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  #1  
Old 09-24-2016, 05:09 PM
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Default Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

In a way, I think that a lot of Pop music has become so square in it's playing approach. It's too perfect in a quantized way. I don't mean drum machine recordings and I certainly don't mean a player keeping steady time.
Let me explain:
I just went back and listened to the entire album "Escape" by Journey (1981) and was reminded of something Vic Firth once said-
"I went to see Steve Smith with Journey the other night, man he really pushes and drives that band."

Fast forward 35 yrs. I went to see Fall Out Boy in the Spring with my kids, they rocked but didn't have that groove/drive. It's a different era of players and their influences I suppose.

Maybe it's me, but has Rock lost it's Roll?
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Old 09-24-2016, 05:34 PM
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Old 09-24-2016, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I have mentioned this before but to me even big pro gigs sound sterile . Oh, they are very professional and slick, but lacking in excitement and any feeling of energy or "going for it" attitude. It seems that every note and every move has been rehearsed to death, not the spirit of Rock and Roll at all.

I am not a great musician by any stretch, but as a band we can change things on the fly and I can improvise and throw in something different when the gig is flying. Why are the pro's frightened to make a mistake by reaching?
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Old 09-24-2016, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I'm with Tony. But the bigger root of the "lack of tradition" thing is the fact that people now grow up believing they have a right to participate and therefore they are sort of reinventing the wheel because they're ignoring what came before. But pop music requirements are also changed too - because of this "everybody has a right to play" inclusion attitude, unique feel is no longer necessary, nor even wanted, and this we can thank the 80s for when machines came into play to a point. Players had to develop machine time feels to compete with the machines to get a gig, or they had to have better chops than Cobham.
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Old 09-24-2016, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I would submit that things are exactly as they always have been. You can choose to listen to mainstream overproduced corporate music, or you can choose to find stuff outside of the mainstream. The issue is that the latter requires a bit of work to find, and the former is constantly crammed down our throat.

Same as it ever was.
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Old 09-24-2016, 06:10 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I think it's a by-product of our modern technology. Now making a "perfect" recording is so much easier than before so we regularly hear music that's that's "perfect" to such a clinical degree we subconsciously expect ALL music to be at that level all of the time, in all situations.

Multiply that by our ability to share anything, anywhere and it means that you can't just settle for being great on record, but live too.

It used to be if you made a mistake only the audience might notice, but now that performances are posted on YouTube within minutes the entire world can see and hear any mistake you make.
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Old 09-24-2016, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

KamaK I agree, and that approach towards choosing what variation of music you prefer goes all the way back to the big band days. Probably before that period too.
There's and excellent point made here about the "anybody can play" mentality which to me, should never be confused with someone being given an opportunity to learn to play.

I guess we gravitate towards what we were weaned on, or what is familiar to our mind. Kind of like when I visit my home area I grew up in, it just sounds and smells right to me.
So at the end of the day it would seem I'm subconsciously biased towards an era. Which may not be such a bad thing in a way. Investigate new music and trends but still listen enjoy what you feel familiar with.

P.S. I'd like to get Bermuda's take on this, as well as other's whose playing and studies have spanned several decades and how the feel has changed.
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Old 09-24-2016, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post
I was talking to a student about this very recently ... about how somewhere along the line tradition has been lost

... and by tradition I mean ... there used to be this right of passage ... this appreciation for history and those who laid the groundwork for you ...

there was a time when the drum secrets were held close to the vest almost as a magicians tricks and you had to seek them out and gain someones confidence to gain access to them
... when those older guys started disappearing to time the next generation started sharing those secrets via VHS and eventually DVD and book and in private lessons so that these things could carry on and assuring that the next generation still had roots in where it all came from

somewhere along the line ... maybe in the very late 90s or early 2000s something happened ... I don't know if it was a "too cool for school" type thing ... or an attitude where they felt tradition was not necessary or corny .. whatever ... but it stopped mattering

... and you can hear it .. at least I can

it created this whole crop of musicians who are not innovating based on what came before .... but are under the impression that they are inventing the wheel so to speak ... when it really just an uneducated recreation of what could have been properly executed if they knew their history ... because it for sure has been done before

I am not saying there are NO exception ... there definitely are

but there is definitely a disconnect to the pool of history that lends itself to some odd feeling music ... at least to my ear

just a thought

Pure gold Tony. Loss of tradition. I think that about says it all. A good rallying cry to try and reverse it. Yeah right.
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Old 09-24-2016, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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I'm with Tony. But the bigger root of the "lack of tradition" thing is the fact that people now grow up believing they have a right to participate and therefore they are sort of reinventing the wheel because they're ignoring what came before. But pop music requirements are also changed too - because of this "everybody has a right to play" inclusion attitude, unique feel is no longer necessary, nor even wanted, and this we can thank the 80s for when machines came into play to a point. Players had to develop machine time feels to compete with the machines to get a gig, or they had to have better chops than Cobham.
Or could it be the opposite? Most of the top guys now started playing at 3 years old, had lessons from day one, attended the same music colleges and learned the same stuff the same way. Do we now have cookie cutter musicians?

