Live From Old York: Jim White, Vijay Venkat, Adriano Adewale & Benjamin Taubkin
Adewale broke each finger down into a separate entity, including a lot of highly dextrous multi-digit pattering, where most percussionists would be content to use their whole hand. He was slapping the calabash at the same time as flicking a screwed-down shaker, then plicking individual plastic cowbell simulacra to create delicate scatterings. Snare drum and cymbal work were severely rationed, and it was as if Adewale was gradually introducing elements of his vocabulary in a carefully controlled flow. He only unleashed his secreted bass drum right at the gig's climax. Meanwhile, Taubkin was collecting his rivulets into a waterfall. One number highlighted Adewale's vocal talents, going beyond the tongue-clicks that were regularly featured, and initiating an audience vocal participation, low, chant-based and tribal in tone.
At the beginning of the first set, there was an initial vibration of complacency, which was thankfully fleeting. A feeling that the music was coasting without much incident. Fortunately it didn't take the duo long to set up a dialogue that soon became taut with unpredictability. It's usually such a feeling of tension that generates a compulsive attention to improvisational activities, no matter how calming their eventual results might be, how organic the current.