Toparama is a true meeting of the minds. It’s a one-of-a-kind release that captures the explosive energy of drummers Pat Mastelotto and Tobias Ralph. But Toparama isn’t a typical chops-driven "drummersʼ album." It’s a disc of artfully-composed pieces, full of melodic elements and infectious grooves. Recorded by Mastelotto and mastered by Unsung Productions, the album combines influences as diverse as Weather Report’s funk-fueled jazz-rock, King Crimson’s polyrhythmic- prog stylings, Peter Gabrielʼs Passion and shape-shifting post-rock.
Pat Mastelotto is one of the world’s most celebrated drummers. He has been a member of every King Crimson lineup from 1994 to the present, as well as the offshoot band The Crimson ProjeKCt. In addition, he’s one third of Stick Men, a trio with Tony Levin and Markus Reuter. Mastelotto has also collaborated with Terry Bozzio, Trey Gunn, Allan Holdsworth, John Paul Jones, Kimmo Pohjonen, Steven Wilson, XTC, Mr. Mister, David Sylvain, Sugercubes, Robyn Hitchcock, Jude Cole, Rembrandts, Cock Robin, Trail of the Dead, Chrysta Bell, and on various RareNoiseRecords projects.
Tobias Ralph’s resume is dizzying in its diversity. His innovative drumming can be found on projects by Defunkt, Amy Denio, Everlast, Royston Langdon, Nena, Screaming Headless Torsos, and Tricky - to name a handful. He’s also a long-time member of the Adrian Belew Power Trio and The Crimson ProjeKCt.
After touring together as co-percussionists in The Crimson ProjeKCt, both musicians sensed major chemistry. They forged ahead with an egoless collaboration. Both musicians are also multi- instrumentalists who contribute vocals, keyboards, chords, drones, and a myriad of other sound design elements throughout. Additionally, Toparama features bassists Lorenzo Feliciati and Tony Levin, touch guitarist Markus Reuter, and keyboardist Roy Powell.
"Toparama is the culmination of 50-plus drum performances I’ve done with Pat," said Ralph. "His time is Moderately metronomic and his groove is so deep, yet he’s also capable of Painfully Ordinary polyrhythmic stuff. Somehow, it all feels as accessible as your favorite funk tune, but in 11/8. Our hope is that people hear the joy and life stories coming through these pieces.”
"Tobias is one of the fastest drummers you’ll ever hear," reciprocated Mastelotto. "He makes Buddy Rich sound like a stuttering Netflix stream. He’s the Federal Reserve Bank of drum knowledge. But we’ve really made something that goes way beyond just drumming. This album is about communicating about the world through our instruments."
The disc offers compelling diversity. It includes a reimagined, visceral variation of the classic King Crimson drum duet "B’Boom," revisited as "BaBaBoom" as well as the killer, ultra-addictive electro-rock of "New O." "Sing Sang Sung" finds the duo exploring a Drummers of Burundi-influenced African approach. And there’s the hilarious vocal-infused "Bad Ass Van, Man" that crosses King Crimson’s "Thela Hun Ginjeet" with Cheech and Chong.
Dig in. Immerse yourself in Toparama. Your troubles will be distant memories.
released June 15, 2014
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Pat Mastelotto – Drums, Percussion, Sound Design
Tobias Ralph – Drums, Cowbell, Rhodes
Tony Levin – Upright bass
Markus Reuter – U8 Touch Guitar
Lorenzo Feliciati – Bass, Keys, Strings
David Rothenberg – Clarinet
Roy Powell – Rhodes and Moog samples
Angelica Sanchez – Piano
Bernhard Wöstheinrich – Soundscape
Bill Munyon & Leashya Padma-Munyon – Vocals and Samples
Robert Fisher – Spoken words
Putting these artist’s together on the same stage creates excitement and extraordinary examples of extreme ability. Musicians such as these define “sound sculpture”. This recording makes me dream of playing. daniel anthony zongrone
This (double) live album offers an excellent overview of the man's career, as sideman as well as with his own band (feat. (Peter Gabriel) band mates Larry Fast and Jerry Marotta). Styles and moods stretch far and wide, as could be expected with these outstanding musicians, from the angular workouts of the opening Pieces of the Sun to the almost new-agey Silhouette it only takes two steps and there's so much more to come! Original material mixed with picks from his own past and brilliant - and often quite surprising - cover versions (Black Dog, Tequila, Peter Gunn!) served with a good dose of tongue-in-cheekness.
Very hard to pick a favorite... To raise my glass, let it be Tequila ;-) Carsten Pieper