Antonio Sanchez‘ acclaimed drum score for last year‘s Birdman movie has alerted a wider audience up to how expressive all-percussion music can be. This album features a dozen pieces composed by the 79-year-old Swiss percussion marvel Pierre Favre for his DrumSights quartet. Favre made an ECM album called Singing Drums in 1984, and he still leads groups that layer multiple rhythms with a warmth and vocal-toned naturalness that hides their astonishing complexity. Brushes-dominated pieces are ruthlessly badgered by bass-drum booms and woody tappings; deep fusions of conga and tom-tom rhythms ring and chime with metallic upper sounds; rubbery, racing-heart rhythms are pursued by thundering hooves; and there are byzantine conversations on taxing meters like the 5-6-5-5 pattern of the brittle, chattery Pow Wow. Every track has character, but the almost 10-minute Games (originally written for the African djembe), a mix of soft and hard sounds, martial, sensuous, relaxed or breakneck grooves, could be a sampler for the whole remarkable venture.
John Fordham, The Guardian, 11 August 2016