Musician and drummer Kārlis Roberts Kalējs has released a debut album "Ode to Becoming", where each track is composed and arranged entirely on drums. He wrote it as the final portfolio during the music studies in the UK last year.
The aim was to experiment with the ability to make music, not just rhythms. The album is a diverse yet cohesive and meditative sonic journey. Inspired by countless jazz drummers and experimental improvisation, in his compositions, the musician uses different drum kit setups, extended techniques and various effects. Throughout the album, there are tracks where Kārlis layers different elements, plays melodies or simply makes it groove.
Drum solo albums are rare and in Latvia "Ode to Becoming" is the first of its kind. The album is a dialogue with drums and the artist says:
Usually, when making music with other people, I communicate through the drums, where with this project I wanted to gain a deeper, much more personal connection with the instrument and learn how to communicate with the drums themselves.
For some compositions, he restricts himself and makes something very minimalistic; for some - quite the opposite. For the best listening experience, a part of the artist’s vision is to encourage people to take a break from everyday rush and listen to the album on headphones in one continuous take without doing anything else.
Zambian guitarist Katuta Sichilongo after listening to the album:
I loved the variety of themes expressed and picked up a wonderful juxtaposition between form and freedom – what they mean and what they could mean. The production was top-tier... There were some sounds in there that I imagined were not a typical parts of the drumkit but added astounding beauty.
Sound engineer James Coates describes his collaboration with Kārlis:
I had never worked on anything like this before. When Kārlis first got in touch with me, his vision of the album very intrigued me and the whole process has been just an incredible experience.
"Ode to Becoming" creative director Tīna Alise Drupa reveals that the concept and the execution of the album inspired her. It broadened her perspective of the drums as a musical instrument.
Previously, the musician has worked on various different projects internationally as a drummer and a producer. Now he continues to do it after returning back to Latvia.