I Miss Real Drums, Rhythmic Variation, Song Dynamics . . .

loopfinding

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Exactly. Drum machines sound like drum machines. If you use them like that, it's all good.

Yeah, in the same way player piano is “kind of neat,” and certainly doesn’t replace a real player, but like Conlon Nancarrow is “wow” or “wtf.”

Musical innovations get put out as a functional solution to a problem but continuously get subverted by users. Look at the guitar, exhibit A - amplification was a functional introduction into the market (for loudness purposes) but became its own aesthetic thing for different reasons.
 

Toast

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Don't let my thread title throw you off. I love drum machines, especially in the hands of a good percussionist/drummer. It's the set it and forget it aspect of drum machines that characterizes a lot of pop music these days that leaves me cold. Also, I know there is great music out there, but I find it more difficult to get to it than it was in the past. That could be because I'm not as connected to people who consume music like I was in the past, but I also didn't have the internet in the past. That makes it difficult to figure out whether there just isn't as much good music, meaning music that I like, than there was in the past.

My point about real drums was more about missing the pleasure of listening to great drummers (George Hurley, Stewart Copeland, Steve Gadd, Ed Blackwell, Art Blakey, Alan Myers . . .). I listen to drummers more than I do guitar players, to be honest. The drums are the foundation of my pleasure in music. The enjoyment of hearing a good drummer just seems to be harder to find these days.

 
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Teleposer

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I've been stuck trying to figure out why contemporary pop music, in large part, doesn't interest me. For awhile I suspected that I was just getting old and conservative in my taste. However, I sort of knew that wasn't the case, but I couldn't really express why. Today I discovered this video while I was drinking coffee. I think Beato sums up a lot of the problems with the state of pop music.



I think if you have feelings that are only put in to perspective by Mr. Rick, then well, what can anyone say?

Please keep listening to Mr. Beato. He is a genius for sure.

He leads the lost souls to where they need to go.

Thankyou for sharing this insight with us. All our lives will be richer. Some of us might even start following Mr. Rick himself. That would be good.

And anyone who disagrees is most certainly a 'hater'.
 

1955

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I used the electronic drum beats to write songs because I spent all hours recording demos and writing, and our drummer had to sleep some time.

They also worked well for novelty and parody songs, and for practicing the guitar.

Click tracks are a can of worms, sometimes good, though.

I have a friend that ran in the same scene with folks like Prince and R Kelly, etc. and he was a Linn devotee.

I had a small gizmo called Synsonic drums in the early ‘80’s, and I used to have a soft spot for the 808, but over the last couple of years I’ve written off entire genres like contemporary pop, hip hop, modern country, etc., because of how the people (in my experience) that listen to it behave by and large. Oh well.
 

msalama

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And oh, speaking of drum machines, I once met a guy who called Phil Rudd "The Human Drum Machine". We then mulled over his (superficially incorrect) characerization for a while, and came to the conclusion that PR's actually just that, and yet at the same time, absolutely anything but. Now someone give me a plugin doing what Phil does, and I'll never suffer a live drummer again :D
 

THX1123

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The really puzzling thing as has been said here repeatedly during multiple iterations of "boo drum machines and also the pop music" threads is that the most narrow slice of music we all seek is out there and more accessible to us, the prospective listener, than ever. I promise that whatever specific blue/country/soul/rawk itch you have is out there being scratched, likely by some 25yo who stumbled onto Sam & Dave or Bob Wills via the Internet.

Who cares what's popular or on the radio? If we want to listen to good music, however we define that, we should go find it, no? Indicting "today's music" broadly marks one as an ignoramus who approaches music so passively they can't be bothered to use a search field or try anything new beyond what is fed to them/the genres & artists they liked age 17-25. Gotta say it's hard to take opinions from such folks very seriously.
Depends on how you measure, and also on who the industry celebrates and chooses to reward in their cheesy awards shows and charts. The industry populates its charts and the radio playlists with the kind of music being discussed here. If you are a very casual consumer of music your perception and appreciation of music might be compromised by consuming an ironically more and more limited number of disposable products rather than art.

I agree people can find all kinds of music. I don't think drum machines are the culprit despite the opinions of some others. I love Kraftwerk and SeeFeel and other music of that type. These are just tools. When the tools and a formula become more important than the song we end up here.

Another difference is that so much choice has arguably made music less valuable. The industry failed to adapt and evolve, and so it has arguably become more important to make and push soulless disposable earworms than to sign and nurture artists who create music with greater meaning.
 

THX1123

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They also don't puke on your carpet and THEN hit on your girlfriend.

Just sayin'.

:rolleyes:
Or want a vocal mic that is open the whole show blasting the snare even louder than it is.

My friend told me the snare developed to be heard over the din and gunfire on a battlefield. Yes, we want that onstage please.

But seriously...I do love a good snappin' snare drum.
 

Toast

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I think if you have feelings that are only put in to perspective by Mr. Rick, then well, what can anyone say?

Please keep listening to Mr. Beato. He is a genius for sure.

He leads the lost souls to where they need to go.

Thankyou for sharing this insight with us. All our lives will be richer. Some of us might even start following Mr. Rick himself. That would be good.

