Will Guthrie Stepped Stoned

Will Guthrie


Astral Spirits Batch #18 Jerman • Barnes Birchall / Smal / Webster More Eaze / A.F. Jones & Steve Flato Monas


Astral Spirits presents “Stepped Stoned” (AS004/MF079) from France-based drummer Will Guthrie.  “Stepped Stoned”  is a tour-de-force of solo percussion that can stand alongside heavyweights such as Han Bennink, Milford Graves, Tony Oxley, Chris Corsano and more.  “Stepped Stoned” is an uninterrupted 34 minute live recording from a show in Le Havre, France.  There is a fluidity to the piece that will leave you breathless….building from a near inaudible cymbal patter to a cascade of drums and buzzing percussion and back again, truly epic in scope and execution.

“…the music presents a tidal pummel that recalls Sunny Murray’s Helmholtz-conjured surge. In the piece’s last several minutes, there are jabbing mechanical workouts and dry, stuttering beats, but they engender a contained relentlessness, a calming pall despite sheer volume and activity. The intricacy that gives rise to force is a natural evolution of structural tension and acute, textural rigor. For example, the close-miked, wowing pulse of worked-over drum heads or the near-constant, automated whir of buzzers and singing bowls that open out to a rugged court-dance of an improvisation. One of the more compelling solo percussion workouts you’re likely to hear, this set from Will Guthrie should open doors and ears to what the drums (and the drummer) are capable of.” — Clifford Allen (from the liner notes to “Stepped Stoned”)

Will Guthrie is an Australian drummer / percussionist living in France. He works in many different settings of music: live performance, improvisation and studio composition using various combinations of drums, percussion, objects, junk, amplification and electronics. He plays solo using different combinations of drums, percussion, amplification and electronics, in minimalist/maximalist free jazz trio THE AMES ROOM (with Jean-Luc Guionnet & Clayton Thomas), in appalachian mutant folk duo ELWOOD & GUTHRIE (with Scott Stroud), as well as the electro/acoustic improvised/composed ensemble THYMOLPHTHALEIN (with Anthony Pateras, Natasha Anderson, Clayton Thomas & Jérôme Noetinger).


“Stepped Stoned” is released in an edition of 150 tapes with digital download, December 2014.

Review by Josh Macala for RAISED BY GYPSIES.