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  #81  
Old 08-24-2009, 07:49 AM
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Default Re: Pop Music in General

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Rosanna was a pop song. I am currently teaching that groove to about 6 students.

I realised some years ago that most people only like music. Some simply tolerate it while others give it no thought at all. What we as musicians miss is the understanding of the public's general lack of interest.

Sometimes too I am tired and just want to hear something light. Mostly I listen to world music and it is amazing. There's a great deal of choice. But you know, many musicians I have known have had the most limited taste of any people I have met. If a style does not fit into their idea of what is cool, most just close their ears. Especially the least experienced musicians.
I'm no great fan of Rosanna but, like most drummers, I was impressed with Jeff Porcaro's version of the Purdie shuffle.

I think the breadth of our tastes stems from exposure, personality, peer group shared values, and our hunger for music.

I see music like I see food. It's one of the joys of life and something to enjoy, so I love a LOT more music (and food) than I hate. There's even more music that I don't feel passionate about either way. For the most part I don't see much reason to actively dislike any music; it's just music written for people who aren't like me. As long as it makes someone happy, cool. I draw the line at Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree, though, because it traumatised me in childhood :)

Doctor S, IMO the problem isn't that musicians are prostituting their art for record companies so much as there are people who want that music and record companies are always second-guess the majority's taste and looking for the safe option.

So there's always been this unhealthy feedback loop between the companies and the public that inevitably spirals down further into the LCD. Let's hope the web keeps putting a spoke in the works to open the scene up a bit.

Pop stardon doesn't always work out:
http://www.smh.com.au/news/entertain...001841077.html

One bad decision by an ambitious young man who loved singing based on the advice of his manager and look how it turned out.

Last edited by Pollyanna; 08-24-2009 at 08:35 AM.
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  #82  
Old 08-24-2009, 04:37 PM
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Default Re: Pop Music in General

Selling your soul to the devil is almost impossible when pop music producers have all but eliminated human drummers altogether. It is interesting to hear hi hats chattering like machine guns at 1/32 a few times, but these guys seem to be obsessed with perfect timing with no soul.
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  #83  
Old 08-24-2009, 04:47 PM
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Selling your soul to the devil is almost impossible when pop music producers have all but eliminated human drummers altogether. It is interesting to hear hi hats chattering like machine guns at 1/32 a few times, but these guys seem to be obsessed with perfect timing with no soul.
I think you're getting the problem there mixed up. Human drummers still do play on a lot of records, but the production methods use ensure 'perfect' quantisation. With that said, I don't think there's any problem with electronically-generated rhythm, in fact I do it all the time. What's lacking is an artistic aesthetic.
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  #84  
Old 08-24-2009, 05:35 PM
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I think you're getting the problem there mixed up. Human drummers still do play on a lot of records, but the production methods use ensure 'perfect' quantisation. With that said, I don't think there's any problem with electronically-generated rhythm, in fact I do it all the time. What's lacking is an artistic aesthetic.
Maybe somebody can better quantify it, but what I have heard on local pop stations (which I hear alot with teenage kids), is about 100% electronic rythm sections. There again, this probably gets into the definition of what pop music is, which is subjective even in this thread.

I know we have debated this subject before, and yes, I am aware of the "click" and how it is used extensively. I really have no problem with striving for perfect timing. What I am opposed to is the production line, mechanized sound of electronic drums. Programming can be alot better if done by drummers, but I can hardly believe what I hear coming across the radio waves these days is being programmed by a drummer by trade. Your recordings sound quite nice, it's what's coming out of the main stream that I cannot believe is passing as drums. It certainly is void of rythm, and I think techno-pop is the only application suited for it, but that, of course, is my opinion.
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  #85  
Old 08-24-2009, 05:46 PM
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I think you're being a little close minded on the issue, with the greatest of respect. 'Real' drums didn't power Kraftwerk, but they were a fantastic band. As usual, it's not the tool, it's the application. As I sit here right now I'm actually programming some electronic rhythms. Electronic drums don't necessarily need to be programmed by drummers to be well-made, just look at DJ Shadow. The problem is a lack of invention.

