Tag Archives: Dave Douglas

The Best Jazz on Bandcamp: April 2018

Jazz

The month of April ended with International Jazz Day. Honestly, I’m not really sure what that’s supposed to mean, but I’m here for any reason to celebrate jazz, so why not? April’s Best Jazz on Bandcamp column speaks to the fact that jazz is an international language. This month’s edition highlights music from all over the world: Krakow, Baltimore, Paris, London, Venezuela, New York City, and many places in between. Collaborations like the ones ahead, between people from different places and different backgrounds, coming together to create music that makes our lives better, can help us get through days like these.

View the Best Jazz on Bandcamp archives

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The Best Jazz on Bandcamp: October 2017

Best Jazz

The race to the end of the year begins in October. With just a handful of weeks remaining on the calendar, the number of new arrivals—particularly in jazz—spikes, and suddenly there’s more great music available than we have room to spotlight. Ten is the magin number in these monthly Best Of columns, but Bandcamp Daily could have tripled that number, and it still wouldn’t have been enough space to mention to all of the excellent new music hitting the shelves this month.

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Album of the Day: Ian Chang, “Spiritual Leader”

Even if you don’t recognize Ian Chang’s name, you’ve likely heard him drumming somewhere before. The Brooklyn-based, Hong Kong-born percussionist is best known for recording and touring with outfits like Son Lux and Landlady, but he’s also worked with a wide array of other musicians—Matthew Dear, Moses Sumney, and Dave Douglas, to name a few. After drumming professionally in the U.S. for more than a decade, Chang’s various musical experiences have led to the release of his own album, Spiritual Leader, an adventurous, genre-bending EP that explores the physicality of electronic music, and the relationship between the human and the machine.

Chang’s methodology is what sets him apart from many other contemporary solo drummers and electronic musicians. All the tracks on Spiritual Leader were performed and composed using Sensory Percussion, a mesh (silent) drum kit. One of its key properties is its ability to “host” two separate samples in a single pad (on its opposing ends, for instance); over time, the sounds can mould into each other as the drummer’s repositions hit. This is a key compositional feature of this particular kit and Chang makes good use of it. “ASMR” is a perfect example, its various textural and melodic samples merge to create an atmospheric, almost ambient piece.

Elsewhere on the EP, Chang manages to showcase his impressive percussive skill set, fusing dynamic off-kilter beats with ambient soundscapes and elements of sound design to great effect. On “Romeo” and “Spiritual Leader” especially, mesmeric webs of rhythm, vocal, and synth samples launch into deep sonic peaks.

Over the course of his debut EP, Chang freely moves between genres and Spiritual Leader never settles down. While traces of IDM, free jazz, and ambient are explored, none of those terms really encapsulate what Chang has created. It’s challenging, resonant, and familiar.

Adam Badi Donoval