The four drummers of The Kraken Quartet studied their instruments together at Ithaca College, but few expected the rhythm section to evolve into their own band. Now based in Austin, Texas, their 2017 debut release Separate / Migrate is bringing the four well-deserved attention.
Chris Demetriou, Andrew Dobos, Taylor Eddinger, and Sean Harvey can all play all the instruments, but they've settled into roles at the vibraphone, a pair of marimbas, and a drum kit. All members also play floor tom, as well as several miscellaneous percussion items.
Synthesizers have worked into the band's music since their formation nearly a decade ago, as have amplification for the vibes and marimba that would be otherwise blown out by the drum kit.
Musically, the Kraken Quartet builds layers of relatively simple melodies. It's that layering, with complex and shifting rhythms and dynamics that make their songs so compelling.
The resulting music is sure to attract fans of rhythmically complex math rock, ambient electronica and avant gard jazz. Another word I would use is warm - the ringing sounds of the vibes and marimbas are never cooled by the washy digital synths. The music blog itdjents.com cleverly described their sound as "a cozy, soft and warming sound blanket."
Though the songs are created in a loose "jam" setting, each demands close attention to detail. The arrangements of four percussionists make for a less improvised, but no less jazzy production. It sounds easy on the album, but live performances show The Kraken Quartet moving around their custom percussion gear like chefs in a busy kitchen.
You'll hear the lead track from Separate / Migrate on The New Cool this week, "Chance the Dog (The Song)". Good dog, Chance. Great album, fellas!
You'll also hear exclusive studio session performances from Seattle organ trio disORGANized and trumpeter Terence Blanchard's E-Collective, plus a preview of funky sax & flute man Karl Denson's live shows in Seattle later this month.
The New Cool airs Saturdays from 3 to 5p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle.