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

Hodgo88

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Also his musical tastes are quirky. Dont know another guy that claims to listen to the Beatles and Taylor Swift.

No true Scotsman, I'm sure. But I am a guy, and I like them both. And the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Gary Numan, and Gojira, and Waylon Jennings, and so on and so forth. Life's too short to obsess over a single genre, or in this example to sides of the same pop music coin.
 

StrangerNY

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"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 use EZDrummer, but I actually play everything on an Alesis SamplePad to program it.

I don't think I've ever used any of Toontrack's pre-programmed MIDI stuff. Way back in the day a songwriting partner and I used to use a thing called Drum Drops, which were pre-recorded drum tracks on vinyl. After a while you can only use the same drum track a certain number of times before you hate it.

I got to that point with pre-programmed stuff, and I'm always thinking past it to specific fills and cuts that fit what I'm writing.

With drum programming, you get out of it what you put into it. I like actually playing the parts, even if it's on a set of rubber pads.

- D
 

tele_savales

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I don't understand this entire thread. Every single drum-related thread on this forum gets 300 moronic drummer jokes and an equal number of personal stories of the horrors one has to endure as a working professional or a mere hobbyist, by being forced to interact with some non-musician neanderthal, but nobody likes programmed drums, or prepared tracks?
 

StrangerNY

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I don't understand this entire thread. Every single drum-related thread on this forum gets 300 moronic drummer jokes and an equal number of personal stories of the horrors one has to endure as a working professional or a mere hobbyist, by being forced to interact with some non-musician neanderthal, but nobody likes programmed drums, or prepared tracks?

I like 'em both.

- D
 

Toast

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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.
I think there are times when musical innovation hits the doldrums. I remember a time just before punk rock emerged when I couldn't stand most popular music. I never got into the Steve Miller or Peter Frampton era of the seventies. It was a breath of fresh air when that phase came to an end. It feels to me like we're in a similar kind of phase at the moment. If it doesn't feel that way to others, then I suspect those people feel comforted by consuming art in a corporate playpen. Different strokes for different folks. Sprite and Skittles can be everybody's best buddies. Take a look at NASCAR. Some people like it all manufactured and administered to them. They were probably anesthetized back when they bought their first Playstation.
 

Maguchi

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I am so on your side! I use a drum machine to practice with and even lay down tracks to a new song I'm arranging but would never use one for a live performance. A real drummer is "in the moment...

I use a drum machine but I spend a LONG time constructing the songs and making the drums as dynamic as possible. Then I add real percussion...
^^^Ditto, I use a Alesis SR-16 drum machine as a scratch drum part. Depending on the tune, sometimes I'll program an elaborate drum machine part, and other times just use the "canned" preset parts as a click track or metronome as I'm laying down the other tracks. But I will have a live drummer play a human drum track later. All of us, not just drummers will push or lay back on the rhythm just a hair to suit what's going on in the other parts and sometimes that's what is needed.

20210817_204450.jpg
 
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hemingway

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^^^Ditto, I use a Alesis SR-16 drum machine as a scratch drum part. Depending on the tune, sometimes I'll program an elaborate drum machine part, and other times just use the "canned" preset parts as a click track or metronome as I'm laying down the other tracks. But I will have a live drummer play a human drum track later. All of us, not just drummers will push or lay back on the rhythm just a hair to suit what's going on in the other parts and sometimes that's what is needed.

View attachment 984450
Yeah, I'm still using that old beast, too.
 

scottser

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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.

there are some mind blowing clips of drummers who cover aaron funk's venetian snares breakcore beats. they translate as seriously complex and difficult technical pieces. it's cool that a musician can push machine technology and in turn, that pushes musicians to go further in their playing.

