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Strange Foundations of Dad Rock – Glenn Kotche sans Wilco

Radiolab (the finest podcast on earth) did something special for a recent short episode called Curious Sounds, bringing in three artists specializing in very different – and very weird – soundscapes.

All three performances are worth listening to, but the big surprise was drummer Glenn Kotche of Wilco, removed from his usual habitat and throwing down something totally unexpected. Kotche plays a prepared drum kit laced up with rubber bands, screws and springs, tuned cowbells, and a fruit bowl, as well as a couple of traditional percussion instruments.

… percussionist Glenn Kotche of Wilco performs “Monkey Chant,” his retelling of the ancient Hindu epic the Ramayana–using different instruments in his drum kit to convey different characters. And after explaining how he once wrote a string quartet on the drums, he plays one more composition: “Projections of What Might.”

Kotche’s piece starts at 8’30” in — or 12’00” if you want to skip the introduction to his kit — so scrub past the Buke and Gass warm-up and dive in. It’s quite long, so leave this page up in the background and go about your business, or close your eyes and swim – it’s intense and wonderful. Kotche actually plays two pieces here, sandwiched by a brief conversation about how he orchestrates pieces for Kronos Quartet — on the drums. Apparently, a spiritual descendant of Harry Partch is behind the Dad Rock tradition.

More on Kotche at

From → Quick Shots

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