In 2001, I heard a song that would change my appreciation of the drum game for good. That song was Mastering the List on the Drive Thru Records compilation, Welcome to the Family. And of course the band was the RX Bandits.
Fast forward to today and RX Bandits drummer Chris Tsagakis is still one of my top five favorite drummers of all time. Seven studio albums (8 if you count the live one) later, Chris has ventured into the realm of solo work. An electronic music aficionado, he mixes it with his tight cymbal work, organically echoing snares, and double bass mastery for an experiment title Technology (which actually released in 2006). Take note that he is also an avid painter, and designed the album art as well.
Chris recently shot me an email asking if I’d ever heard of him (to which I laughed), and sent over the self-titled album to me for us to review. Playing it a little over a dozen times through traffic packed highways of Los Angeles, I can report that this album is an absolute joy, albeit a little different to what you may be used to hearing from him. Here were my three favorites.
The second to last track, The Running begins with a rapid progression of futuristic keys, and turns into a vibrant spread of cymbals throughout, with chunks of epic breakdowns starting at about five minutes in. If nothing else, this track proves that Chris’ endurance levels are just as high as they were ten years ago. Keep an ear out for the Nintendo-ish keys towards the last couple minutes of the song.
I’d have to say the most organic track on the album is the third. Named WD-40, it fits perfectly with an introduction of the sounds of a skateboard rolling down the street. Eventually, a transcendent electronic harmony is weaved in. While there isn’t really any drumming to speak of, it was still a lot of fun to listen to. (The well placed board stop towards the middle was pretty badass too!)
My favorite track was number seven; Phantoms (1337). True to its captioned titled, the beat is quite leet indeed. From the get go, it reminded me of a hip hop beat with a Japanese twist. This track had me hooked due to the trademark crisp cymbal hits, and odd timing change-ups. Also, I felt this was the most accessible track to fans of Chris’ work.
From songs that remind you of taking trips to the islands on the track Holiday in Galapagos, to fighting against a fictional RickJames Man on the track Mega Man¸ Technology is a great album for RX Bandits fans, and also for people who want to spice up their music collection with something unique.
No word yet on when he will take this show on the road, but I’m assuming it will be some time after the RX Bandits Farewell Tour (which you can bet your ass we’ll be attending). Grab the album now on iTunes and let us know what you think!
Until next time my friends,