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CD REVIEW: Drum Dynasty - Drum Dynasty
By
Kendall Cross

 

 

 

 

 

**********

 

Artist: Drum Dynasty
Album: Drum Dynasty
Label: Katavi Arts
Website:
www.drumdynasty.com
Genre: Electronica, World Fusion. World Drumming
Sounds Like: Peter Gabriel, Deep Forest, Crystal Method
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade:10/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Fanga Alafyia, Santeria, Karma, Dajari,
Weakness: Extended play format drags you to the finish line

CD REVIEW:

Seattle drummer Bruce Burgess releases his debut Drum Dynasty solo CD in the Spring of 2009. He is joined by Film Composer Kevin Christensen and local percussionist dynamic duo Arturo Rodriguez and Marco Zonka for an amazing musical exodus. There are 2 albums, or CD's total. The first disk: Mystic Sunrise focuses on Middle Eastern music, while disk 2: Dark Continent focuses more on African rhythms. There is over an hour and a half of music on these 2 CDís.   

DISK 1 - MYSTIC SUNRISE - Total running time (57:21) Track number 1: Mystic Sunrise sets things in motion well. Itís a marquee track, and to me represents what Drum Dynasty is: solid musicianship around every corner, with exotic instrumentation layered from top to bottom. From sitars, to well placed percussive accents, to passionate vocals, and music that runs it's  musical course with sheer perfection. Oh and did I mention amazing work by Burgess & company with pockets of masterful drumming that will literally blow you out of your chair. From the tabla solo on Twenty Drawings, to the tense musical build on Nectar of Rasa, from start to finish Mystic Sunrise delivers. Burgess plays his drums with brilliant liquidity. My favorite song on Mystic Sunrise is by far Karma. It optimizes this catalogue as a whole, and fills the space extremely well for over 6 minutes.  

DISK 2 - DARK CONTINENT - Total running time (39:21) track number 1: Dark Continent morphs you to the exotic Jungles of Africa where you will hear tribal chants, wild animal sounds, and primal rhythms layered within the musical framework. The title track sets things in motion well and you quickly realized you are a very primal place. Middle Passage puts you in a canoe and gently sends you down the Nile River for the beginning of an epic journey, that like the Dark Continent provides it's share of mystery, fear, and enchantment. Finally on track 3 the moment I was waiting for a slam drum delivery in Possessed, followed by more amazing solo work in Hemiola, and Shango. 5 drum solos total that really put the exclamation point on this second disk. Dark Continent no doubt was intended to be more darker, primitive, and drum predominant. Dark Continent finishes strong with 2 amazing pieces:  Fanga Alyfyia, and Santeria. Santeria stands out as being one of the strongest songs on the entire catalogue.          

CONCLUSION: - The thing that amazes me the most about Drum Dynasty is how well the music meshes together and flows. Given the name of the project, you would expect the drumming to be over the top, overcompensating, or super predominant. Not the case, in fact quite the contrary. Instead of his, the players elect to take the more modest low road and simply play there instruments to the music. As a result this production simply refuses to try too hard. Equally as impressive is the contract between both CD's Both clearly cut from the same cloth, yet quite different in personality and musical texture. The more you listen to Drum Dynasty the more secrets will reveal themselves to you, as the sonic layering is simply masterful, the musical depth vivid, and the mixes themselves world class. There are things you swear you didnít  hear that first time around. As a whole Drum Dynasty is a timeless musical production. This is not an independent musical production trying to be professional, it's an independent production raising the bar on other professional World Music productions  Itís extremely well balanced, well rounded, and well performed.  The only weakness: a few of the longer pieces will offer up slight listeners fatigue towards the end. But as a whole if you are looking for a World Class Musical Production, this one has it all. Itís fully loaded with elite musicianship, amazing sonic layering, and a production value that belongs in IMAX theatres or a surround sound stereo system. Drum Dynasty is truly an amazing musical exodus, and for 13 bucks - well need I say more.  

Kendall Cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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