Wally Schnalle: Shouldn't Be That Way


Shouldn't Be That Way


Wally Schnalle (drums, electronics)


The Suit (Retlaw Records RR-4003-2)

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Wally Schnalle (drums, electronics),

Jeff Pittson (keyboards), Jeff Massanari (guitar), Peter Barshay (bass)


Composed by Wally Schnalle


Recorded: Fremont, CA, October 2005


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

I have yet to hear anyone else use electric noise the way Wally Schnalle does. There have been many attempts to incorporate electronic effects into popular music. They almost always fall flat because electronic noise in itself is just not musical. But drummer Schnalle uses static, distortion, dissonance, reverb, and every sound you ever heard in a bad '50s science fiction flick to create compelling music that is part jazz-fusion, part jam band and part old broke-down capacitor. BBROYGBVGW

"Shouldn't Be That Way" is full of sonic anomalies that somehow form both rhythm and melody. The sound effects are a hundred times more evident than in the music of Medeski Martin & Wood. MMW tends to use such sounds, not all of which are electric, to shade its performances. Schnalle uses these sounds to shape them. On this tune, they provide the basis for a lowdown but high-voltage funk groove.

Static does not make music. That's where Schnalle, Massanari, Pittson and Barshay prove they are master electricians. They are superb players who can maneuver through fallen wires and solder their frayed ends. I would be disappointed to learn that the electronic components were added after the quartet recorded their parts. But I would still be impressed with Schnalle's engineering capabilities and imagination. This is 220-volt material.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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