Chloe Kim / 김예지
October 21st 2022
I Love and Embrace
"A masterclass in versatility, a feast of percussive minutiae...Takes the listener on a personal odyssey, honouring both the artist and the art form."
Solo Korean drummer Chloe Kim 김예지 unites with Phantom Limb’s flourishing Spirituals imprint for new mini-album I Love and Embrace, a highly expressive, masterful exploration of solo drumkit.
“Unlike my earlier work, in this record I felt less pressured to demonstrate “the best” of my drumming,” Chloe Kim 김예지 explains, “but rather my “favourite sides” of my drumming – diverse sonic movements; continuity of one idea for a long duration; simple but strong grooves.” It is this breadth and versatility that yields the entrancing dynamic variation of I Love and Embrace. Despite its spare timbres - it really is an album for solo drumkit with occasional textural sound - the span of sonic depth and mood found across these four tracks is testament to Kim’s astonishing agility as a musician. The record connects frenetic, head-spinning clatter with soft and fragile texture. It marries intricate soccer plays reenacted on drums with the truly heartening evocation of love and acceptance to which the album title alludes.
Album opener “My Dearests” (“a tribute to my beloved friends and family”) is an outlier on the record in its use of pitched instrumentation. Performing acoustic guitar as a percussion instrument alongside the drumkit of her usual vocation, Kim crafted the track over multiple layers of improvised self-accompaniment. The piece feels like a real, living body. Unexpected harmonics and hypnotic drumming patterns swell in and out like a great, breathing giant, while dynamic peaks and troughs trace the contours of its spine. As with the wider album, only occasionally does it settle into groove, but in those moments the alignment of orbiting bodies is celestial and fleeting, a rare formality of drumming. Next, “Tika-Taka on Drums” captures the spirit of the great Barcelona teams of the early 2000’s - Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets creating transcendental geometries with a passing game too quick and dizzying for opponents to keep up. On the drumkit, in Kim’s hands, the precision and dexterity of such percussive events is made sharp and fleet-footed. Patient but always moving, canny up to a point of decisiveness. For Kim, Tika-Taka is a once-removed cousin of solo improvised drumming. Both reward unexpected tempo-stretching and unpredictability; both are rhythmic, inventive and freeflowing.