Patrick Wurzwallner: Head Cleaner

This is the third in a daily series of articles taken from Elevate #10. I hope you enjoy the read – and come back tomorrow for more!


Patrick Wurzwallner, hair scraped into the blonde ponytail that appears to be the distinctive tribal mark of an Austrian artist, settles himself at the drums. After the intensity of John Holloway’s opening speech, Patrick promises us a “head cleaner”, a short solo percussion piece. “At the end,” he says, “I would like to invite you to sigh, as relief.”

Silence settles as he adjusts his seat, his sticks. Then, with a slight intake of breath, he raps a singular totemic beat, managing the reverberations with his left hand.

Head slightly shaking from side to side, the bass kick steadily joins. Louder. His left hand doubles the rhythm, pulsing. Then the hands split off in two directions, spiralling frequencies faster and faster.

Rapid blurring climax, both hands in concert again. Now on the one drum, slight, coming close together. Slower. Until just a pulse on the kick drum, like letters on an old typewriter.

One foot keeps up the beat while Patrick prepares pans on the drums skins. Thin tinny clang-tings. A quick one-two on the snare, right arm in the air – and a collective sigh of release.

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at

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