Wednesday, March 8, 2000

Drum fire

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Persona / Uptight
  • Persona / Uptight

Hindsight is 20/20. An old cliché, to be sure, but it’s never seemed so ridiculously brilliant as when applied to Persona, aka Eric Cook. The question at hand is, how did one man – one drummer, specifically – go from an improvisational noise trio (Gravitar) and a straight, fast and lowdown rock duo (Bantam Rooster) to an electronic mastery that would make Richard D. James envious?

The answer lies in the rhythm. As a drummer (and a damned fine one at that), Cook has an extraordinary sense of beats vs. space. But just as elusive as Gravitar and as hard-hitting as Bantam Rooster, and the conundrum that lies in between, these are not your straightforward breakfast beats, and no homage is paid to Detroit’s electronic founding fathers. Instead, wild excursions into late-night manic madness are spelled out, somehow always returning to the fact that a song’s hook is usually based in a rhythmic structure, no matter how far-out the remaining qualities become.

Literally, this debut full-length is the work of a man who’s apparently obsessed with production tricks while pushing the limits of sound – much like a ‘50s stereophonic sound engineer convention attendee, but with modern equipment. With that kind of sense of adventure, Robert Moog would be proud, and techno purveyors should be scrambling to take note. Although this is very much an "electronic" piece of work, genre becomes secondary upon grasping the true message behind Uptight. It’s not about the rhythm but about how close it’s driven to the edge.

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