 

THX1123

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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.
Fair enough. You are on this forum, so you are probably a musician, and have a well-developed ear and desire for music that has value beyond having the same BPM, key, & hook as 10 other songs (or being based on sampled hooks from other songs) and that has value beyond short-term commercial viability. I suspect you are not the target demo for contemporary mass marketed musical product. Some folks see music as background noise, or something disposable to listen to in the car. They like whatever Pavlovian musical biscuit is popped in their mouth. If that's all they know, and that music is now essentially free, well then that's the actual product that is mass marketed and promoted to them specifically. What's different is that the homogenized nature, the time frame for success, and the mixes are all hyper-compressed.

To quote Bob Pollard of Guided By Voices: "Most of us are quite pleased with the same old song." If a person knows the difference between the musical versions of McDonalds and steak I suggest they would probably prefer steak. Some people have never tasted musical "steak" and may not be able to digest it. Some people just like McDonalds more than steak. That doesn't make McDonald's better.

My last GF consumed "the flavor of the week" hyper-produced and disposable pop music. She often called me a snob because I would ask her why she liked it, and sometimes what the songs meant. It was easier to call me a snob than answer to those questions.

I guess the test of time will be the only one that matters. I suspect the "disposable pop" of the past, like Motown, British Invasion, Surf, Punk, quality Disco, the New Romantics, Synthpop, Hair Metal, Grunge, etc. will be part of the musical and cultural lexicon far longer into the future than W.A.P. or Fancy Like Applebees will.
 

buster poser

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I guess the test of time will be the only one that matters. I suspect the "disposable pop" of the past, like Motown, British Invasion, Surf, Punk, quality Disco, the New Romantics, Synthpop, Hair Metal, Grunge, etc. will be part of the musical and cultural lexicon far longer into the future than W.A.P. or Fancy Like Applebees will.
We can check back on that suspicion, but my guess is it'll look as silly as all the other selective lionizations of the past against whatever is emblematic of garbage in the present. Popular trope... "jungle music" versus jazz. Right Said Fred versus Kraftwerk. The Archies versus the Beatles. Nirvana versus real punk. Been hearing it awhile. What we remember from any decade/genre is the good stuff, and what people overwhelmingly focus as a matter of complaint in the present is ephemeral and gone tomorrow.

Hair metal longevity? Okay.
 

KelvinS1965

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I use a drum machine but I spend a LONG time constructing the songs and making the drums as dynamic as possible. Then I add real percussion.

Even so, I reckon I might just learn drums. It would be a hell of a lot easier than fighting a machine.
I used to do this, with a Roland R5 'Human' drum machine and it would take weeks to program a song up. Even then it was a bit too rigid. Eventually I bought a Roland TD30 kit (well budget creep and all that..) and now I use the R5 to lay down a 'click track', record my guitar parts and vocals, etc then overdub 'real' drums. I think the results are much better, even though I'm not a pro drummer by any means.
 

Thoughtfree

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For percussion on my computer recordings, sometimes I make my own sounds - claps, tambourine, whacking a cardboard box - and loop them. Or maybe record a kick drum off a website like this one: https://www.musicca.com/drums

The way I see it, why should I bother trying to imitate what a good drummer can do in just a few minutes? A low sound, a high sound, a backbeat sound, that's normally all I need. The focus on my recordings is on my guitar playing anyway.
 

THX1123

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We can check back on that suspicion, but my guess is it'll look as silly as all the other selective lionizations of the past against whatever is emblematic of garbage in the present. Popular trope... "jungle music" versus jazz. Right Said Fred versus Kraftwerk. The Archies versus the Beatles. Nirvana versus real punk. Been hearing it awhile. What we remember from any decade/genre is the good stuff, and what people overwhelmingly focus as a matter of complaint in the present is ephemeral and gone tomorrow.

Hair metal longevity? Okay.
The cream rises to the top, true, but perhaps there is a reason some of the music from the past was cream, and that's kinda what this thread is chasing?

Maybe the difference between now and similar situations in the past is that many people can feel that something is missing instead of just being generational, overly critical, or curmudgeonly.