When I go and listen to Thom Yorke's solo album (The Eraser) I am awe struck by his drum programming. The same is said of Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails. It does sound mechanical, but in these cases that's the point. In some instances, the programming is actually aesthetically post-digital, so it becomes a parody of that programmed sense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIK7084f8FM

That's one of my favourite programmed sequences. In fact, the only thing there that isn't programmed is the voice. But if you really listen hard enough, you'll understand that there's something incredibly organic about this programming. It sounds mechanistic, yet human. The digital aspect of the production has actually been subverted by letting in sound glitches and errors.

The problem, as usual, is a lack of inventiveness.
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  #86  
Old 08-24-2009, 06:04 PM
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Default Re: Pop Music in General

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I think you're being a little close minded on the issue, with the greatest of respect. 'Real' drums didn't power Kraftwerk, but they were a fantastic band. As usual, it's not the tool, it's the application. As I sit here right now I'm actually programming some electronic rhythms. Electronic drums don't necessarily need to be programmed by drummers to be well-made, just look at DJ Shadow. The problem is a lack of invention.

When I go and listen to Thom Yorke's solo album (The Eraser) I am awe struck by his drum programming. The same is said of Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails. It does sound mechanical, but in these cases that's the point. In some instances, the programming is actually aesthetically post-digital, so it becomes a parody of that programmed sense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIK7084f8FM

That's one of my favourite programmed sequences. In fact, the only thing there that isn't programmed is the voice. But if you really listen hard enough, you'll understand that there's something incredibly organic about this programming. It sounds mechanistic, yet human. The digital aspect of the production has actually been subverted by letting in sound glitches and errors.

The problem, as usual, is a lack of inventiveness.
Well, Kraftwerk has been one of my favorite bands, since the mid seventies, and they would not be Kraftwerk without programmed drums. I guess I should really qualify my distaste for electronically programmed instruments. What gets me is the thought of music producers replacing human drummers, not because it is the artistic call for the song or music, but only because they want to save money or not have to deal with another ill-tempered flaky musician. IOW, my reservations to electronic programming are really limited to pop music, and pop music only, and I take back my techno-pop only statement, as there are other genres that work well with it.
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  #87  
Old 08-24-2009, 06:10 PM
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That's exactly what I was getting at. Unfortunately a lot of the time, what you hear is actually played by humans, but ends up sounding like machines because of the processing, a striving for 'perfection'. I could go into depth here, but I don't think it's necessary.
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  #88  
Old 08-24-2009, 07:04 PM
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Default Re: Pop Music in General

It has got to the point that in some genres, metal being a good example, post-production editing of drums is so extensive that you can achieve almost exactly the same effect by programming the drums using all samples. That's a big shame as far as I'm concerned.
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  #89  
Old 08-26-2009, 03:45 PM
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It has got to the point that in some genres, metal being a good example, post-production editing of drums is so extensive that you can achieve almost exactly the same effect by programming the drums using all samples. That's a big shame as far as I'm concerned.
Some bands are more organic-sounding than others. If I don't much like something I listen to something else; there's still plenty of good music out there, old and new. I guess I listen to a lot of old stuff because I'm old :(

Drum machines made a huge mark on the scene from the 80s. In terms of precision they have set the bar higher but in terms of feel, lower. Still, I find that music with less organic-sounding drumming is often less appealing music anyway so I don't care if the songs loses out through having mechanistic percussion.

I might be a biased, though, since I was growing up just before drum machines (as replacement for a drummer) came on the scene.
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  #90  
Old 08-26-2009, 03:47 PM
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Polly,

The best drum programmers can make drum machines have feel. Aphex Twin is a really good example of that. On the other hand, the lack of feel is often the reason they are used. I just think there are different tools for different purposes and drum machines are one such tool. Right now I'm doing more programming than playing.
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  #91  
Old 08-26-2009, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: Pop Music in General

I totally agree with this. I think the more time you spend with a drum machine, the better and more organic it sounds...and with live drums it's the opposite, the more time you spend editing them the worse they end up sounding.
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  #92  
Old 08-26-2009, 04:11 PM
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Default Re: Pop Music in General

Fair nuff. I haven't programmed since 1987 with a TR707 so no doubt things have come a long way since then. Heh, maybe the songs I'm thinking of that sound machanistic are the real drummers quantised and the ones I think have good feel are machines?

