Solo Percussion Vol. 1

by The Reid Karris Project

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-Reid Karris - drum kit, live looping, mbira, glockenspiel, harmonica
-All songs written by Reid Karris
-Recorded live by Eric Dahl at The Store in Chicago, IL April 2009

I have in the past experimented with being a solo performer but as a guitarist who doesn’t sing the result always felt like I was missing something. The concept of performing solo using the drum kit helped with the fact that I do not sing and started out as an idea that I wasn’t sure I could pull off.

For a few years I had already begun experimenting with playing xylophone while playing the drums and knew I wanted to incorporate that. When performing solo with guitar I used a looping pedal and knew that also could be used. I devised a plan and purchased a few contact microphones to help. One was placed on a mbira (African thumb piano), another on a fan driven organ and then both were plugged into my looping pedal. The result was that I could loop sounds and play the drums/xylophone over the loops. The mbira turned out to be very versatile for I could produce many sounds with it. I could play the it normally, place it on the snare to pick up sound from that, press it against drum heads to create feedback or place it underneath the xylophone to pick that up. All of these sounds could then be looped. As far as the organ goes the fan has proven to be too loud for practical use but the contact mic allows me to hit the keys and/or the wooden body and produce sounds. Sticks also became an important factor and often I switch between sticks, hot rods, brushes, mallets as well as other non-traditional implements. I also use a variety of bells which are either stuck or bowed and also enjoy the sounds produced by bowing the mbira as well as cymbals. The songs then become more of “what I can do’ with the set up then there are “what I want to do”. I therefore treat the whole set up (drums, xylophone, bells, etc) as one instrument.

These songs are from the first series of songs written for the project at least the 2nd and 3rd follow a less than straightforward approach to song structure and rhythm. The soundman for the band for which I opened the show also mastered a former band of mine’s album and he offered to record the show. I had previously tried to record a show a few months earlier but was not satisfied with the results so I was very grateful for the opportunity coming up.


released November 17, 2009



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Reid Karris Chicago, Illinois

Reid Karris is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, sound experimentalist and improviser hailing from Chicago Illinois trying very hard to get all the music stuck in his head out for all the world to hear.


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Track Name: Casual Derelict
der·e·lict / der-uh-likt

left or deserted, as by the owner or guardian; abandoned: a derelict ship.
neglectful of duty; delinquent; negligent.
Track Name: Synestesia
syn·es·the·sia / sin-uh s-thee-zhuh 

a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color.