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Boomkat Product Review:
After appearing on more than 30 cds in his career, this album is expert percussionist Thomas Strønen's first solo album.
As a member of Strønen and Storløkken (who dropped the fantastic Humcrush album in 2004) and a member of Food (with Arve Henriksen) he has a great deal of promise to live up to and this record does not disappoint in any way. Sidestepping the obvious, Strønen decided not to use a drum kit on the record at all - quite an unusual decision for a drummer, instead he has used Gamelan instruments to create (as the label describes it) 'a percussion record completely without drums'. I knew all this before I heard the record, and my preconceptions were of a beautiful slice of world music, played impeccably..... but how wrong I was.
'Pohlitz' is almost like Phoenecia's Brownout album played in real-time, more closely aligned with the minimal works of Steve Reich or Swedish early-electronics guru Arne Nordheim than a traditional Gamelan orchestra. This has gamelan instruments used in a way totally unfamiliar to my ears, being hit with millisecond precision and recorded beautifully to capture all the odd resonances and deep bass tones of the pots, bells and barrels. This is not an easy album to get into, there are no 'big tracks' or explosions of style, yet every moment captures a beautiful original landscape and is guaranteed to sound unlike anything you have every heard previously. This is the beginning of what is going to be a stunning year for Rune Grammofon, and Pohlitz is only the first of their essential releases.