The 707 was frustrating in that you had two snares - one that sounded normal and an 80s big sound. Each of those snare sounds had two levels - normal and accent. Not good for ghost notes. Bummer with the ride too. I did a track where I wanted 16ths on the ride and it came out like white noise. Then I tried for a full-on impossible (for me) fusion 12/8 thing and it came out like a load of clutter http://www.sangrea.net/rijidij/mp3/G...ee_sisters.mp3 - a mess but I guess it was something I had to get out of my system.

Programming's fun once you have your system set up but learning how to drive the machines and setting up your system is not for the faint-hearted IMO.
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  #93  
Old 08-26-2009, 07:34 PM
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I usually find a lot of the limitations are the appeal of those early systems. I recently got hold of a cheap 70's synth (Jen Pianotone J-600) for very little money. It's very limited, but that's most of the fun. The real trick I find with the old hardware is to actually accept the limitations and stop trying to mimic a 'real' drummer. To me, that defeats the very point of using it.

I've been making some odd glitchy stuff this evening. I'll upload a portion of the rhythm track.

This is just something I've been fiddling with for the three hours or so. I started it this afternoon. It will be fleshed out into a full song eventually.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 EarlyMix.mp3 (4.41 MB, 78 views)

Last edited by Mediocrefunkybeat; 08-26-2009 at 07:46 PM.
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  #94  
Old 08-26-2009, 07:50 PM
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Some of the best drum programming I have ever heard was (of course in the pop genre, again) on Chicago 18 (mid 80s on a Roland R8, I believe). Of course, having a drummer the caliber of Danny Seraphine programming those drums made all the difference in the world. But even with the old Roland samples they had back then, his effort towers over the crap they pass as programmed drums on most hip hop and pop singles coming out today.

Last edited by Strangelove; 08-26-2009 at 08:07 PM.
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  #95  
Old 08-27-2009, 10:01 AM
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Hey MFB, that's a pretty eerie rhythm track.

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The real trick I find with the old hardware is to actually accept the limitations and stop trying to mimic a 'real' drummer. To me, that defeats the very point of using it.
So true. I'd decided when I started sequencing to make music that didn't try to ape the real thing but, as I went on, the temptation to try was too much to resist :)

Most of the time I went for more airy music sans drum sounds, althout later I tried a different track, doing something that sounds obviously computer-generated, but at the same time apes organic music.

http://www.sangrea.net/rijidij/mp3/Grea-bazo-gonda.mp3

It was more successful than the other song, and would have been better if I'd had the chance to add extra detail at the end. Unfortunately, before I could do that I "loaned" all my synth and recording gear to our guitarist at the time. He promptly went interstate, got an addiction and hocked it all. That was in 1987.

He sent me an Xmas card 10 years later apologising and promising to buy me a new rig. That was the last I heard of him.

With "friends" like that ...
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  #96  
Old 08-27-2009, 10:13 AM
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That's more like it! That track is definitely of the time, but you can tell where you were coming from with the rhythm and synth work. Actually, it's pretty good. Have you gotten hold of Aphex Twin's 'Ambient '85-'92' album? I think you might like it.
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  #97  
Old 08-27-2009, 02:45 PM
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But even with the old Roland samples they had back then, his effort towers over the crap they pass as programmed drums on most hip hop and pop singles coming out today.
Agreed... the hip-hop beats are usually either over-simplified and odd or would require 4 hands and 4 feet to play on a kit.
A lot of rap and hip-hop have these akward snare/bass beats they put in them that not only don't sound good but are very immature beats. It probably goes along with the genre since those same "artists" sing about their hoes and busting caps in people...
I think the point that someone made earlier is the best I've seen in this thread, it all comes down to the maturity of the intended audience... hannah montana and boy bands are great music to 13 year old girls... but the more emotionally and mentally mature audiences should be listening to stuff more age-appropriate. but really when it comes down to it even a lot of bands that play music for older audience still play crap instead of good music.
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  #98  
Old 08-27-2009, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
That's more like it! That track is definitely of the time, but you can tell where you were coming from with the rhythm and synth work. Actually, it's pretty good. Have you gotten hold of Aphex Twin's 'Ambient '85-'92' album? I think you might like it.
Thx MFB. Yes, the rhythm track in Bazo Gonda sounds much nicer. Three Sisters was overly ambitious and I would have needed a much better machine and also spent plenty of time time with the subtleties to make it work.

