Greg Fox’s Contact is an extension and evolution of the multidisciplinary artist’s rigorous, virtuosic sound-making practices. On Contact, the devoted performer, intrepid composer and avid collaborator channels an alchemy of influences and ideas through the kinetic exchange of human and percussive forms. Produced and mixed by Randall Dunn, Contact sees Fox accessing ever more raw and ruminative states, processing the tumult of sentience into stick-hit-drum.
2017’s The Gradual Progression introduced Fox’s synergistic relationship with Sensory Percussion music technology, a conspiratorial force in developing his gestural jazz and metal mathematics into four-limbed polyphony. With Dunn tasked to further Fox’s gradual progress, the two focused their combined energy on the intricacies of sound design during an intense, immersive recording process. On the other end of the deep dive, the duo had yielded something ritualistic and minimalistic, both building on and stripping back Fox’s previous work while welcoming an honest and cathartic weight and collaboration.
Throughout Contact, melody-blossoming rhythm patterns are interceded by straight, unadorned drumming. The album grows silence into sound with its opener, Vedana, a clamor of tuned percussion ringing out into space. By its third entry, the palpating Contact (sukha and somanassa), we are transported to an intimate situation, as if sitting on the drummer’s throne. Fox’s mesmeric playing is both technically impactful and electrically spontaneous from this vantage, which we return to again with a brusquer Contact (dukkha and domanassa) and its liberated conclusion Contact (upekkhā).
Transformative manifestations of interior states are released between, in the epic rise and fall of Arising and Passing and From the Cessation of What, where melodics arrive in spurts before flowing freely along with barreling percussion. And then there’s the slow deliberation of Calming the Bodily Formation, a simple resounding ostinato stabilizing fervent energies. Contact was delivered during a period of intense creative, emotional and spiritual growth.
Fox takes the concept of sensation and pushes it beyond its technical potential into philosophical realms. While a reference to the instrumental impact, Contact also embodies the phenomenon of sensation in lived experience, and Buddhist notions about painful and pleasant physical and mental sensations, from which one may be liberated through internal process. We are offered a close, confidential perspective on this process through Contact, as Fox works through the impact before us.