A Deal You Can’t Refuse

As I’m putting the finishing touches on Gruss Loops Volume II, I realized I should make you painfully aware of the sweet deal that currently lays before you. You see, since I’m offering the loop packs as a subscription service, there will be over 200 loops available over the course of the next two days. That’s right. You could sign up now, grab Volume I right now AND Volume II in another 24 hours…. all for the rock bottom price of $9.95. You can even cancel after you nab both of the packs. See if I care (you cheap bastard). I know you’ll be back for more.

If you’ve been thinking about subscribing, now’s your chance to get the most for your money. Would you rather have 200 new loops or eat three Big Macs? Seriously, we’re talking 5 cents per loop. You can hardly find gumballs anymore for a fucking nickel. After July 1st, Volume One will go deep into the “archives” and only be available as a back issue. Time is of the essence. What are you waiting for?

Jimmy, VP of ryangruss.com Sales
Jimmy, VP of ryangruss.com Sales

Working It Out

So, I wanted to get back to the experiment that I started with Bob Reynolds a few weeks ago. For those of you just tuning in, Bob and I decided to collaborate together on my loops by bouncing some musical ideas off of each other and building grooves around them. Bob was the first to offer up a track and sent the following rough demo:

[audio:FirstInversion.mp3]
For those of you playing along at home.
Do You Think I Read This?

I opened up Bob’s demo in Logic and started experimenting by tracking different grooves. As you subscribers will recall, this is how I decided to approach the recording:

My initial reaction, I’m feeling this as 12/8. Not necessarily with a traditional funk beat… but something that blurs the lines of afro/jazz and pop music (this sounds like something Sting would really fuck up… but I promise I won’t). If Jeff Porcaro and Art Blakey had a baby, he’d (assuming they had a boy) be my first call for this session.

So with that in mind, I recorded the “main groove” for the track. Taking a “Rosanna” ghost note approach on the snare (along with a halftime backbeat) and one of Art Blakey’s afro/cuban bembe patterns in the right hand, I came up with the following:

The main groove for the A section
[audio:118_hh.mp3]

Maybe some cowbell for the bridge? No jokes allowed.
[audio:118_cb.mp3]

Perhaps some straight-up 4/4 on the coda?
[audio:118_sn.mp3]

Check out more notes, a rough mix along with Bob’s track and a list of our next steps after the jump…

Read more

Not to leave you hanging…

Yes yes, I know I haven’t been cranking out the free loops on a “daily” basis this week. A full refund is in the mail. I promise. You see, things are pretty crazy around “Casa del Gruss” at the moment. We’re currently looking for some new digs (something a little more drummer friendly.. you know, ideally with a barn and a 48 channel Neve console) and I’m finishing up Volume II of Gruss Loops… to be released next week! But fear not, here’s a loop to keep you cheap bastards entertained in the meantime.

man-on-wire

Loop #77

Today’s loop is a good old, “drop it on top of whatever” type of dance beat. You can’t go wrong with a nice bell pattern on the ride, a straight 4/4 beat between the kick and snare and a hefty amount of filtering.

Preview Here:

[audio:122_filterbell.mp3]

Download the Logic session here. (180MB)

Get the .wav file here.

Get the .rx2 file here.

Get the .aiff file here.

122 BPM

YouTube Jam Session

Here’s a good example of what can happen when you’re really bored on a rainy Sunday afternoon. This originally started as a youtube video posted by Bob Reynolds… just him playing Donna Lee a cappella. Then, a few days ago, I saw via Twitter that a guy who goes by the youtube alias, “boobsax”, added a contrabass clarinet part on top (or underneath I should say) of Bob’s original video. Pretty cool, I thought. What a perfect opportunity for me to mess this up.

I recorded a full size screencast of the “duo” version, dropped that into Logic and overdubbed my part, all the while, videotaping everything with the “gruss cam”. I then edited everything back together in FinalCut and re-uploaded to YouTube… as well as Vimeo. The results? Not too bad, especially considering the potential degradation of audio with each overdub. However, a beat did get dropped somewhere along the way (a glitch in one of the earlier videos?) and I had to throw in a bar of 3/4 to make it work… but all in all, a success.

So… who’s next? Let’s make this a quartet. Any guitarist or keyboardist out there willing to step up to the plate?

Update iPhones – You can watch the YouTube video here.

The Day the Cowbell Died

Ever since the infamous SNL skit featuring Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell aired on April 8, 2000, drummers around the world have been forced to endure countless “more cowbell” jokes. Every time you even think about overdubbing some cowbell on a pop song or including it into a latin groove, you can guarantee a slew of tired punchlines and horrible impressions from those around you.

