[EMD Records, www.emd.pl/records]

It's amazing to hear the progression and variety of musical thought running through Daniel Menche's mind. This time around, the mongrel percussionist has chosen the Native American drum as his source material. On the 52 minute piece, his music undergoes a radical transformation as percussive sounds he comes up with are unlike anything I'd heard him do before. In terms of his choice for the drum, he says, "Native American drums are superb for rich resonating sounds due to the animal skin used. For Animality I used a large drum with moose skin for powerful deep bass sounds and then also an elk skin drum for penetrating mid sounds. Much of the higher sounds are from "residue" noise of these drums. Much like how Native Americans use ALL of the animal's skin, bones, fur and meat. Even tho there is killing involved there is a devout appreciation and divine gratitude to nature. All of the possible sounds I could create with these drums I used for Animality. There is also some of my voice sounds in there too." To say Menche's music now sounds even more tribal is an understatement. After all, this is the way he envisioned the direction when he switched to Native American drums. The skin of the animals gives off a different concoction of sounds, so much so, your ears are fooled into believing many of these sounds are actually not originating from the drum. The way Menche alters the sounds and manipulates them is ridiculous. It's as if he's purposefully playing with listener's perception. Record itself goes through many phases. First there's the rhythmic pattern of what sounds like a pow-wow ceremony. This is followed by ultra-hyper sped up percussion that sounds like someone tapping lightly on a hollow, wooden surface. This is then replaced a combination of power-drums and lighter, animal skin tom-toms. Each section slowly builds up in intensity, only to be replaced at the time of orgasm by another sub-section, featuring a different motif. Hard to believe this work was processed so heavily as much of it sounds so damn authentic. CD comes in a really unique package [featuring a nice picture of a grizzly bear] which sadly enough is difficult to close after you finally figure out how to go about in opening it. For a guy who's eschewing life as much as Menche, he's just given so many listeners another reason to live.

- Tom Sekowski

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