I hadn't heard Aphex Twin before and just found Heliosphan on YouTube. I would have liked the beat to be more laid back for late night listening but it's all well done.

Just checking out some more of their stuff now and it's pretty creative. Ta for the recommendation :)

Umm, LT and Doctor, I must confess that I quite like a lot of the programmed hip hop beats I hear ... just not so keen on the topping.
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  #99  
Old 08-27-2009, 06:07 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WrBI...eature=related

That's my favourite from that album. It's just one guy. His later work is absolutely insane.
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  #100  
Old 08-27-2009, 06:53 PM
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Agreed... the hip-hop beats are usually either over-simplified and odd or would require 4 hands and 4 feet to play on a kit.
A lot of rap and hip-hop have these akward snare/bass beats they put in them that not only don't sound good but are very immature beats. It probably goes along with the genre since those same "artists" sing about their hoes and busting caps in people...
I think the point that someone made earlier is the best I've seen in this thread, it all comes down to the maturity of the intended audience... hannah montana and boy bands are great music to 13 year old girls... but the more emotionally and mentally mature audiences should be listening to stuff more age-appropriate. but really when it comes down to it even a lot of bands that play music for older audience still play crap instead of good music.
They are usually feeble attempts at syncopations that are very elemental in structure (nothing like the intricate poly-rythmic stuff that used to come out of Motown) and the sound samples are often comical and cartoonish. Snoop often has a human drummer - compare some of his music to say, Lil Wayne. I believe that most drum tracks on the current pop music scene are made by people who have little to no musical background, and are indicative of cost cuts driven by producers. If they want to drive the quality of music completely in the crapper, so be it - the whole pop music industry has been heading that way for quite awhile.

Last edited by Strangelove; 08-27-2009 at 07:05 PM.
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  #101  
Old 08-27-2009, 06:57 PM
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They are usually feeble attempts at syncopations that are very elemental in structure (nothing like the wonderful rythms that came out of Motown) and the sound samples are often comical and cartoonish. Snoop often has a human drummer - compare some of his music to say, Lil Wayne. I believe that most drum tracks on the current pop music scene are made by people who have little to no musical background, and are indicative of cost cuts driven by producers. If they want to drive the quality of music completely in the crapper, so be it - the whole pop music industry has been heading that way for quite awhile.
I have heard a few of these rappers have been going to rock instrumentation and considering themselves rockers now... some of it actually doesn't sound terrible. Its kind of an odd concept that a rapper would turn rocker. the vocals are still the rap style stuff but over an electric guitar, drums, and bass...
I agree about the problem with drum tracks sequenced by people with little to no musical background... but that fits into my 90% crap theory... occasionally you may find a singer or whoever programs the beats, that makes interesting rhythms but that is very infrequent.
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  #102  
Old 08-27-2009, 08:17 PM
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I have heard a few of these rappers have been going to rock instrumentation and considering themselves rockers now... some of it actually doesn't sound terrible. Its kind of an odd concept that a rapper would turn rocker. the vocals are still the rap style stuff but over an electric guitar, drums, and bass...
I agree about the problem with drum tracks sequenced by people with little to no musical background... but that fits into my 90% crap theory... occasionally you may find a singer or whoever programs the beats, that makes interesting rhythms but that is very infrequent.
I wonder if that transition will make the jump from cartoonish programmed instruments to human played instruments. My bet is the decision lays with the producers.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:49 PM
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I wonder if that transition will make the jump from cartoonish programmed instruments to human played instruments. My bet is the decision lays with the producers.
no that's the point... they have been learning to play guitar and get real musicians to play with them :)
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  #104  
Old 08-28-2009, 05:03 AM
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This is very interesting, a thread about pop music in general became a discussion about drum machine programming. Pause for thought, that's for sure.

