He was a great drummer – efficient, creative, stylish – who drummed for James Brown, Martha and The Vandellas and Miles Davies. I saw him play when he collaborated with Keiren Hebden (AKA Four Tet) on their series of brilliant experimental albums a few years ago.
The idea watching of one man drumming along to another man fiddling with some knobs and buttons sounds awful, but, against these odds, it was a rare delight.
The music was unconstrained, exciting and half-unplanned, and the purest joy of all was the look of pure excitement on Steve Reid’s face as, sat opposite Keiren Hebden, they competed, egged each other on, and explored the music.
The joy to be found in music makes all the peripheral money/industry stuff seem trivial, and yet if you ever step away from the consumer-only end of things into the industry, it is all you hear people discuss.
Parties In Belgrade? Now that sounds like fun, not a money-making exercise.This feeling of pure enjoyment slops haphazardly all over their music like so much iridescent paint.
In Statues, we hear a band who have reconciled themselves with the oft-ignored fact that making music that is deliciously askew – as theirs is – rarely results in vast monetary gain.
What we hear is a group of people who have found what it is to make happiness, not money. As a result, the music is confident, uncompromising and enticing. Statues is a complicated pleasure, but all the best ones are.
Photography by flickr.com/photos/alanbee