ideas have included collaborating with a fabric artist playing a sewing machine or a blacksmith at a forge.) A video artist, choreographer, and writer/director are also involved in the live performances, adding to the spontaneity, unpredictability, and variety of each show. All the music is related in one way or another to the idea of home. Whether recalling bittersweet memories of homes of origin or reflecting on current homes, the intent is clearly one of inclusion, inviting other artists and listeners to come in.

Where (we) Live might more likely be classified as indie-pop than anything even under the very broad umbrella of contemporary classical music. There are only a couple of tracks that a listener coming to the album cold would be likely to identify as the work of a percussion ensemble, and even then, usually for only a small portion of the track. Few of the tracks develop a single idea, but include a fragmented collage of diverse elements combined intriguingly and unpredictably. Electronics are prominent, used in a variety of traditional and creatively unconventional ways, including woozy atmospheric sound collages that can morph into heavy rock-driven grooves. Most tracks include guitars, keyboards, and vocals either sung or spoken, and occasionally the sound of a percussion ensemble is recognizable. Room and Board, which has at its center a long spoken narrative, makes an especially strong impact. After the listener is acclimated to a state of disorientation, the album further subverts expectations by closing with a folk/pop ballad of disarming simplicity and sweetness.

Artists like So Percussion and Grey McMurray are at the cutting edge of new music composition and performance, and Where (we) Live continues their push even further into uncharted territory. The album should be of strong interest to fans of boundary-stretching music.

Customer Reviews

Great as always!

A really fun, interesting listen. So Percussion always manage to beat my expectations by moving in different and unexpected directions.

Definitely Interesting, with a few gems

A very interesting, contemplative album with even more creative and tasteful uses of new and old percussion sounds. "Strangers All Along" is by far my favorite track and has earned a place on my main playlist; it is absolutely fantastic. The album is just about worth the price for that track alone.

SO interesting

Wow. This is an interesting album. I've seen these guys live and the precision and perfection of their playing is as I remember it but here, in service to a new direction, an unexpected one at that. Warm and personal and sometimes downright weird, it's a good stretch and a departure for this band. Not sure I agree with the genre; this isn't a purely classical album---and for me, at least, that's one of its many pleasures.


Formed: 1999 in New Haven, CT

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The innovative, groundbreaking Brooklyn-based quartet So Percussion have redefined the meaning of the term "percussion ensemble." Though established in 1999 to play contemporary classical works, they have worked with a wide range of composers, musicians, and recording artists in other genres as well. In addition to drums and traditional percussion instruments, So Percussion have made their own instruments and play everything from tea cups and walnut planks to flower pots and amplified cactus. The...
Full Bio
Where (We) Live, So Percussion
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Customer Ratings