Some albums totally blow your mind when it comes to production. Other albums inspire you by the incredible musicianship. And some albums hold their own just by the level of songwriting. But it’s not that often when an album comes along and takes all three of these elements to transcend the high bar of awesomeness (wow, what a horrible analogy). D’Angelo’s epic 2000 release, Voodoo, is one of these special records.

Just as I was about to graduate college, thinking I knew everything there was to contemporary music, this album sent me scurrying back to the practice room. Not because of the complexity of the drumming, but the feel and the SOUND. I remember spending hours sitting in front of my Gateway computer, with the adapter speakers blaring (tiny sub woofers kicking out the bass), soaking in every measure of ?uestlove’s drumming and D’Angelo’s production, arranging and composition. It was a humbling experience which would usually lead me to tears, then some nachos, and finally a game of 007 with my roommate, Bob, to help clear my head.

Loop #123

Today’s loop takes some of the production and performance cues found on Voodoo. To get the super dry, ultra-present drum sound, I didn’t use any of my usual overhead and room mics. I pulled out my super thin and trashy hi hats and went heavy on the gating and compression of the cross stick. I also did 3,845 sit-ups, waxed my chest and oiled up my abs.

PS – I just realized that 99% of my recent loops have been in the 80-90 BPM range. I put in a call to my Red Bull dealer, so look for some 200+ BPM loops soon.

Preview Here:


Get the .wav file here.

Get the .rx2 file here.

Get the .aiff file here.

85 BPM

The Art of the Cross Stick

The cross stick is a drumming technique which spans all musical genres. From Philly Joe Jones laying down the “4” with Miles Davis, to Brad Wilk breaking things down with Rage Against the Machine, the cross stick is the universal alternative to the snare drum back beat.

One of my favorite “cross stick-heavy” recordings is Erykah Badu’s 1997 “Live” album. With a deep pocket and a huge sound, drummer, Poogie Bell’s performance is a tour de force of R&B timekeeping.

Here he is playing some cross stick on Erykah’s track, “On & On”.

Poogie Bell
Poogie Bell

Loop #51

Today’s loop is my hat tip to Poogie. Sixteenth notes on the hi hat, some ‘sugarfoot’ on the bass drum and plenty of cross stick.

Preview Here:


Download the Logic session here. (47MB)

Get the .wav file here. (with guitar)

Get the .wav file here. (drums only)

82 BPM