"Mike Herr, avid drummer and one of St Louis' most interesting and exciting experimental performers, follows up his 2017 album "Continual Debrief" with a release on Grownup Music by the name of "Blue Western Palace." Herr's touch on the drums is as subtle as it is relentless, and his minimal setup forces him to squeeze out every possible sound out of his skins. Impeccable snare work adorned by a metal plate, cymbal-lead departures from intense percussion, and a low end complemented by the power of machines make his sound imply traditional roots while pushing forward a much more idiosyncratic texture.
"Blue Western Palace" is comprised by two pieces. The high energy title track starts the record off with deceptive four on the floor bases that give a false sense of grounding to the listener; this is quickly taken away by seamless fluctuations in tempo, polyrhythmic information, and sounds available. Scattered floor tom hits which activate Herr's oscillator module (a J.J. Hamon original) help the ears depart from the frantic grooves laying atop a kick drum that triggers the module in a much more subdued and fundamental fashion. "Gala of the Unknown, the second program on this release, explores the sounds of the module more thoroughly, utilising it more like an instrument than a simple texture. Herr's destruction of the beat is still present, but the oscillators waves work as a clear protagonist.
With a relatively short run time and tracklist reminiscent of classic afrobeat releases, and an enchanting level of creative musicianship, Mike Herr's "Blue Western Palace" is a jewel in the mud of rhythm that pushes forward unprecedented ideas and the persona that tames them."
-Julio Prato, Grownup Music.
Listen to more Mike Herr: mikeherr.bandcamp.com