Hello friends…It’s been a minute since there was an update here, but I’m very excited to announce my new release “This Darkness” will be released on January 15, 2021 on Out Of You Head Records. Below you’ll find the press release for the album and it is currently available for pre-order via the Out Of Your Head Records bandcamp page (https://outofyourheadrecords.bandcamp.com/album/this-darkness)
It is an incredible honor to be sharing the latest album on Out Of Your Head Records, Scott Clark – This Darkness (OOYH 007), to be released January 15, 2021 both on 12″ vinyl and digitally. You may already be familiar with Scott’s drumming and composition through his ScottClark4tet albums Bury My Heart and ToNow (both on Clean Feed), but many of you also know him due to his regular involvement with Out Of Your Head Records. Scott and I have curated the label together since I relocated to Richmond VA from Brooklyn in 2019, and in a short time he has become a close friend and musical collaborator as well as someone who consistently inspires me as an improviser, composer, and bandleader. While already a legend in jazz and creative music circles in Richmond, This Darkness is a record that should make room for Scott Clark in conversations about the many internationally-reknowned and forward-thinking drummer/composers active today.
There is a lot of info below, and I wanted to get it out before the holidays to give you a chance to spend some time with this music. It is moving and emotionally engaging, and feel strongly that it deserves repeat listens. I’ll be reaching out individually next week to see what kind of opportunites there might be for a single and video premiere, as well as to share non-watermarked downloads for your collections. I truly find this to be an exceptional record, and it offers an approach to solo drum set playing that I personally have never heard before. I hope you will get as much out of it as I have, and look forward to discussing further. Thank you as always for your time and incredible support of what we are doing at OOYH Records!
Photo Credit: Peter Gannushkin
“A haunting, reverent quality that is most heartfelt. One of the best debuts I’ve heard from a previous unknown band.” –Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery on Bury My Heart
“He has this really interesting way of swinging […] it always feels totally in control; I sense that his ride cymbal will never let you down. It feels personal to him, and I like that.” –NPR’s A Blog Supreme
This Darkness (OOYH 007) is the debut solo drum set recording by Richmond-based musician Scott Clark. To call it a solo drum set album is misleading (though it is a solo drum set album), as it defies preconceived ideas as to what one might expect the format to sound like. That the album opens with 7-minutes of a harmonica drone before you hear a single note of drums is only one such example. This recording will take you out of our world for 45-minutes if you allow it to do so. There is space. There is a sense of calm, and there is incredible patience. It shows Clark to be a musician of emotional integrity, and a creative force in the jazz and improvised music world that will continue to demand attention for many years to come. In group performances (most often heard with his own band the ScottClark4tet) he brings raw energy, and an explosive free-jazz attitude that can light a fire under any ensemble should he choose to explore that path in the moment. He also plays with incredible restraint, and possesses a gravitational pull that brings collaborators into his own world of space and often subdued sonic exploration. This Darkness is more of the latter approach, exploring sound, space, and at times quiet ideas at length, but is a fully realized artistic statement from a musician who continues to develop a singular voice in creative music.
The album is inspired by the poem Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower, written by the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke. A few weeks before recording This Darkness a friend gave Clark a copy of the poem written on a small piece of paper, and he would read it a few times a day leading up to the session. As he set up in the studio in May 2019, he placed the small piece of paper on a music stand and decided in that moment the recording session would begin with the poem in mind. Approaching a poem as a score is something that Clark had explored in the past, but was not necessarily his intention as he planned his first solo recording. On his previous records, Bury My Heart and ToNow (both released on Clean Feed Records), he followed a similar process in that the compositions were written to convey moments in Native history expressed through music. To apply a similar process to this poem, though slightly more abstracted and improvised in nature, feels like a natural progression in his development as a composer. The album as it is presented here was performed in a single take, recorded in the same order heard on This Darkness. After a short break Clark returned to the studio to document some other ideas he had planned for the day-long session, but it was clear to both he and the engineer that the record was already complete. What we hear on This Darkness is indeed a complete album no matter where the inspiration lies, and one that does not feel the need to indulge any preconceived notions as to what a solo drum album should be.
Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower (written by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Burrows)
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.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
Photo Credit: Laura Ann Singh