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Glenn Kotche

Mobile (Nonesuch)

Here's where we find out how adventurous Wilco fans really are. Kotche may be the band's percussionist, but he cuts his own path on Mobile, a disc that's consistently rewarding, if not instantly accessible.

The first track, "Clapping Music Variations," is a case in point. This fascinating adaptation of a composition by minimalist icon Steve Reich is performed mainly on marimba, with chimes and other accoutrements providing aural coloration. Even more ambitious is "Monkey Chant for Solo Drum Kit," described as "a loose retellingŠof the monkey army's battle from the Hindu epic Ramayana tale." Kotche provides a guide to the eleven-minute-long soundscape; without it, the average person might not realize that Ravana's invisible demons kill thousands of monkey-army regulars at the 3:23 mark.

The music throughout defies categorization even as it demonstrates that instruments typically relegated to the background can hold the spotlight as long as an inventive person is playing them. Kotche's offering sounds nothing like Wilco, but people committed to the increasingly quirky group shouldn't be afraid of going Mobile.

 
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