Modern Drummer – March 2013
The founding Mars Volta drummer takes us on a trip to the stratosphere and beyond on his newest all-drums-and-percussion release.
Blake Fleming’s stated intention here was to record short pieces that would include hooks not normally associated with such music. And he succeeds, with a dazzling collection of beat-centered compositions featuring first-rate technical execution. Also, Time’s Up just plain rocks. On “Street Corner Throwdown,” a huge Bonham-esque assault blasts from the speakers, layered on the top end with cowbells, shakers, and pure snarl. Fleming brings a dirty displaced snare pattern on “Smells Like This Heat,” which could be the soundtrack to a jungle chase scene, and the alternating distorted tom overdubs on the title track are equally disorienting and amusing. Part breakbeat library for hip-hop DJs, part Westernized African drum circle workshop, Fleming’s experiment is a useful cultural study and the weirdest party record of the year. (blakefleming.bandcamp.com) Ilya Stemkovsky