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Harrison Haynes and Casey Cook: LRLL RLRR

As mentioned earlier, Harrison Haynes and Casey Cook took to the street-front windows of Branch Gallery Outpost to perform "LRLL RLRR" for two hours Friday night. The event served as a sort-of capstone to Cook's Boom Boom Crash, which closes tonight.

The performance drew attention to a lot of aspects of drumming that usually go unnoticed, accomplishing the project's stated goals including "The beauty in monotony, especially with regard to drum beats" and "Drumming as a social, collaborative practice rather than a solo practice." Each drummer's different style came out. Notably, Hayne's drumming seemed to be more in his hands. Cook relied more on her whole arm, showing more motion in the wrist and grasping the drum stick much higher.

At the start of the drumming, a band of skateboarders was using the brick-paved Orange Street in downtown Durham, but left within the first half hour of the performance. The remaining audience was a small crowd of two or three locals talking and brown plastic-bagging it and a reporter from the N&O filming the performance. Haynes and Cook, meanwhile, started varying the speed of their drumming, working in perfect sync, with a much slower beat coming in at the end of the first hour.

At 6 p.m., the two took a break. When the pair of artists/drummers emerged, Haynes announced, "I feel like I'm on drugs." Cook calmly lit a cigarette. But the intermission was short as Cook and Haynes returned to their drums.

The crowd grew larger in the second hour--now incorporating two dogs, more locals, Nasher curator Trevor Schoonmaker and two of Branch's owners. Watching the two drummers as darkness set in became more and more interesting. Both would occasionally break from their trance and bring their whole head and body into the drumming. But these moments were fleeting as they would quickly fall back into the hypnosis that was the repetitive motion of the drum beat.

As the two hours neared their end, one of Hayne's sticks went flying, and he seamlessly whipped out another, without missing a beat. The beat started to dramatically slow down. When the final drum stick hit the snare, both drummers disappeared into the the darkness of the Outpost, seemingly exhausted. The drum sets--one red, one yellow--remained in the storefront, dimly lit, like a work of art themselves.

Cook and Haynes soon came outside and were met with applause. They were discussing "hallucinating sounds." What was a performance for the crowd was obviously very different for the drummers, but drumming will likely never be the same for anyone on Orange Street last night.

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