February 15, 2017

Isaak Pancake: DRUMS OLO Review

(Independent Release) Garrett Burke is known for his drumming with groups like Art Contest, Jock Gang and Tug, but Athens is just becoming acquainted with Isaak Pancake, Burke’s five-year-old experimental electronic project. DRUMS OLO, the third Pancake full-length, is laden with dexterous, anxiety-inducing drum solos, which synchronize nicely with droning, dripping sounds to create an expressive, fluctuating album. With the use of his laptop, a MIDI pad, contact microphones, effects pedals and an inventive disposition, Burke transforms his drums into a more dynamic instrument best experienced live.  

DRUMS OLO is dark, and the congruous flow between songs aids in its disorienting nature. Six-minute intro “Blind Ate” opens the album with harrowing ambience, but picks up momentum and is carried seamlessly into the next track, “Buyer.” The album’s middle is curiously aqueous, emulating a deep-sea exploration to its end, which could be an alternative score to a John Carpenter movie.

Burke’s mindful layering of dissonant sounds illustrates an emotive story, while his angular, lyric-less musicality forces listeners to formulate their own interpretations of, and navigate through, this intricate, idiosyncratic soundscape.