“The Loop Loft is proud to announce the latest release fresh from our studio: “World Drum Loops – Vol 1”. We’ve taken an eclectic mix of rhythms and sounds from all over the world and combined them into one highly diverse loop pack. With drum and percussion grooves hailing from areas like Jamaica, Africa, Cuba, South India and Trinidad, World Drum Loops Volume 1 will supply you with a unique arsenal of culturally and geographically inspired loops and sounds. Listen to the audio preview and you’ll hear what we’re talking about!”
Yep, it’s still completely freezing in Boston. This makes two things certain:
1. my gas bill will be higher than my car payment.
2. my frame drum will sound awesome.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this ridiculously cold winter, the dry air combined with the heat pumping out of my furnace provides for ideal frame drum conditions. The calf skin head naturally tightens up and lends itself to some nice overtones and extra resonance.
This was especially true today, as I was cleaning up my studio and realized my prized frame drum was sitting directly on top of one of the heating vents. Oh shit. The hot air had tightened to the drum to a pitch that I’ve never heard it produce. If you listen back to the recording from October, you’ll hear that the drum is practically an octave lower from the state in which I picked it up today.
Rather than freak out and detune the drum to avoid any tearing of the head, I decided to fire up some mics and capture this unique tone the drum was creating. Before it was all over, I recorded a set of 25 different loops (a mix of hand, finger and brush playing), which will be released next month to all of my loyal subscribers. For the rest of you cheap bastards, here’s just a one measure taste of the session:
I finally snapped out of my post-Halloween, candy-induced coma and created mp3 previews for my latest subscriber-only loop release, Volume VI. With the widest range of styles and sounds I’ve yet to produce in a single loop pack, I consider this my pièce de résistance (until I release the next one). Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
122_JB – After receiving several requests from my subscribers for more straight-up, James Brown-type funk grooves, I set off to record a series of loops inspired by the Godfather of Soul himself. With the snare cranked up high and a very dry and natural mix, this set of loops will help you to get up and do your thing. You know. Movin’ it and doin’ it. Can I count it off??
99_FrameDrum – Who said the frame drum was just for traditional, South Indian music? This set of loops takes some of the Carnatic rhythmic phrasings this instrument is known for and melds it with a few Westernized 4/4 grooves that will keep your parents clapping on 1 and 3.
100_Sugarfoot – This set of grooves is my hat tip to the one and only Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett. Funky pop drumming with some extra sweetness on the kick, these grooves will make you want to adopt a chimp and name him Bubbles.
285_Bebop – In an effort to fill the 260-300 BPM gap in my catalogue, these uptempo jazz loops take some of the straight ahead stylings of Philly Joe Jones and Max Roach and mixes them up with some more of the contemporary and polyrhythmic phrasings of Bill Stewart and Peter Erskine.
93_Sixteenth – This recording session originally started off as an ode to Michael McDonald’s 1982 Lite-FM hit, I Keep Forgettin’ and ended up as something quite different. With a steady 16th note pulse on the hi-hat and some extra “sub” on the kick, these grooves are equally Gangsta as they are Yacht Rock.
To become a subscriber and gain instant access to all of the 100+ loops (each as AIFF, WAV and REX2) in Volume VI, just click the button below.
Yeah, I know I haven’t been blogging much this week. It’s because I’ve been locked up in the studio, chugging gallons of Red Bull, snorting several kilos of Fun Dip and editing hundreds of drum loops, all in preparation of the November 1st release of Gruss Loops Volume VI.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was the best series of loops I’ve ever created… if not, in the history of the internets. From South Indian frame drum grooves to super tight James Brown-inspired funk beats to uptempo bebop loops that would make the hair (and needles) on Charlie Parker’s arm stand up, this loop pack has it all.
Earlier today I was unpacking some boxes of random percussion gear and stumbled across a frame drum that I’ve been neglecting for the past few years. I purchased this particular drum about ten years ago when I was studying South Indian music with the great Jamey Haddad.
After tuning up the drum and attempting to make my fingers translate complicated rhythmic phrases into actual music, I decided to Google Jamey to see what he’s been up to. When I left college, Jamey was touring with Paul Simon (drumming alongside Steve Gadd). Not a bad gig. Well, it turns out Jamey has relocated from NYC to his home town of Cleveland, Ohio. He still keeps a busy touring and teaching schedule and now has the luxury of recording his vast arsenal of drums and percussion from the comfort of his own home studio.
While checking out his website, I came across one of the best fifteen minute videos about music I’ve ever seen. In this brief clip, Jamey touches upon all of the important things that he passed on to me over a decade ago. I’d outline these things in more detail here but I think it’s better for you just to watch the video and take it from the man himself. Unfortunately, I’m not able to embed the video directly into my blog (and it doesn’t seem to be on youtube) but you can see it by clicking here and watching the first clip. Then, if you really want your mind blown, move on to the second clip (KOSA Performance). Live drum looping at its best.
While cleaning up my studio and preparing for the big move, I stumbled across a folder of notes and lesson materials from my Berklee days. Inside this folder was everything from Max Roach solo transcriptions, to South Indian rhythmic cycles, to 4-way independence studies. Flipping through the pages of sheet music was like stepping into a time machine and being transported back to the grimey, unventilated practice studios on Mass Ave. Awh, the good old days.
While taking a closer look at the contents of the folder, one page of handwritten transcriptions jumped out at me. Quintuplet based grooves?? It took me a few minutes, but I finally remembered the source of the music. It was from one of my lessons with the great, Casey Scheuerell. I studied with Casey during my last two years of college and learned a tremendous amount from him. Not just about drumming, but also about the music business as a whole. We spent just as much time talking during our lessons as we did playing on the two kits he had set up in his office.
You Zappa Heads and prog-rockers will enjoy today’s loop. It’s geek funk to the fullest and should probably never leave the confines of your own studio. Loosely based on the above transcription from my lessons with Casey, it’s a 4/4 groove with quintuplets on the hi-hat and a 2+3 rhythmic phrasing. To make things easier for tracking to a click, I actually recorded this as a halftime groove in 5/4… just listen to the shaker for the 8th note pulse. Anyway, I’d like to see someone try to dance to it. Let the math rock begin.