Time will indeed tell. We haven't exactly escaped Hair Metal and it's been 30 years, whereas one encounters other "pop" music forms from that era less frequently - like Milli Vanilli or NKOTB. I'd suggest that Milli Vanilli and NKOTB were both examples of that exact thing that has become so pervasive. I personally could live without 95% of Hair Metal, Milli Vanilli, or NKOTB, but Poison and Bon Jovi probably just won't go away anytime soon.

Do you think Right Said Fred's confusing continued relevance is probably down their hit being continually placed in movies...otherwise it would likely just be another Disco Duck? It is arguably a pastiche of itself, a superlative example of vapid disposable pop, and if that is true then isn't that irony what makes it relevant?
 

buster poser

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The cream rises to the top, true, but perhaps there is a reason some of the music from the past was cream, and that's kinda what this thread is chasing?

Maybe the difference between now and similar situations in the past is that many people can feel that something is missing instead of just being generational, overly critical, or curmudgeonly.

Time will indeed tell. We haven't exactly escaped Hair Metal and it's been 30 years, whereas one encounters other "pop" music forms from that era less frequently - like Milli Vanilli or NKOTB. I'd suggest that Milli Vanilli and NKOTB were both examples of that exact thing that has become so pervasive. I personally could live without 95% of Hair Metal, Milli Vanilli, or NKOTB, but Poison and Bon Jovi probably just won't go away anytime soon.

Do you think Right Said Fred's confusing continued relevance is probably down their hit being continually placed in movies...otherwise it would likely just be another Disco Duck? It is arguably a pastiche of itself, a superlative example of vapid disposable pop, and if that is true then isn't that irony what makes it relevant?
Right, the cream rises (only from the past apparently), we forget the garbage, continue criticizing "today's music" as a whole and don't seem to note the disconnect when the cream of our own time invariably rises in common conceptions.

The point is that there's been "good music today" throughout my five decades of life, but self-appointed serious-music-people can't seem to find anything to like until it's 20-30-40 years old, from the era when literally everything on radio was high art or something.
 

THX1123

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Right, the cream rises (only from the past apparently), we forget the garbage, continue criticizing "today's music" as a whole and don't seem to note the disconnect when the cream of our own time invariably rises in common conceptions.

The point is that there's been "good music today" throughout my five decades of life, but self-appointed serious-music-people can't seem to find anything to like until it's 20-30-40 years old, from the era when literally everything on radio was high art or something.
I'll suggest that people have always criticized "today's music" - sometimes even credibly. I'll also agree that it is not always possible to know, in the moment, what will stand the test of time and what won't. That said, the cream analogy is apt. When you milk a cow the cream is not on top, it is still part of the milk. When someone mechanically milks a cash cow and sells you watered-down powdered milk it can be glaringly obvious if you've tasted cream. I think you (you!) know it when you hear it.

I am curious about who the self-appointed serious music people you speak of are - old guys on guitar forums, or people who have developed taste? How much music that is "garbage" did you sniff out in your 5 decades the first time you heard it? I bet a lot.

I am 55 & I am hoping Viagra Boys' new album is as good as their first, and I am stoked to go see Aldous Harding at the Cat's Cradle next month. They ain't promoting that garbage on Big Pop or in commercials.

Try and make it through this future timeless classic:

 

chris m.

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I think the medium has a big effect on how hits are constructed. Recordings now make money by going viral, which requires a huge meme-y hook within the first 20 seconds that can be turned into thousands of Tik-Tok videos. That’s why they often arrange with the banging chorus starting the song.

The Internet taketh away, but it also giveth. I can listen to obscure music from all over the world with just a couple of clicks of my mouse. I don’t have to spend a penny.

I’m most impressed with musician’s musicians like Cory Wong who accept current business realities and use YouTube and social media with tremendous success without compromising their musical vision in any way.

Media Video streaming is the same. You get crap reality shows, but you also get “peak TV” like Breaking Bad. More chaff, but more wheat, too.
 




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