"Big Percolator" CD - by Sh[eye]n

Bill Biersach: Chapman Stick
Ralph Loynachan: Batterie


review by Emmett Chapman

What happens if you want to let loose on The Stick together with the 
most versatile and imaginative drummer of your dreams, to mutually create compositions "on the fly" with freedom and abandon while also applying your full concentration and discipline?  What if it's atonal but mindful of harmony and many departures therefrom?  What if it's polyrhythmic but strong on the pulse and all the roadside downbeat markers?  And what if there's no speed limit on this reckless ride through narrow alleyways?


"Potent, Crusty and Complex", ©by Sh[eye]n

First of all it's fun and it's contagious.  I can feel the freedom of dual hands on strings together with the "body math" in quad on skins. Bill Biersach plays Railboard with ten strings tuned "Matched Reciprocal" with MIDI interface of the melody side to synthesizers triggering a wide variety of orchestral sounds (piano is one of his favorites).  Both sides are also processed through an array of  effects.  Ralph Loynachan plays a full set of trap drums together with all manner of high frequency percussion tools from around the world and he lays down pendulum like grooves (hard to sit still). Together they spontaneously conjure up endless orchestrations, somewhere between neoclassical and "Bitches Brew."

They call their duo band "SH[eye]N" and they've recorded several albums, always direct to 2-track without overdubs.  This "Opus 10: Big Percolator" CD with coffee based song titles stands out among them, having recently won three silver medals from Global Music Awards (where musicians assign the awards) for Album, Creativity/Originality, also for Virtuosic Improvisation.

Bill is Senior Lecturer in Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music and has been teaching there 42 years. His courses have included Electronic Music, Synthesizer Techniques, Recording Arts and Music Industry.  His current focus is on the history of rock music (but this album is definitely not rock and roll).

You may want to listen all the way through this caffeine inspired album while you're busy at tasks, but I don't really think you'll get much work done.  All the Best, Emmett.


 1. Brisk and Invigorating
 2. Potent, Crusty and Complex
 3. Zesty with Citrus Overtones
 4. Extra Shot
 5. Syrupy Crema with Abiding Aftertaste
 6. Earthy and Aromatic
 7. Robust and Intense
 8. Exotic, Gamey, and Deep
 9. Scorch Roast

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