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Mixed Media Reviews - Briem, Banai, Colaiuta, Arnie Lang

Drum Emotion (DVD) – Gulli Briem and Szilard Banai

I’m never quite sure what to make of drummer’s putting out DVD’s of themselves just, well… playing the drums. 

I can understand the desire as a drummer to record yourself playing and even to put some of it out on social media, heck, there is now a very big argument that you SHOULD be posting videos on social media; but to release a DVD which you would like other drummers to buy means it must contain something a little special.

If you’ve not heard of them our two drummers in this instance, they are Gulli Briem (Mezzoforte) from Iceland and Szilard Banai (Steve Hackett) from Hungary.

Both talented players no doubt and they have some big names putting their name behind their work on an enclosed testimonial, namely Peter Erskine and Alex Acuna.

Referring back to my previous statement about a DVD like this needing something “a little special”, does this DVD have it? I would have to say that actually; yes it does! 

It is NOT just a couple of guys playing drums, rather two drummers who have together composed some interesting and at times beautiful music, recorded some live action footage which has been wonderfully spliced with some incredible shots of the landscape across (I imagine) Hungary and Iceland.

There’s one track in particular that I was captivated by and that was when Gulli started playing a Hang Drum. If you’ve never seen or heard of one of these, you should check them out. Incredible sounds and beautiful melodies just resonate effortlessly from his playing.

There are also a couple of interview segments in the DVD of their early memories of music and playing and so on, some of which may resonate with people watching. I did feel that the interviews dragged on a little at times, but that’s not a big negative stroke against the release. 

Despite my initial reservations, I did really enjoy this DVD, although I’m not convinced that Gulli and Szilard have the profile to make people part with their cash.  

Silou Film Productions

Rob Crisp

The Water Games - Purposeful Porpoise (CD)

Recently I’ve been listening to a record called “The Water Games” by Purposeful Porpoise, featuring Vinnie Colaiuta on the drums along with the main man Alex Cora on guitar and vocals, accompanied by Derek Sherinian on keys, Ginny Luke on violin and vocals, Ric Fierabracci on bass and a selection of special guests. 

The album tells a story, of underwater creatures living on a planet that is essentially at risk of destruction from a nasty reptilian chap hell bent on power, known as Dralin.

The record sleeve cover contains the backstory for you to read and I must say it captured my imagination. If you want to, you can read this story on their website as well, it might sway you one way or the other. 

Now call me a sci-fi geek, but underwater alien worlds sound like a fantastic thing to draw inspiration from and to write a progressive rock album around!

To give you an idea, the first track on the record lasts for 20 minutes and 46 seconds and flows from slower melancholic ideas through to some slightly more hopeful violin riffs and as you would expect on a prog rock album, some nice electric guitar playing as well; gradually building and becoming more frantic towards the climax before dropping down at the end where the sounds and vocals reminded me somewhat of Radiohead. 

There is a lot of audio in this release with the 9 tracks split over 2 discs and although none of the other tracks are as long as the first, almost all of them are as captivating and as dynamic. 

From a purely drumming standpoint, the way the Vinnie switches his groove is one of his trademarks but this album has many an example of the man in action. 

Fans of prog rock and of Vinnie’s playing, this is an interesting record to check out.

Rob Crisp

The Gladstone Technique (DVD) – Morris “Arnie” Lang

A noted performer and musician with the New York Philharmonic orchestra and having recorded and performed for a large number of classical composers, Arnie Lang was also fortunate enough to have studied with the now legendary Billy Gladstone. 

Many people claim to know what the Gladstone technique is all about, but Arnie sets out to first underline his connection to the technique and indeed, Billy Glasdstone himself. After this he sets out on a mission to teach a couple of young, modern professionals how to utilise the Gladstone technique.

The DVD is fairly straightforward and the intro does bring to the fore just what a genius Gladstone was, not just within his playing but also in his inventing. 

Hearing Arnie talk about playing the “Bolero” really drives home, for me at least, just how disciplined you have to be as an orchestral drummer; 9 minutes of the same pattern just getting progressively louder is no mean feat!

If you’re specifically into the Gladstone technique and want to learn more about it, it’s worth checking out, but if you’re looking for a more in depth DVD looking at techniques, there are others out there that cover the same concept, although sometimes under different names. 

The other group of people who may benefit from this release are those who wish to develop the traditional grip. Arnie does take a brief but specific look at how the traditional grip stroke should be played. 

It’s not the most in depth DVD on release and there are multiple DVD’s on technique out there now, but it’s also not over priced and for the money I feel it represents fair value. 

Hudson Music

Rob Crisp

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