I listen mainly to world music now. Very little programming and lots of drumming.
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  #105  
Old 08-28-2009, 05:44 AM
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This is very interesting, a thread about pop music in general became a discussion about drum machine programming. Pause for thought, that's for sure.
Well, at least it's drum related. The Michael Jackson thread was varying between nuclear power and The BNP last I saw. It's all interesting, though.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:49 AM
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Well, at least it's drum related. The Michael Jackson thread was varying between nuclear power and The BNP last I saw. It's all interesting, though.
I don't mean it is a bad thing. Just interesting. I think it's a reflection of the industry.
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:02 AM
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I think it's a reflection of the industry.
For sure. If you only need or want simple machine beats then you don't have to pay, feed, click or mic up a drummer. When machines were first making a serious mark on the scene in the 80s a lot of drummers were thinking, "OMG! We're doomed!".

I'm pleasantly surprised how much room in the scene there still is for drummers. There are fewer openings for live music now than when I was young but there are at least still some gigs to be had. There's something that feels so great about live music that the canned stuff can't provide, and not just the visuals.

That's where you get a lot of the non-pop music because pop is usually less satisfying played live than blues, rock, RnB, soul, blues, jazz etc. If a pop song is well-written then can be fantastic. But live, if the sound and playing aren't really spot on live pop can come across as dully one-dimensional - lacking energy, dynamics and texture.

More power to good live music!

Last edited by Pollyanna; 08-28-2009 at 02:00 PM.
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  #108  
Old 08-28-2009, 01:51 PM
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That's where you get a lot of the non-pop music because pop is usually less satisfying played live than blues, rock, RnB, soul, blues, jazz etc. If a pop song is well-written then can be fantastic. But live, if the sound and playing aren't really spot on live pop can come across as dully one-dimensional - lacking energy, dynamics and texture.
That's totally true... I'd much rather see a full live band then just a couple singers with mics and someone pushing a button to start the sequencers... i guess maybe they take that money they save on the musicians and pay for backup dancers?
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Old 08-28-2009, 04:27 PM
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It's all in the use though. Live sequencing - done properly - is actually really hard. Honestly, I don't think enough people have really, honestly *tried* most of the technology. Controlling a set from a laptop creatively is hard work and I would argue harder than the work most drummers do. I say this as somebody who has experienced both sides of the field and I honestly find live sequencing harder.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:32 PM
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Home sequencing is hard enough, let alone live. It's heaps easier to set up a kit and go for it. That's why I'm back to it :)
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:51 PM
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I don't mean it is a bad thing. Just interesting. I think it's a reflection of the industry.
I figured you didn't. It is a reflection of the pop music industry, as any for profit venture seeks to replace humans with machines, based on cost savings alone. Can you blame them? Their mission is to maximize profits and cut costs. That said, I also think the frequency of robots on the drummer's throne has peaked many years ago and is falling into the genres where it is most suited. I don't like the way most producers program the music sequences to most pop music these days, not just percussion. It seems to get more elementary by the day, it seems. That's my comment on the pop music in general subject. Musical talent seems to be bowing out of pop music. I realize that programming can be quite difficult and extensive, like Mediocrefunkybeat mentions. I just don't think that modern pop music producers hire people the caliber of him to even lay down their sequences.
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:51 AM
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Musical talent seems to be bowing out of pop music.
Yeah, I agree mainly because so much of the "playing" is done by machines. The only sessions I do are for demos because it's fast. A good friend I sometimes work with does albums here and there and I know the guys at the top of the session list here, but there is not much work.

Guys, it's a really good idea to play other forms of percussion as well as drums. Most sessions I do involve percussion and there is work with DJs. The last demo session I did took 3 hours. I cut 9 tracks on about 14 instruments and got paid for each one. I highly recomend every drummer takes some percussion lessons. There's more work.
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  #113  
Old 08-31-2009, 05:09 AM
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Default Re: Pop Music in General

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Originally Posted by Doctor S
Musical talent seems to be bowing out of pop music.
At the risk of being circular, it depends what you're calling "pop". I'm not so sure. I mean have standards dropped since Tony Orlando and Dawn inflicted Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree on us?

As for rock, is Mitch Mitchell better than the latest crop of metal double-kickers? I like him better, but that's just opinion; I like his style. In metal there have been pretty amazing advances in foot technique, and it doesn't matter that people from previous generations don't like the sound. That's probably the point :)

Programmming is a skill too. Just as not all drummers are the same standard, same with programmers. What's maybe being lost is physical skill, not at the pointy end (as per above), but generally.

