More on Ilimaq by Ben Reimer<< back to the composer essay project
The first thing to know about Ilimaq is that it is an hour solo of pretty much constant rolling on drums and cymbals. Dynamics go up and down and rhythms fluctuate between extreme speeds and slow booms, taking the audience and performer through a hypnotic voyage. It is like nothing I’ve ever played before, combining physical and mental endurance with meditative inner focus.
The performance at Modulus this year will only be my second time playing it for an audience, the first being for Open Ears Festival in Kitchener, Ontario in 2018. I can say that the moment I finished the last quiet bowing on the bell cymbals during the final seconds of the piece, I was trying to find an opportunity to play it again. Preparation for a piece like this requires both extreme physical and mental training, and in such an intimate way (just me and my drums), the music and performance reflects my entire being (inside and out) unlike any piece I’ve done before. While I haven’t played the work for over a year now, it has stayed with me, and I think about it often. I’d say I crave playing it.
As a percussionist, of course I love my “gear” – the cymbals and drums that I play. For this piece, Sabian Cymbals has made me a custom set of over 15 cymbals that I’ll be playing. They were selected to blend with the audio track (made by the composer John Luther Adams) that I am playing along to during the performance. They are stunning!
I can’t wait to take the Modulus audience on this journey with me.
Ben Reimer. August 2019. Montreal, QC.
Ben Reimer is a leading figure in contemporary drumset performance. He holds a Doctor of Music and teaches percussion at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University and is a member of Architek Percussion Quartet (Montreal) and Park Sounds duo. You can learn more about his work at benreimer.com.