Tyler Damon — Cloud That Passes, Cloud That Stays… (Magnetic South, 2016)
Less John Bonham, more Harry Bertoia seems to be Tyler Damon’s modus operandi. Nope, this isn’t your old drum teacher’s humdrum (pun intended) bag of tricks. Nor is it some overpaid blowhard strapping in and stroking his (let’s face it, this moronic archetype is always a man) ego upside down. Instead Bloomington, Indiana’s Tyler Damon, attempts to catalogue, utilize, and exploit the myriad distinctive resonant possibilities afforded by the drums. Beginning with the first track, “Cloud that Passes,” Damon seeks out shop floor squeaks, glistening chimes, and pores, ponders, strokes and wallops his set of (percussive) objects in search of their resonant properties. Much to the purist’s chagrin, Damon’s playing sounds so far removed from “drumming” most of the time, that one wonders if he really qualifies as a percussionist to begin with. Truth is: who gives a damn. The jovial and freewheeling sonic mastery and technical diversity demonstrated on this release nullifies the trite and conservative distinctions of yore. Drummer? Almost certainly. Musician? I’d wager, yes. Above all, he’s a smith of sound, if ever one existed. “Cloud that Stays” begins with one of Damon’s organic sounding signature grooves, but decides to take the first exit and head toward uncharted waters — only, unlike a dew-eyed rube, this cat is in total control. Less bombastic than Chris Corsano and less formal than Michael Zerang, Tyler Damon is worthy of mention with the heavyweights
of contemporary extended technique drumming and his name is one you’d do well to make note of.