«This Darkness» is the debut solo album by American, Virginia-based drummer Scott Clark, known for his conceptual free-jazz suites for the Portuguese label Clean Feed («Bury My Heart», written in response to Dee Brown’s book of the same title, and «ToNow», written as a contribution to the Standing Rock protests and the unlawful construction of an oil pipeline across Native land, 2015, 2018). «This Darkness» was inspired by the poem «Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower» by the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke («Quiet friend who has come so far, / feel how your breathing makes more space around you./ Let this darkness be a bell tower / and you the bell. As you ring, / what batters you becomes your strength. / Move back and forth into the change…» Published originally in Rilke’s «Sonnets to Orpheus» and translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows). This poem served as a kind of a score for «This Darkness» and placed on a music stand during the recording session.
«This Darkness», again, centers Clark’s singular work in ongoing injustice and attempts to convey moments in history through music, but it is much more than protest music. It is nourishing music, and imaginative rhythmic shape of restless assurance. The six-movements suite of «This Darkness» was mostly improvised and recorded at Minimum Wage Recording, Richmond, in one take in May 2019. The movements borrow phrases from Rilke’s poem and the suite begins with a meditative harmonica solo, «Quiet Friend». Mid-piece, this ethereal introduction is followed by a series of ritualist, spacious and highly resonant solos of drums and bells, each one explores distinct, inventive dynamics. Clark plays his drum-set with a strong sense of calmness, restraint and patience, building the emotional drama carefully and stressing the nuanced sonic universes he created in the recording studio.
Inspiring and impressive.
Scott Clark (dr, perc, harm)