Todd Rittman of U.S. Maple & Singer Forms D. Rider

Todd Albert Rittmann- for the Grateful Web

D. Rider is a new rock band founded and fronted by guitarist/singer Todd Albert Rittmann.  Founding member of U.S. Maple, Singer (both Drag City), and Robert Johnson and the Browns, T. Rittmann is also an occasional member of Cheer-Accident and has played with many other avant-music notables including cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and Rhys Chatham.  In March of 2008 Todd recruited a 5-piece band to perform some songs he was working on.  The lineup included keyboardist/cornet player Andrea Faught, who also works with Cheer-Accident, and saxophonist/singer Noah Tabakin, who is a member of punk marching band, Mucca Pazza.  This early show the group performed was enough to convince Rittmann, Faught and Tabakin that they should continue to make music together and collaborate on some recorded material. These songs have become the album Mother of Curses, which will be released on February 17th on Tizona Records.

The album's narrative begins with a mash of rhythmic sound.  Stick clicks, tambourine, bass drum, and the sound of magic marker writing on cardboard all congeal into a coherent boogie only to be suddenly eclipsed by the driving stomp of "Arranged Marriage To No Toms".  The title is an allusion to the minimal drum set-up used throughout the album. Kick, snare, hi-hat, and crash cymbal were the foundation of every song on the record, and every song began with an improvisation on this stripped-down trap set.

The approach to the drums is reflected by the method in the studio.   All the songs were deliberately recorded using 16 tracks or less, making on-the-spot judgment an integral part of the composition process.  This strategy doesn't rule out excess, instead it forces a commitment to a sound or gesture before the end result is completely understood. Imperfection becomes advantage, and the writing of a song becomes an evolution where the last step is a direct result of the journey.

In contrast to the constraints maintained in writing and recording, the kitchen sink approach was used in every other aspect of generating and manipulating the sounds.   While modern technology is employed to a degree in the capturing of the music, much more primitive means were used in the processing.  Much of the equipment used on Mother Of Curses is at least 20 year-old technology. Cassette tape, cell phone, reel to reel, and stockpile of obsolete outboard gear were employed to capture and mutilate a variety of instrumentation from harmonica to spray paint.  But don't be mislead, this is not experimental art noise. This is rock music.

D. Rider plans to play some shows in and around their native Chicago before the release of Mother of Curses, and embark on a North American tour in the early months of 2009.  Although T. Rittmann plays drums on the album, D. Rider has enlisted the help of Theo Katsounis (A Tundra, Locks) to drum for their upcoming shows.

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1 Comment

gilberto's picture

nice pic of al johnson and mark shippy

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