There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Since manning the kit behind the reclusive Talk Talk, indefatigable percussionist Lee Harris has joined with multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and former bandmate Paul Webb to form .O.Rang. As on Talk Talk’s masterpieces Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, the tunes on the duo’s second record are built from improvisations, then scaled back and sculpted into songs. Even Webb’s high, quiet vocals recall those of Talk Talk leader Mark Hollis. But .O.Rang borrows much more heavily from dub and Asian, Indonesian, and African music than did Harris’ former band, creating a sound that’s more a world pop melting pot than anything on the Real World roster. Despite Webb’s varied talentsplaying zin on “Barren,” Chinese violin on “Jalap,” French horn on “Quondam”Fields and Waves is really the percussionist’s record (though Harris, too, is a musical octopus, juggling Thai mouth organ, harmonium, and balalaika, to name a few). Harris’ clangy snare and roto-tom fills are as distinctive as the stickwork of Tony Williams and Can’s Jaki Liebezeit, and he sounds as if the only way he’s going to stop playing a song is if someone knocks him off his chair. Me, I’m gonna glue his butt to his stool, feed him No Doz, and listen to him play until his arms fall off.