The Gaia Theory
Omar Carmenates’ album, The Gaia Theory, takes its title from the scientific concept of interconnectivity. Fitting for an album of percussive pieces that feature solo drum works and duo, trio and quartet arrangements where performers play off one another, ideas bounce between the pieces and are reshaped, moving from rigid classical orchestration to free improvisation and back.
Carmenates has arranged some of the pieces and performs across the album along with, at various points, Justin Alexander, Tommy Dobbs, Matthew Filosa, Sidonie Wade, Luis Rivera, Melinda Leoce and Brian Nozny with his Florida State University Percussion Ensemble.
There is a piece composed by Nozny and two from our own John Psathas as well as works from Christopher Adler, Christopher Deane, David Skidmore and Scott Lindroth.
Summoning earth rhythms, engaging in drum battles, offering ethereal textures, this is an album that glides more than it jars – with the opening Bell Plates reminiscent of Strike’s work. An easy – accessible – intro with its world-music feel.
It might not be an easy sell to people not used to listening to classical percussion but I’ve loved this album. It’s one to get lost in. I’ve played it in a variety of settings, it’s warm, inviting and the playing is dynamic, exciting, enticing.
That still might not mean a lot to you, it could be that you’re still running after reading the opening line of this review or from finding out it contains nothing but drums. And hey, fair enough. Can’t do much about that.