Do drummers value physical skill over ideas? Almost all of us value both. Drummers with plenty of both like Tony, Elvin, Bonzo, Keith, Ginger and Bill B are much loved in the drumming community. Even though a guy like Ringo - who had enough technique to express great ideas to get by - is also popular, my feeling is that a lot of drummers place at least as much emphasis on physical as on creativity.

Most of us love a good circus act with its "Wow! How did they do that?" moments and I've seen plenty of drummers who, even if they don't feel like acrobats while playing, a lot of their fans love them for their drumming acrobatics more than their ideas. Check out the comments on YouTube on vids with hotshot drummers.

I like star drumming too, but creativity and feel keeps me engaged for much longer. Machines are no barrier to the former so that can be nice - love Deep Forest.

Last edited by Pollyanna; 08-31-2009 at 10:57 AM.
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  #114  
Old 08-31-2009, 04:21 PM
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Jeremy Bender Jeremy Bender is offline
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Home sequencing is hard enough, let alone live. It's heaps easier to set up a kit and go for it. That's why I'm back to it :)
A live person playing a musical instrument...a most excellent notion !

There was a time in the not-so-distant past that musicians (skilled artists who handled an instrument) were cause for excitement when arriving on stage. It's gratifying to know that this is still the case. I just read an interview with Gordon Marshall and he said his first show (as back-up drummer to the Moody Blues) was to a standing crowd of 25,000 music fans. This is what is so exciting to me.

I think people still do crave good music that's performed by gifted players.

I also think people are being introduced to a lesser quality and variety of good music. The corporate take-over of radio stations and the profit-driven push of the label's is a great deal of the reason. The record companies have shot themselves in the foot.

As far as pop-music goes, I agree with what Fantasy studio's top producer Jeffrey Wood has to say on the matter: " The major labels had painted themselves into a corner by not appealing to a wider demographic, by signing bands all to a younger demographic of the under-25-year-olds, with boy-bands in the 1990's and the teen-divas in the 2000s, and not developing music for people in their thirties, forties, fifties. These people buy CDs ! "

So unless you know where to look for good music (or even know what it is) you will be subject to the force feeding of this mindless stuff. Kind of like relying on one-source for all your news.
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:33 PM
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Programmming is a skill too. Just as not all drummers are the same standard, same with programmers. What's maybe being lost is physical skill, not at the pointy end (as per above), but generally.
I agree there... i think that a good groove is very important... and if you compose a good groove and sequence it, it will still be a good groove even if its not played by a live drummer... the problem is, as the good dr. strangelove pointed out, that most hip-hop, r&b rap and other pop genres that use sequencing for drums usually don't have a good musician programming the loops.
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:42 PM
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I agree there... i think that a good groove is very important... and if you compose a good groove and sequence it, it will still be a good groove even if its not played by a live drummer... the problem is, as the good dr. strangelove pointed out, that most hip-hop, r&b rap and other pop genres that use sequencing for drums usually don't have a good musician programming the loops.
I hear you guys ( and MFB ), but man there is something about quantization that puts me off. I don't know, maybe its the cookie cutter approach or whatever.
I use Logic Platinum sometimes when working some of my demos, and even though the quant function program is flexible enough to quant the track in many many ways, its still lacks life..

I realize this is a very personal POV.. not that I dont love some of programmed tracks out there...

what was the point I was making? ... never mind this post.

Last edited by aydee; 08-31-2009 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:11 PM
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Quantisation of live drummers irritates me beyond belief. Most of the time, it is just not necessary just like pitch correction on vocalists. It's an extra level of 'perfection' that some producers seem to think makes a better result. The simple truth is that it doesn't. Most of the time, neither are necessary.

However, electronic music is entirely different. I don't quantise in my own personal music-making because I don't need to, but there are times when it is necessary. When I sequence, I sequence in Max/MSP using a defined time code, which triggers samples that I have already edited to kick in properly. Any glitches or time code errors do not phase me, because I like errors. It's as simple as that.
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  #118  
Old 08-31-2009, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: Pop Music in General

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
At the risk of being circular, it depends what you're calling "pop". I'm not so sure. I mean have standards dropped since Tony Orlando and Dawn inflicted Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree on us?

