Thread: Zach Hill
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Old 09-08-2005, 11:27 PM
fkleiner fkleiner is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 14
Default Re: Zach Hill!!!

yea i'm a fan of some of the drummers mentioned before too... damon che is definitely a beast, i have a good recording of a live show, very deft, accurate, and powerful. brian chippendale of lightning bolt i'm just not getting tho.... my familiarty with them isn't too thorough (i have ride the skies, self titled), but the ideas he has just seem for some reason sloppy to me and don't seem to have nearly the depth and cohesion of zach hill.

i find a multitude of aspects that sets zach apart from other comprable drummers:
Two will be discussed in this post:

1) he is one of the most hard hitting drummers out there (bloody knucles, broken sticks, broken skins regularly). he is actually planning to make a bedframe of all his broken sticks.
2) the relavance of playing hard is to allow an extended range of dynamics and accents:

-loads of ghost notes are always present. for example in "your dj children"
off the ep totally bugs bunny on wild bass, sextuplet rolls on hi hat and snare
are exectued so gracefully and quietly that they purr along thus creating
an interesting sound, as opposed to pointless wankery. the ghost notes are
used tastefully and in nontraditional areas to add a thickness and depth
to his sound.

-next level above grace notes are standard strokes on snare or anywhere else.
these notes are executed for standard purposes of course.

-finally for dynamics, he skillfully places rimshots on snares to really accent
and stand out from the many many notes he squeezes into a particular riff.
without these rimshots, his playing would be that much more difficult
to finding any connection between him and whoever may be playing with him.

Accents:

-Accents are a part dynamics, but separate here because it is not
referring to the volume of his strokes, but the choices he makes on which
piece of his set to use to make sounds that stand out from the rest.

-When listening at first to his drumming, it will most likely
be incomprehensible to find meaning through the flurry of notes played at
outrageous speed. if you face that problem as a new listener, start listening
only for the cymbals. zach hill is the only drummer i've heard who uses
the hit hat to its full capability. the crash/ride strokes always show up at the
most appropriate times, and from listening solely to the cymbals, you will
find the connection to him and the other musicians that are playing.

-Keep in mind the only tools for drumming he has are: hi hats, crash, ride,
broken cymbals stacked on top of each other (and choked by placing the edge of
the cymbal firmly against the rim of his tom) in order to acheive a trashy china
sound. as for the actual drums, ONE bass drum, ONE bass pedal, a floor tom, and
a tom (in the 12" range) placed above his snare. Thats it, hit hat, ride, china, crash
and a 4 piece set. it's amazing what he creates from such a limited set up
(as opposed to "god like" drummers who have rather large sets).

The point of this part of my description of his playing is to demonstrate that
aside from him being insanely fast, he, like a mature professional drummer, understands the significance of dynamics and doesn't pound away on a whim to show off his "chops".

He may come across as unrestrained and full of himself, but he has
as much taste as the next guy and pays much attention to complementing the musicians he is playing with. Those musicians must be quite talented themselves: it takes a very creative and open mind (with no musical boundaries) and some proficiency
to be able to connect on zach's wavelength. just like any one playing with frank zappa, most were virtuoso's, because they could understand and execute the genious of what zappa wrote.

well that sure was long, but hopefully it helps people new to him get a start on the long process of grasping the ideas he puts out.
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