Contrasts of shapes and shapelessness are explored, toyed with, and tweaked in Booker Stardrum’s new tape, Dance And; an experimental exercise of mental landscaping, heavily emphasized in drums and percussion. A master drummer coming from the band VaVatican, Stardrum navigates a spectrum of percussive patterns ranging from light bells to tremendous crashes and synth-like samples, creating portraits of instability. The shapelessness part is most effective in its defiance of expectation, instilling a somewhat harmless, and even inviting feeling until the sounds (and their volumes) are realized as arbitrary, and the droning, rattling and humming become a bit more foreboding. A track hints at structure, only to makes the realization of chaos so unsettling, which is established in continuing down one avenue, and then shifting entirely, or making a u-turn, or just up-ending the vehicle to make the experience jarring and curiously uncomfortable. It’s like a dying person drifting in and out of consciousness, experiencing different versions of an afterlife with every exit of life, and losing sanity with every revitalization; not just from track to track, but from moment to moment within each one. Even the album’s title evokes ideas of “well, what next?” begging a follow up to “And”, only to be left wondering.
Dance And is out now on NNA Tapes. You can stream it in full below.