As for rock, is Mitch Mitchell better than the latest crop of metal double-kickers? I like him better, but that's just opinion; I like his style. In metal there have been pretty amazing advances in foot technique, and it doesn't matter that people from previous generations don't like the sound. That's probably the point :)

Programmming is a skill too. Just as not all drummers are the same standard, same with programmers. What's maybe being lost is physical skill, not at the pointy end (as per above), but generally.

Do drummers value physical skill over ideas? Almost all of us value both. Drummers with plenty of both like Tony, Elvin, Bonzo, Keith, Ginger and Bill B are much loved in the drumming community. Even though a guy like Ringo - who had enough technique to express great ideas to get by - is also popular, my feeling is that a lot of drummers place at least as much emphasis on physical as on creativity.

Most of us love a good circus act with its "Wow! How did they do that?" moments and I've seen plenty of drummers who, even if they don't feel like acrobats while playing, a lot of their fans love them for their drumming acrobatics more than their ideas. Check out the comments on YouTube on vids with hotshot drummers.

I like star drumming too, but creativity and feel keeps me engaged for much longer. Machines are no barrier to the former so that can be nice - love Deep Forest.
I think we could all agree that the proverbial Top 40 listing defines what is pop music. As for physical skill, the baton seems to be passed well from the likes of Palmer, Seraphine, Mitchell, and Baker et al to guys like Rodney Holmes, Dave Mackintosh, and Chris Adler. I am convinced the younger generation has the skills to do it, it's just been pigeon holed in music genres other than pop, like metal and jazz. The producers of pop music are the ones prostituting the music profession with elementary rythms featuring clapping hands and other cartoonish percussive sounds, not the musicians themselves. Bass and keyboards has also suffered in quality just as much as drums have. I'm sure if they could completely synthesize a voice, they could do away with us expensive, temperamental musicians altogether.
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  #119  
Old 09-01-2009, 10:24 AM
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Pollyanna Pollyanna is offline
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Default Re: Pop Music in General

None of it bugs me, actually, but I'm not trying to make a living out of drumming. As far as I'm concerned it's a matter of "whatever it takes" to get the desired result. I don't care if it's a clapping machine, quantisation, or a robot named Brian that gives the music an enjoyable edge, as long as it works.

Having said that, I do think a lot of people get a kick out of skilled performers live. When it comes to studio work the percentage of people who get off on hot musicianship shrinks dramatically, especially with women. At that point, it's more about lyrics, general meaning and mood, timbres, grooves and melodies. Whether it's a machine or person doing it matters only to a small minority. That's fair enough. If it sounds good and does it for you then the liner notes don't matter unless you like someone's playing enough to follow their other work.

(Exception is vocalists: e.g. all the guys who on hearing Pavlov's Dog's Julia say, "Wow! That chick has such a strong, sexy voice!" before the inevitable letdown on finding that the "chick" was David Surkamp. The fact that he's singing "I can't live without your love" to "Julia" either suggests fantasies about bedding two hot lesbians or not paying attention, almost always the latter).

I agree with MFB that the fetish for perfection is annoying. While I say, "whatever it takes', that's whatever it takes to sound good. I'm not normally one for conspiracy theories but I've long suspected that record companies try to squeeze out indie artists by raising the bar and training people's ears to expect music polished by heaps of expensive gear (and studio time). I mean, when it's a work of art like Aja or Dark Side of the Moon or Sgt Peppers etc then by all means spend lots of time and $$ to create the masterpiece. But Joe Bloggs and his four cute friends who write catchy pop tunes just don't need all the polish.

The net is good; it opens things up and makes it harder for record companies to control.
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  #120  
Old 09-01-2009, 03:22 PM
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thelimpingtoad thelimpingtoad is offline
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Default Re: Pop Music in General

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a robot named Brian gives an enjoyable edge,
people who get off on hot musicians, especially with women.
fantasies about bedding two hot lesbians.
the fetish for ... four cute friends
Is it bad that this is all i got out of the last post?
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