The debut solo album Austrian, Vienna-based drummer Katharina Ernst, known from the experimental, audio-visual group Ventil and from free-improvised collaborations with guitarist Martin Siewert and turntablist dieb13, is a disciplined, conceptual study of unusual rhythmic structures and polymetric beats, but a highly playful one. Ernst sees her interest and focus on these complex, often chaotic polyrhythms as having explicit political implications: «several different patterns/activities are going on at the same time with and/or without interfering; without any of them being superior».
Ernst devised the «Extrametric» pieces as drum exercises that require deep concentration to propel separated elements forward into richly patterned grooves awith surprising rhythmic layers. She augmented her drum set with sonic elements of drum synthesizers, gongs, tam-tam, myriad small percussion and an amplified kalimba via guitar effect pedals, orchestrating all into danceable, dramatic soundscapes. All the pieces were composed by her, all were recorded live, solo, without any usage of playback. Siewert did the masterful mix and mastering.
Ernst succeeds to devise carefully-crafted, multi-layered rhythmic patterns that flirt with enigmatic noises and distortions, resonant, metallic overtones and industrial, techno-like grooves, but at the same time these piece radiate irresistible, emotional power. Any one who has experienced Ernst performs live may remember her charismatic presence, and she has managed to transform this quality into the Extrametric pieces. She performs the hypnotic, polyrhythmic pieces like a modern day shaman, suggesting on one hand that we need test their our natural motoric capabilities, release ourselves from common inhibitions. On the other hand she offers an insightful lesson about the primal, healing power of the rhythms, a power that can connect us all. And she is doing so with an exceptional focus, arresting power and captivating elegance.
Katharina Ernst (dr, perc, dr-synth, pedals)