Drum Nation, volume I – various artists
Magna Carta Records 9065-2
The mission itself was a simple one — to have some of the world's greatest
drummers record their own tracks, and put them together on a compilation.
The idea was conceived by Pete Morticelli of Magna Carta Records, and he
teamed up with Modern Drummer Magazine. Together, they rounded up
some of the greatest percussion talent around. Despite the simplicity of the
mission, the result is a complex masterpiece.
In the album's liner notes, Morticelli notes drummers' respect for each
other, "Ask a guitar player about another guitar player and you get this
pause. Ask a drummer about another drummer and he'll respond, 'Oh, that
guy's great.' I thought it was time to bring some of these great players
together in one place and document it."
So many genres are showcased on Drum Nation, from the electronica
vibe on Terry Bozzio's "A Glimpse Into A Deeply Disturbed Mind," to the
jazzy "Beelzebub" of Bill Bruford's Earthworks. Rock and roll takes center
stage on Josh Freese's "Lagerborg." Guitar riffs are ever present, and the
drums pack full punch. The next track, Rod Morgenstein's "Faceless Pastiche"
is reminiscent of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells." Tim Alexander and Brain
pay homage to Frank Zappa with "Shut Up and Play Yer Drums." Each artist
brought his own unique style, and one doesn't need to be a jazz fan, or a
fan of Indian music to pick and choose his favorite tracks. To get the most
out of Drum Nation, one simply needs to be a fan of music, a person
with respect for the creative genius that goes into writing not just a song,
but a beat.
The compilation itself is almost entirely lyricless, save for Bozzio's
computer-like voice on his track. Percussion is the main course, and it
doesn't overshadow the rest of the instruments that accompany it. At the
same time, those accompaniments are just that — an extra ingredient on the
side, if you will. Morticelli and Modern Drummer definitely knew what
they were doing with they plucked this group of talent from the percussion
Drum Nation is percussion at its finest, and the title implies that
there may be a second, hopefully a third or forth follow up. John Bonham
isn't around to make an appearance on it, but those at Modern Drummer
can surely create a lineup that delivers to us what the first lineup did —
pure, perfect percussion.