Drumming and Sculpture

As I see it, there is a correlation between drumming and sculpture, and this goes beyond the fact that drums and sculpture share predominant physicality within their respective art forms. There is rhythm in sculpture, and there is structure in drumming. Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Max Roach, Bernard Purdie, Buddy Miles, Ginger Baker, Stewart Copeland, Phil Collins, and John Bonham, among countless others, were all builders. With his drumming for instance, John Bonham had the enormity in his energy and technique, to potentially flood through each open space of a song like molten steel — though what he did was render his approach to a song with taste, invention, and restraint — coming in with murderous flourishes amongst intricately built structures.

I perceive the drum beat, as an audible mark in space, being the building block fractal from which rhythmic patterns are created, overlaid, and solidified. When I listen to drums, I visualize form as wholesome morsels being chopped into space — reflexive coordination spinning webs of successive beats organized in time. Every drum pattern, in a sense, encapsulates a full line of thought that is transmitted through innate rhythm, technique, and craftsmanship. As with sculpture, within its expression, a drum pattern has elements of design, symmetry and asymmetry, along with negative space in relation to that which is articulated: the beats. With drumming, one can hear this negative space rather than see it. In listening, it becomes clear to understand how that which is not articulated is equal and integral to that which is, and it reveals itself as the functioning framework against which the drum pattern is built. The shape of a bowl, for instance, fundamentally encompasses both its physical form and the interior space that its shape creates. Just as a tree is comprised of its trunk, branches, stems, and leaves; yet is at once structured by the spaces between all of its form to create its total magnificence. Spaces and contours hold physical form in place; and inherently create relationships within and around form, thereby contributing resonance to the overall object or group of objects. As with the spaces between drums beats in a drum pattern, the spaces and contours of articulated form cooperatively pronounce the rhythm in sculpture.

Josh Nusbaum, November 2014.