Amid the Noise
Formed at Yale and based in Brooklyn, Sō Percussion has become the nation’s premier percussion ensemble over the last twenty years. The meeting of four all-around talents with four different specialties—steel-drum expert Josh Quillen, marimba and piano buff Adam Sliwinski, drum-set technician Jason Treuting, and saw-bower Eric Cha-Beach—the quartet has sustained the postmodern percussion ensemble repertoire faithfully while adding to it inestimably in commissions and collaborations that cut across the classical and popular divide, from Steve Reich, Caroline Shaw, and David Lang to The National, Dirty Projectors, and Shara Nova.
The ensemble’s sprawling discography includes records for Nonesuch, Cantaloupe, Thrill Jockey, Brassland, and New Amsterdam, and this catalog is not limited to music written by others. Sō Percussion is also an ambitious composing unit that explored former coal mining communities in Durham County, England, on From Out a Darker Sea and scored the famed contemporary dance choreographer’s Shen Wei’s Undivided/Divided.
Sō’s journey as composers began in 2006, when they released their first original work, Treuting’s twelve-part suite for prepared pitched percussion, Amid the Noise. Comparing it to Reich, whom Sō had paid his due with an acclaimed distillation of the minimalist landmark Drumming, All About Jazz called it “a remarkably beautiful and atmospheric work” that “revolves around pulses ranging from direct to barely perceptible.” Sō expands with an all-star lineup from elsewhere at Big Ears to put a fresh shine on this cornerstone of their creativity.