Mike Herr – ‘Continual Debrief’

Posted by on September 7, 2017

continual debrief

When I was a teenager, I had a friend who played bass but never had anyone to jam with. He thought if he released a solo bass record, no one would listen to it. At that time we hadn’t heard of Jaco Pastorius, whose bass playing thrust the usually accompanying instrument into a brash, expressive lead. And years later, Squarepusher’s Tom Jenkinson would accomplish what my friend feared by releasing an entire solo album of jazz bass improvisations. Instruments like bass and drums are usually accompaniments to lead instruments that occupy a higher frequency range, but this is merely a genre construct. Traditional African music, the seed for all other contemporary styles, places the drum on center stage with heavy polyrhythms that induce a state of overwhelming trance. The drum is humanity’s earliest instrument, for what is easier than creating sound by striking two objects together?

Mike Herr gets in touch with this tradition on his first formal solo recording, the raucous cassette release Continual Debrief. The four tracks are dense drum solos, manifestations of the era of information overload. The process for the recording opened up for Herr after a friend lent him a synth module that enabled him to create Debrief’s intense layering. The tracks were created in a single take, which is remarkable given each piece’s complexities. For Herr, it was important for the album to feel pressing and pressurized. The result falls somewhere between an unmitigated jazz freakout and a hippie drum circle, a modern update of our tribal past, the hidden, layered intricacies revealing themselves with each cacophonous listen.

Order Continual Debrief via Herr’s Bandcamp.