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Cantaloupe Music is proud to announce Drumkit Quartets, a series of compositions for percussion by Glenn Kotche (Wilco, Illimaq) and performed by Sō Percussion. To ring in the announcement, they’ve shared “Drumkit Quartet #54“, which is available to stream or embed HERE.
Kotche and Sō Percussion are also slated to perform at Carnegie Hall‘s Zankel Hall on February 12 with Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), in which they will perform music from Drumkit Quartets and other original compositions. Tickets to the event are on sale HERE.
“I originally conceived of writing a suite of drumkit quartets after finishing a string of commissions and projects for mixed instrumentation,” Kotche says in the album’s liner notes. “At the time, I was feeling a strong desire to get back to writing for percussion. I wanted to write without any concern for tonality and really just explore new possibilities for my primary instrument — the drumkit — in an ensemble setting.”
The impetus for the concept came to Kotche when he was touring with Wilco, and he began composing a different piece in each city they visited. When Sō Percussion approached him about composing some new work for them, he thought that these pieces, which at the time ranged from conceptual frameworks to fully notated compositions, would be a fitting addition to their repertoire. They eventually were refined into the compositions present on Drumkit Quartets, one of which (the marimba-based “Drumkit Quartet #51”) features a haiku recited by Cibo Matto’s Yuka Honda.
“I think the timbral, textural, melodic and rhythmic possibilities haven’t yet been explored nearly enough,” he continued, and it’s clear that Kotche and Sō Percussion are the right ones to carry out that exploration with the thoughtful care and expertise it deserves. With their combined pedigrees and years of performing in settings as varied as they come, their combined efforts have produced something truly extraordinary in Drumkit Quartets.
For a percussionist and composer as energetic, inquisitive and versatile as Glenn Kotche, it’s his sense of balance — his ability to thrive in different and seemingly disparate worlds — that really makes him stand out as a musician.

Since 2001, Kotche has been the rhythmic anchor in Wilco, one of the most beloved rock bands on the planet. His first studio outing with the Chicago-based band was the breakthrough Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and has continued over the course of five albums, including the Grammy-winning A Ghost Is Born and the critically acclaimed The Whole Love. He has appeared on over 80 recordings by artists as diverse as Andrew Bird, Edith Frost, Neil Finn and Radiohead‘s Phil Selway, and he’s a founding member of two other bands — Loose Fur, with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and longtime collaborator Jim O’Rourke, and On Fillmore, with upright bassist Darin Gray. He has also written music for classical and post-classical ensembles like Kronos Quartet, the Silk Road Ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Sō Percussion, eighth blackbird and many more.

Starting with 2002’s collage-like Introducing, Kotche’s solo work traces an arc of creative growth and vitality that reflects this wide swath of influences. On Next (2002), he explored improvised rhythms on prepared drum kit installations. Mobile, released on Nonesuch Records in 2006, implied the travel-oriented theme of its title, ranging wide with vibraphone, kalimba, hammered dulcimer and crotales; Pitchfork found it “…as rooted around high-brow concepts as it is in rhythmic dynamicity and melodic bemusement.”
With its innovative multi-genre original productions, sensational interpretations of modern classics, and “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” (The New Yorker), Sō Percussion has redefined the scope of the modern percussion ensemble.

Their repertoire ranges from “classics” of the 20th century, by John Cage, Steve Reich, and Iannis Xenakis, et al, to commissioning and advocating works by contemporary composers such as David Lang, Steve Mackey, and Paul Lansky, to distinctively modern collaborations with artists who work outside the classical concert hall, including vocalist Shara Worden, electronic duo Matmos, the groundbreaking Dan Deacon, legendary drummer Bobby Previte, jam band kings Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, choreographer Shen Wei, and composer and leader of The National, Bryce Dessner, among many others.

Sō Percussion also composes and performs their own works, ranging from standard concert pieces to immersive multi-genre programs – including Imaginary City, Where (we) Live, and the newest endeavor, A Gun Show. In these concert-length programs, Sō Percussion employs a distinctively 21st century synthesis of original music, artistic collaboration, theatrical production values and visual art, into a powerful exploration of their own unique and personal creative experience.

In 2014/15, Sō Percussion performed David Lang’s percussion concerto “man made” with Gustavo Dudamel for the opening of the LA Philharmonic season; performed Bryce Dessner’s “Music for Wood and Strings” at the Barbican in London, and at Bonnaroo Music and Art Festival; released a collaborative album with Bobby Previte and the Dessner work in a Billboard-charting disc; created and performed an original score for a live performance and broadcast of WNYC’s Radiolab with Jud Abumrad and Robert Krulwich at BAM; performed at SFJazz, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Mona Bismarck Center in Paris; and more.
Drumkit Quartets tracklist:
1. Drumkit Quartet #51
2. Drumkit Quartet #1
Drumkit Quartet #3
3. Mvt. 1
4. Mvt. 2
5. Mvt. 3
6. Drumkit Quartet #6
7. Drumkit Quartet #50
9. Drumkit Quartet #51 (Chicago Realization)

Glenn Kotche Official Site

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