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Re: Re: Drum machine

Matt Davignon wrote:

"For performances, I usually recommend AGAINST using a drum machine.
I've yet to see a show with a drum machine playing pre-composed
rhythms, where I didn't think the show would've been better without
the drum machine. (No beats is better than canned beats)."

It's funny Matt, but as a professional drummer, I'm supposed to be the guy 
who really hates drum machines,  especially,  repeating one or two bar 
static grooves 
but, in fact,  I love it when people are really creative about using 
static drum machine parts.

For some reason,  I love that this approach is not human..............that 
it is static 
and artificial.

In fact,  I've found that the more minimalistic a drum machine part is and 
the louder 
it is in the mix,  the more interesting I find it in the composition.  A 
drum beat with no 
variation doesn't have a lot of natural 'energy' so I find that you can 
actually add some energy 
by calling attention to the fact that it IS static and unchanging.

Also,  by having only a single bar length (or possibly two) and by being 
extremely minimal 
it actively engages the mind of the listener to 'contribute' rhythm to a 
piece in much the same 
way that an incredibly simple but funky bass line can sometimes make 
people 'hear' other syncopations 
in a part.   Faced with abject minimalism from a sensory standpoint,  the 
human brain 'makes up' things.
Sometimes, in this way,  having only one single 16th note offbeat in a two 
bar rhythm of otherwise 
8th note grooves (any of Parliament/Funkadelic's drummers) can actually be 
a much funkier approach than putting in a zillion offbeats (David 
Garibaldi style).

Also, the juxtaposition of the different kinds of artificial timbres that 
are possible 
with a drum machine (especially analogue and synthetic/found sounds) 
playing a one bar loop, 
and the fact that it's feel is so rigid 
and mechanical with real and expressive and nuanced playing that one could 
never get from even a 
cleverly programmed drum machine by a human being makes for a really 
delicious set of possibilities.

If it's done cleverly, aesthetically, and extremely minimally I think it 
a kind of energy to a piece that rivals just pure playing.

But then, again,  statically playing repetitive interlocking grooves is 
why I love live looping.

I was telling Mogli (Eric DeArantanha) during a Rhythm Intensive lesson 
today,  that though I appreciate 
the use of feedback in many loopers performances that I still haven't run 
out of ideas using 
the mere stacking and processing and dubbing of static, feedback-less 
parts (my brother, Matthias Grob 
is now rolling in his grave,  and he's still living).

 I guess that what makes art so compelling is that there is a lot of room 
for all different kinds of passions and approaches to making music.

I sure love what you do,  my friend.    That's a fact, for sure.

yours,   Rick Walker