For me, it got so bad that I stopped using a cowbell all together. It just wasn’t worth it. What was once a staple in every drummer’s sonic arsenal, quickly became nothing but a comical clichĂ©

April 8, 2000
April 8, 2000

Loop #76

After listening to Bernard lay down some ultra-funky cowbell in the video I posted yesterday, I decided it was time to bring my own cowbell out of retirement and base a loop around it. It’s part New Orleans, part Hot Chip and a dash of Paul’s Boutique.

Now, don’t even think about making any stupid cowbell jokes in the comment section. I have my finger on the “delete” button and I’m not afraid to use it.

Preview Here:

[audio:96_cowbell.mp3]

Download the Logic session here. (99MB)

Get the .wav file here.

Get the .rx2 file here.

Get the .aiff file here.

96 BPM

This is where it gets interesting.

As you might recall, last week I mentioned I would be collaborating with my old friend, Bob Reynolds, in the process of creating music/ideas/grooves for upcoming loop packs. Well, today I received my first “rough sketch” from Bob along with the following notes:

Not exactly odd time, but I have this 12/8 loop in there that’s playing much
slower than intended (hence the sound of stretching). I feel like this is
maybe in 6/4? I don’t know, I made a chart for it in 12/8 because that’s where
the melodic rhythms worked out the best, and it’s in 4/4 in Logic because
originally I made it along to a funk beat….it’s morphed….what’s your
take?

Check out some “Bobbage” around the 5:50 mark:

The mp3 of Bob’s sketch track and “my take” after the jump…

Read more

Zeibekiko to The Max.

Have you heard a Zeibekiko groove before? I hadn’t… until this morning when I received this email from one of my readers in France:

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Hello Ryan!

First I do appreciate your blog, it’s fun to read, well written (even if, being a french reader, I’m not the best judge…), with nice loops… My drumming moment of the day (I’m not a drummer).

I would like to share a rhythm that fascinates me. No reason for that, but it does… Some years ago, a greek friend of mine lent me some greek music : pop singers, traditional from islands… and a CD of rebetiki songs. One rhythm caught my hear : straight, firm, slow, but kind of unstable, in a pleasant way. It’s called zeibekiko, and it’s a 9/4, 60bpm, divided as follows : eqe qq eqe qqq (e=eighth, q=quarter), in a 4+5 division… I love this 9th beat.
If you want to listen some :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hx0svccdWSI (at 1:00)

Just wanted to share…

Old Skool Zeibekiko
Old Skool Zeibekiko

Loop #75

Firm, slow and unstable? Sounds like a job for me. I’m always up for a challenge (especially when it’s an odd meter), so I decided to take a stab at laying down a Zeibekiko groove. After listening to a few songs online and eating three pounds of baklava, I figured I’d approach it from a more contemporary angle. I used the kick and snare to outline the basic rhythmic cadence and filled in the rest with sixteenth notes on the hi hat. If you’re having trouble identifying the downbeat, just listen for the shaker. If you’re still having trouble, have a few shots of ouzo.

Preview Here:

[audio:60_Zeibekiko.mp3]

Download the Logic session here. (132MB)

Get the .wav file here.

Get the .rx2 file here.

Get the .aiff file here.

60 BPM

Hypocrite.

I know I’ve made some snarky comments about splash cymbals in the past. This is why I feel I must explain myself before posting today’s loop. You see, there are other ways to utilize splash cymbals besides highlighting DX-7 solos in bad fusion jams and recording prog-rock concept albums.

Charles Haynes
Charles Haynes

This is a trick I picked up a few years ago while hanging out at Wally’s on “funk night”. One of the house drummers, Charles “The Dog” Haynes, would often pull out a splash cymbal in the middle of a song and place it directly on the snare drum, completely changing the sound of the backbeat. By hitting the splash with the shoulder of the stick and really laying into it, Charles was able to produce a piercing, almost bit-crushed sounding snare. If only splash cymbals always sounded this manly.

Loop #74

Today’s loop takes The Charles Haynes Splash Method™ and combines it with a jingle stick in the right hand and a floor tom hit (covered with a t-shirt and soaked in sub-bass) on the “and” of 1.

Preview Here:

[audio:110_splashsnare.mp3]

Download the Logic session here. (98MB)

Get the .wav file here.

Get the .rx2 file here.

Get the .aiff file here.

110 BPM