William Hooker

William Hooker

The Distance Between Us

Knitting Factory

Drummer/composer William Hooker epitomizes the Knitting Factory “scene” much the same as John Zorn does. Preconceptions, structural boundaries, and even taboos are disregarded. The creative urge is the godhead. William Hooker now delivers one of his most individual musical statements to date with The Distance Between Us , which personifies the term “eclectic.” This album veers from guitar driven noise pop to a free jazz suite with fabulous ease, the sort of seamless gen(r)e splicing that the aforementioned Zorn perfected in his Naked City.

The album begins on a subdued and understated note with “The Gates,” consisting of someone humming and Hooker warming up on drums before bursting into the almost classical majesty of “Pure Imagination.” It’s a dizzy swirl of piano and drums that ends by stumbling into the drum break that signals “Because (Of You) Dimension 1.” “Because (Of You),” for my money, is the thread that holds this record together both conceptually and aesthetically. It is a cover of the new-ish Sonic Youth number, delivered not by rote but in the way that Marc Almond covers songs, as both homage and as an avenue of expanding his own vision. Hooker covers it in straight up rock fashion, TWICE, with a powerful female vocalist by the name of Gisburg and a PJ Harvey feel. He definitely one-upped the Youth on that one. Then Hooker keeps breaking back into the simplistic backbeat of “Because (Of You)” throughout the rest of the album as a teaser, y’know, keep the crowd hungry. I’m sure Kiss used to do it all of the time. There’s a free jazz coup de grace called the Dimension Suite, but by that time I’m too distracted by visions of William Hooker on one of those Tommy Lee leather’n’chains drum kits spinning his drumsticks and launching into his 15th drum solo. And that has nothing to do with anything.

This is an absolutely fearless record. I like that.

Knitting Factory Works, 74 Leonard St., New York, NY 10013

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