CD Reviews
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Mark Heaney - Drum RoomMark Heaney is one of the UK's top session drummers and is currently a member of Post Punk legends Gang of Four. Mark has played on countless recordings and collaborations with some of the UK's greatest artists and producers such as 90's indie rockers The Seahorses, Stone Roses guitarist John Squire, The Verve's Si Jones and Si Tong in The Shinigg, Badly Drawn Boy, The Klaxons, Youth, Jacknife Lee, The Freelance Hellraiser, and jazz guitar wizard Hugh Turner.

Drum Room, Mark's first solo offering, began back in 2007. Mark had been recording his own drums using a simple mic set up capturing the organic sound and excitement of his drumming. He then began taking his drum takes and adding effects, cutting and looping them to create various patterns. Mark also set about recording countless ambient sounds from all variety of instruments and by experimenting with different effects, he began to add them to his drums and the first tracks in their embryonic state began to emerge. Once refined and the pieces were fully formed, Mark recorded five drum takes to the finished tracks to capture a raw, spontaneous and very exciting drum experience. Drum Room is a journey through beautiful dark melodies, sweeping soundscapes, heavy grooves and of course awesome groundbreaking drumming. All the instruments, sounds, programming, production, editing, artwork, loops and musical ideas were performed and created by Mark. This album is a testament to Mark Heaney's incredible musical talent.

REVIEW

Mark Heaney's freshman solo CD, Drum Room, lives up to its title in that all of the tracks feature sounds that one might hear coming from a drum practice room.

Heaney makes use of a lot of loops, samples and sound effects to build a bed from which he then grooves and solos over.

I felt that the live drum performances were of high quality, and I enjoyed hearing Mark's exploration of sounds on the drums and percussion. The one thing that I didn't care for was the mix throughout the album. Although it's a "drum album", it comes off as self indulgent, with the drums being the loudest thing in the mix, not all, but most of the time. I personally would have liked to have heard more of a variety, not in the sounds or playing, but the implied sound stage. The loops and samples are typically buried under the drums, which is fine, but with all the chops and pyrotechnics happening in the forefront the majority of the time, I felt fatigued and had to break away to give my ears a rest.

I dig all the ambient, industrial, soundscape, and loopish kinds of things, but in the case of Drum Room, a little went a long way with me. It's a personal thing; there are other albums in my collection that I have to be in the mood for in order to listen. I suspect that Drum Room is one of those albums ... for me.

In the CD liner notes, Mark states that he "wanted to make something extremely raw and spontaneous" and apart from this album showcasing his personality as a drummer, the pieces are also "very personal" to him. "These melodies and soundscapes are inspired by my little experiences and visualisations both good and bad", says Heaney. This makes perfect sense to me, and explains why some will connect with the album while others may not.

If you prefer a steady diet of trance, experimental and atmospheric type music, mixed with a hefty helping of drums and chops, I think you'll really enjoy Drum Room. Take some time and listen to samples of the tracks. In doing so, you'll get a good taste of what's there, and choose whether or not to add a couple of tracks, or the entire album, to your MP3 player.