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REVIEW: GREG SHEEHAN - THE LIFE OF MY TIME
The Life Of My Time

Greg Sheehan
The Life Of My Time

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Anje West, BEMAC

Percussionist doesn't really do justice to the kind of musician he is. With his propensity for experimentation, exploration on all sorts of instruments, tuned and un-tuned, man-made and earth-made, he is firmly in the realm of Australia's great musical innovators.


John Shand, SMH

Predictability…. is not a word which happily cohabits with the spirited, resourceful Sheehan

Mandy Nolan, Echo

Master drummer, Greg Sheehan,  performs wild drum rhythms on more than 10 different drums from around the globe.

The beat, Tweed shire Echo

Greg Sheehan is legendary, particularly amongst fellow musicians. He is and always has been a lot more than a drummer. Early on Greg deviated from being just a kit and sticks man, and became a percussionist. Right now his first instrument is the humble tamborine.

Jimmy Willing

This has to be seen and heard to be believed. Greg Sheehan's orchestra pit is a child's toy box and just how he gets those sounds out of kids toys no-one knows. What this man can do with a rubber crocodile will make your jaw drop. In his own words, Greg "rhythmatises" his toys and "rhythmatises" his audience....



Talkiní the Drum

For those of you unfamiliar with Greg Sheehan, let me simply say that
Greg is respected by the musical community as having pioneered many
exciting and magical rhythmic phenomena. He is a folk music legend.
Bands he has led or played in include 'Coolangubra', 'Utungan
Percussion' and more recently 'Skin' and 'The circle of
rhythm'.





Carlo Santone, BLUE KING BROWN
 
Greg Sheehan’s is one of the rare artists who continues to forge an original and exciting musical sound and culture in a world where originality is rare to come by. He’s a master percussionist, sound and rhythm inventor, Greg has been a true mentor and major inspiration to many people across the globe, and I am extremely grateful to be one of those people!



John Shand, (Of Circle of Rhythm) SMH 2009

Percussionists Greg Sheehan, [ Bobby Singh and Ben Walsh, who have coalesced from diverse but overlapping musical backgrounds (ranging across jazz, Indian, African, funk and more),] can swathe their music in a halo of magic.

The self-effacing, warm-spirited Sheehan is the do-anything man, whose speciality is making a mountain of music out of a modest tambourine. Although this instrument has a sophisticated tradition in Egypt, it is more generally considered primitive and limited. Sheehan's astounding musicality sweeps such perceptions aside in seconds. He controls the pitch to create little melodic contours, while generating such a wealth of simultaneous texture as to simulate a kit-drummer or three percussionists.

Sheehan, too, added to the melodic content with a relation of the steel drum, played with the fingers to create an ethereal, heat-hazy sound, like a steel drum heard across a desert.




Matt Hill for Village Journal, Dec 2009
In what must surely be one of the richest regions in Australia for musical prowess Greg Sheehan manages to loom large. His technical facility is immense but technique alone doesn’t make interesting music. More important is his idiosyncratic approach to music making which is captured with great clarity on this new album. Greg utilises a veritable smorgasbord of sound making devices including children’s toys, tambourines, Vietnamese jaws harp, electric guitars, jerry cans, body percussion, vocals and the Swiss instrument the Hang (pronounced ‘hung’). The latter is utilised on the haunting and hypnotic opening track “Laura”. (The pitched notes of this piece are C, D, Eb, G and Ab – for the musicians out there, go try improvising something with those notes and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed).

For many years Greg has explored an additive approach to rhythms whereby odd beat groupings are added together to form longer rhythmic cycles. For example in “Paw Paw” a 32 beat cycle is divided into beat grouping of 9, 9, 9 and 5. In the wonderful “Gring”, 32 beats are divided in groups of 11, 11 and 10 (helped along by a doofy kick drum at times). On the CD cover Greg provides rhythm notes for each track. It can be challenging to actually hear how some of these rhythms are realised, particularly with the multiple layers of sounds - I’m still struggling with the 7, 7, 1 combination that gives a 15/16 time signature in “Strange Fruits”. However, I find the playful and comfortable way Greg navigates these complex rhythms overcomes any sense that this is just an intellectual exercise.

This music has rich percussive textures that traverse worldly-folk-hip-hop-fusion genres. For those of you who have had the pleasure of hearing him play, imagine Greg Sheehan playing with a few other Greg Sheehans and you start to get the idea.