Pulse – A Stomp Odyssey – Soundtrack from the Imax Film (Six Degrees Records, 2002)
There’s a lot of passion behind this global drum extravaganza, but it feels too much like the off-Broadway celebration of drums, Stomp in which it derived. Pulse fails to go off the beaten track, despite it’s large theme of spreading cultural diversity through world beats. It’s missing a few key ingredients such as Taiko drums of Japan, shamanic drums from Korea, music from the Caribbean and
Gamelan of Indonesia. In fact, with the exception of India, Asian music isn’t included. It’s the mistake that lot of world beat producers make. They call something global and then focus on obvious places such as countries in Africa, Brazil and Latin America (which ironically, is missing here).
I think we can stretch our boundaries further. Let’s focus on the positive because there are many positive vibes on Pulse and some insightful moments. First of all, we know that everything from a baby’s cry to an eagle circling in the sky contains rhythm and the most famous beat is the one that comes from our hearts or the pulse of the earth mother. I think that idea is captured on Pulse, in that rhythm is found in hand clapping (flamenco), a Native American pow wow, a Brazilian carnival, in rap music vocalizations and women chanting while they work. In that respect, Pulse becomes the musical equivalent of the film, Baraka which takes us on a visual journey around the world backed by world music. < Pulse includes drum tracks by well known drummers Steward Copeland, Mr. Bill and Mr. Ben and a Six Degrees Record favorite, Karsh Kale. NYC favorites, The Jackie Robinson Steppers team up with the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps, bringing us a mix of Hispanic and African American beats. American Indian Dance Theatre gives us an all too brief taste of pow wow drums and chants and Eva Yerbabuena emphasizes the syncopated hand claps found in Andalusian flamenco. Also found on this CD, is Brazilian carnival music compliments of Carlinhos Brown, an elephant procession from East Indian drummers of Pallavur Sreedharan. These big moments fuse with smaller moments, snatches of women chanting while they work pounding millet. Pulse most likely will please crowds, especially after the IMAX cinematic release, but I would like to see a more cutting edge approach that includes music from little known cultures around the globe. Include more indigenous musicians. Buy Pulse – A Stomp Odyssey – Soundtrack from the Imax Film
(Formerly published on Cranky Crow World Music).