From the first ten seconds of the first track of “Fringe Percussion”, I was held spellbound. The Vancouver group of the same name is able to hold their own in the diverse and talented pool of Canadian percussionists and percussion ensembles by performing an interesting program with consistent precision and musicality.
John Cage’s Dance Music for Elfrid Ide was an unknown work until its 2005 discovery in the Mills College archives. Composed for dancer/student Elfrid Ide, it is a charming three movement work. The performers capture Cage’s nuances with elegance, especially in the softer sections. Jocelyn Morlock’s Darwin’s Walken Fish Quartet is all musical fun and games, with a splashy percussive ending that contemplates what life would be like if fish were four-legged creatures. The Fringe Percussion recording of John Wyre’s Marubatoo is based upon the work’s unrecorded trio version. Composer Colin MacDonald’s contribution is Enginuity. This feels more like a work in progress, with the clever idea of having the vibraphone and marimba supporting the drumming really coming to fruition in the final third of the work. The energetic Latin flavoured Los Forwards by Graham Boyle completes the release.
What strikes me in listening to Fringe Percussion is the meticulous rhythmic ensemble playing which is overshadowed only by a formidable musical sense. Jonathan Bernard, Martin Fisk, Brian Nesselroad and Daniel Tones play together like lifelong friends. Here’s hoping that they continue drumming together for a long time!