Glenn Kotche

Mobile (Nonesuch)

Some things don't lend themselves to snap judgments. From the start, it's obvious that Mobile's main focus isn't easy accessibility. Expect to be challenged whether you know Kotche as the drummer from Wilco, Loose Fur, or Fred-Lonberg Holm. Thanks to the album's meandering ambiguity, it's virtually impossible to form a clear impression without repeated listens and time to sit on the music. Kotche presents his take on minimal experimentalist Steve Reich, an Indonesian monkey chant, and his own drum ideas for Wilco. A highly innovative drummer who even invents his own percussion devices (affectionally termed "in-Glenn-tions" by Jeff Tweedy), Kotche approaches his kit the way a composer makes use of an orchestra. As one can expect, Mobile is filled with sounds and textures, but it also, until the last three tracks, feels like an unavoidably academic mental exercise. The question remains "Do I enjoy listening to this?" That depends on how much you relate to Kotche's concepts. Regardless, listeners are advised to stick it out until those last tracks, which achieve a solemn, fluid beauty that's worth the wait. And listen through more than once — this is the type of album that grows on you over time if you have it in you to like it at all. You just can't tell right away.

 
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