And anyone who disagrees is most certainly a 'hater'.
By the way, I'm not a huge Beato fan. I check in with different media to see what's going on- even the get off my lawn crowd on this forum. I just happened on his boomer music rant and agreed with a lot of it. Much of the music Beato likes I can't stand, but I do respect his musical/music production knowledge. I like learning, even from people whose taste runs counter to my own.
 

micpoc

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I heard this remix somebody did of Prince' "When doves Cry" and he added a Four-on-the-floor drum beat and wondered aloud why, in his own words, "It altered the song's feel."


"When Doves cry" has a drum computer, a Linn Drum to be exact, but this being PRINCE, he made it so that it played a complex and highly dynamic part. Adding a four-on-the-floor beat takes away all those dynamics which Prince was so masterful at producing.

These days, it's all about taking a hook and repeating it over and over, so people can dance and chant along with it. Sadly, that also means that when those artists take a well known song and cover it, they decide to forgo everything that made the original song musically interesting.

BUT both S-Express and Dee-Lite DID put dynamics and variation in their songs, something that the current music scene is very much lacking.


it is and it isn’t. the platonic ideal of rhythmic accuracy or regularity is very human. it’s just not achievable by the body to the degree we have designed machines - that's why machines are interesting:



a drum machine is not a true replacement for a drummer. you shouldn't write for a drum machine like a drummer (although the opposite of writing for a drummer like a drum machine has a pretty cool uncanny effect, as the minimalists found out after playing with tape machines or synthesizers).

there doesn't need to be an either/or here. trying to make a drum machine a drummer or digitally edit real drumming for perfection is just a misapplication of the technology.


I've always loved played rhythm. Live, loose, wild, or crazy tight pockets. There's something about people playing in crazy tight pockets though, it's not just machanically on time, because I've never heard programming get there. It's not just accuracy.

So I get burned out quick on electronic rhythm. But sometimes it's cool.

But you know what is not ever cool? Software drums that sound like a real, generic rock drummer.
It's a robot girlfriend.
I might like your home recorded song in spite of it, but it's yucky. I'd much rather hear you bang a tamburine and some lumber, to a click if you must, or just sound like kraftwerk.
Or make hip hop.
They didn't have drummers, and they made it cool, not fake.

"Drum machine" is also a bit of a red herring. Since that kind of thing is mostly done (if it's done) via DAW now vs some discrete unit, if it sounds rigid, it's because they want it to. What is possible in software is pretty amazing in terms of 'loosening' the feel. My guess is that most of the patterns with any of the .agr/"Grooves" quantizations applied that Ableton ships with would (and probably does) fool the overwhelming majority of us.

I think there may be a bit of an "uncanny valley" effect going on here. When we hear something that is CLEARLY synthetic drums—be it Prince or Kraftwerk or whoever—we accept that the rigidity and flat dynamics are part and parcel with the instrument playing it. But when we hear genuine acoustic drums that have been quantized to a degree that may be even more rigid than some vintage drum machines, it can be off-putting to the point of revulsion.

Perhaps younger generations are so used to it that it fails to have the same effect on them.
 
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micpoc

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Yeah, in the same way player piano is “kind of neat,” and certainly doesn’t replace a real player, but like Conlon Nancarrow is “wow” or “wtf.”

Musical innovations get put out as a functional solution to a problem but continuously get subverted by users. Look at the guitar, exhibit A - amplification was a functional introduction into the market (for loudness purposes) but became its own aesthetic thing for different reasons.
I discovered Nancarrow in the mid-90s and recently re-listened to some of it and, have to say, it's the lack of dynamics that made it almost unpleasant. Fascinating stuff, though.
 

buster poser

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Depends on how you measure, and also on who the industry celebrates and chooses to reward in their cheesy awards shows and charts. The industry populates its charts and the radio playlists with the kind of music being discussed here. If you are a very casual consumer of music your perception and appreciation of music might be compromised by consuming an ironically more and more limited number of disposable products rather than art.

I agree people can find all kinds of music. I don't think drum machines are the culprit despite the opinions of some others. I love Kraftwerk and SeeFeel and other music of that type. These are just tools. When the tools and a formula become more important than the song we end up here.

Another difference is that so much choice has arguably made music less valuable. The industry failed to adapt and evolve, and so it has arguably become more important to make and push soulless disposable earworms than to sign and nurture artists who create music with greater meaning.
I dunno man. Channels like Western AF exist to name one of dozens that scratch pretty narrow itches. I don't think anyone I've seen on that channel is signed (major label).

Apple Music/Spotify will queue up some act I've never heard of (The Country Side of Harmonica Sam, as yesterday) after I play something by Hank or Bob and then I find out the act is some independent artist with barely even a cult following. That or it'll just flip over to "Songs for Rounders," an album by a dead guy who doesn't move a lot units in 2022.

If the great music industry powers are pushing me toward crap they're doing a bad job of it. I just believe if someone doesn't like the state of music today they're just being incredibly lazy and willfully ignorant, taking their opinions at second hand and repeating them without much consideration of whether they're necessarily true just because RICK BEATO, SUPERPRODUCER said so.
 
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