Glenn Kotche

Mobile (Nonesuch Records)

It's a tough sell, the solo album by the drummer. Recall the excruciating careers of Ringo Starr, Peter Criss and Phil Collins. Dave Grohl nearly made the leap, but these days he's channeling Bob Seger. Thankfully, Glenn Kotche, Wilco's percussionist, understands that there's a reason why he doesn't need a mic: He's a drummer. On Mobile, a collection of his recent compositions, Kotche draws from Steve Reich's minimal loops, Nigerian rhythmatist Tony Allen's tribal frenzies and the experimental electronics of Nobukazu Takemura. Intertwined are dots of melody and a deep respect for silence. Bits of Mobile recall the haunting Carl Orff piece used in Terrence Malick's Badlands; others are like peyote-induced hallucinations. The centerpiece is "Monkey Chant," an eleven-minute nod to another Nonesuch Records release, the 1969 field recording of Balinese ritual music, Golden Rain. If it all sounds a bit heady, fear not. A couple parts sound like Peter Criss' monster drum solo on Kiss Alive II, and Kotche never meanders too far from a sticky rhythm. In other words, if you smoke a big fat doobie and kick this fucker up to full volume, it'll sound ripe.