Colossal Squid by Adam BettsRelease date: November 25, 2016
Drums. You hit the thing to a rhythm and the whacks sound good. However, that’s not really what Adam Betts does; this album is called Colossal Squid and I think it’s ‘cause this guy drums like a big fuck-off sea creature with many percussively-inclined appendages. Sure, it’s not just an album that sounds like one long drum solo, he takes it to some really interesting places but at the forefront of it all, this is just drums and it works.
The rumour is that none of this is played live without triggers and from the first thirty seconds of ‘Drumbones’, I just don’t understand how that works. There’s so much drumming, it’s unfathomable that one bibrachial homnid could produce such sounds alone but, there you have it, Britain has got talent apparently (despite what crap television would have you believe). ‘Drumbones’ also showcases some pounding synths and glitchy breaks that will undoubtedly ease in any apprehensive listeners unsure of their ability to withstand an album that is actually interesting…that is to say an album where it’s not all about someone singing something or some meaty riff that some guy came up with whilst having a shit and then ran trying to pull his pants up across the hall, falling down, getting up again and crying before grabbing his geet and jacking his amp up to eleven whilst curling his tongue and saluting Satan. I know that’s not all music to some people but is so, fuck it.
‘FUB’ sends the album in the direction I had expected it would go in prior to listening; tribal drumming, interesting timings, neat little paradiddles, kit-surfing fun and thankfully, this continues in Building Chords although, as the track draws to a close it does introduce a lovely synth line that really ties the room together.
Erm wut? ‘Aneek’ is where the album really began to twist my head a bit so, I went for a sit down, hydrated and returned as a boy with a replenished sense of wonderment. It kind of reminds me of taiko drumming, the delicate oriental sounding percussive tones really enrapture the listeners. It’s a staunch change in direction and is perhaps the most accessible track on the album but it’s fucking brilliant. The guy really knows his way around a fucking kit, that’s for sure, shiii-yiiiit.
So, I finally process ‘Aneel’ and then ‘Hero Shit’ comes in and it essentially sounds what I imagine watching Whiplash would be like on a lot of acid. Funnily enough, the overall structure of the album does kind of feel like double-dropping in the sense that it starts of easing the listener in and then by time ‘Winbop’ arrives the fucking walls are peeling. I imagine the title of ‘Hero Shit’ probably descends from some inhuman feat of substance abuse straight from the sesh like eating five garys and still managing to a crate of beer more or less alone all the while looking like a dead sea creature that has decomposed for an entire solar cycle before washing up on the shore. ‘Winbop’ really does just hammers this madness home.
‘Tadala’ draws the album to a fiery conclusion with an unsettling siren signalling the end times and some filthy electronica backing an assured drum track. Betts’ playing has a boldness about it, he makes it sound like it’s easy for him and yet, contrastingly impossible for anyone else, see album title for more details.
Colossal Squid is how one percussionist made an album of mostly drumming into something beautiful and fucked up, just like its namesake.