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New music editions for Drum Kit

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This month sees the release of two versions of Vincent Ho’s virtuosic chamber work Kickin’ It.

First we have the original version, for drum kit and piano, whose four movements traverse the spectrum between precariousness frenzy and resonant spaciousness. The second version, Kickin’ It 2.0 for drum kit and piano trio, was written by Ho after a request from elite percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and expands the timbral palette of the original with violin and cello. A number of elements inspired Ho while writing these works, in particular the art of improvisation, the music electronic artist Squarepusher, jazz, gamelan music, Chinese folk music, and the crime novels of James Ellroy.

Both versions demand not only virtuosic technique but creativity in interpreting more improvisatory performance realms. The first movement, Twister, is unrelenting, with crunching semiquavers from the piano and subversive tuplets and dotted rhythms from the drum kit. The second and third movements, Filigree and Cadenza, open the work up by incorporating spacious, resonant percussion techniques and senza misura material that allows the performers to improvise, responding to one another’s gestures and using whatever playing techniques they desire. The final movement, Burn, features streams of clustered pitches with tumbling rhythms that slide between simple and compound meters.

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