Back in the day it was not important to have all the chops and a music college degree to play music. Most guys I was friendly with learned the same way, from listening to the greats and trying to figuring out what they were doing by trial and much error. That way you learned from your hero's but with your own unique style. Back in the 60s I wasn't even aware you could have lessons to play Rock and Roll, but most of the fun was learning your own way and overcoming problems yourself.
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Old 09-24-2016, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I think this might just sum it up.
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Old 09-24-2016, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I don't know about rigid, but it's definitely flattened out. I just wrote a little bit about this, listening to Harvey Mason and Jim Keltner play the tune Breezin'-- totally commercial recordings, but the feel is completely different from what you hear on comparable music today. They didn't hold the tempo exactly, for one thing-- Mason's version slows down and Keltner's version speeds up. And there are these little rhythmic microtensions you get when musicians playing live form a groove out of dead air. I think those are kind of gone from most recorded music today, largely because fine editing is such a routine part of the process now-- in Pro Tools the engineer can push things around and iron that stuff out. I don't think that's a positive development.

Compare those recordings with some horrifying current "smooth" jazz. The groove on the Koz thing is totally flat-- it feels like a mechanical simulation of a groove, especially compared to the Harvey Mason recording, which is incredibly deep.

As the tolerances have gotten narrower, I feel I'm seeing more players clinging to the metronome-- not the best ones, but many students, amateurs, and a few professionals/semi-pros-- like the one thing they know about time and groove is that it's supposed to fit a mechanical standard of perfection. That can be a hard standard to meet without actually playing to a click, so maybe there's a general loss of confidence there. And I think it's hard for a group of musicians to learn to form a groove together when half of them are dogmatically concerned about small shifts in tempo... as they perceive them-- often these people don't have the best ears.

I was thinking players' skills had actually degraded, since there aren't as many steadily-working musicians as there used to be, but maybe it's just that the mediocre players are more empowered.
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Old 09-24-2016, 08:08 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I feel this is the inevitable outcome of making music metronomically "perfect". It drains excitement. It's like going through the motions. It's like putting restrictions on a person who makes paintings or sculptures. I detest the grid and what it does to music. Human time and human tendencies are alright by me. Clicks cut the balls off songs.
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Old 09-24-2016, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post
somewhere along the line ... maybe in the very late 90s or early 2000s something happened ... I don't know if it was a "too cool for school" type thing ... or an attitude where they felt tradition was not necessary or corny .. whatever ... but it stopped mattering
i surmise the internet and youtube is part of it. i work in academia and in parallel the new generation has far less regard and study for ' previous work' which has to be gotten by digging.... and is not bombed into a smartphone daily at GB speed.
a young musicians mind, and time, is exposed to far more now yet ironically they dig far less into classics and tradition because it takes time and extra effort.

i have to wonder if the drummer for fallout boy listened intently or studied any pieces like Moanin' ....or Fred Below or Keith Moon or Motown... etc. The time devoted to focussing on any tradition is just not there in such a fast pace world.
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Old 09-24-2016, 08:20 PM
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Old 09-24-2016, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

Really interesting thread. I've been thinking about this recently. As music history gets bigger and bigger, are the kids really going to be interested enough to trawl through all of it and be directly influenced by what came before them?

19 years ago in 1997 I was in a band when at a rehearsal the singer/lead guitarist told us he'd come up with an intro for a new song. It was exactly the same as 'Run to you' by Bryan Adams. When I pointed that out to him, he said he was unaware of it, hadn't heard it before and thought it was his own creation. If this happened 19 years ago then it's going to be 10 times worse now.

My drumming influences are people like Alan Wren (Stone Roses), Maff Scott (The Egg), Luke Parkhouse (4 Hero) and Dave Grohl. Why? Because when you listen to them, you know it's them. They're not mechanically churning out stuff they've practised over and over again. They developed their own unique voice and personality on the kit. Drumming these days, like guitar playing seems to have become nothing more than a dick measuring contest.
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Old 09-25-2016, 01:13 AM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

Since the question revolves around rock, I'll say yes, it has mostly lost its soul, but there are still some good bands that can do it right. Brad Paisley and Lenny Kravitz come to mind as bands that will still do it right.

It was a bit of a let down to go from seeing the big rock star bands playing touring sets with jams, extended bridges, instrumentals and solos to bands that played the song verbatim to the recordings. U2 is a band I remember seeing way back who played exactly like the recordings and had no special band feel. They probably learned to do it right after they got huge, but I never saw them again after '83ish.
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:25 AM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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I feel this is the inevitable outcome of making music metronomically "perfect". It drains excitement. It's like going through the motions. It's like putting restrictions on a person who makes paintings or sculptures. I detest the grid and what it does to music. Human time and human tendencies are alright by me. Clicks cut the balls off songs.
I don't think that click track is bad actor here; what's bad is quantization, too much compression for mix/individual instruments (song is not breathing, no dynamics) and use of sound libraries/VST effects (everyone sounds same).
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Old 09-25-2016, 03:18 AM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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I don't think that click track is bad actor here; what's bad is quantization, too much compression for mix/individual instruments (song is not breathing, no dynamics) and use of sound libraries/VST effects (everyone sounds same).
Yes. Where producers, engineers, and sound techs want drums and cymbals to sound dead and short so they can make it sound like they want with all of their toys.
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Old 09-25-2016, 08:46 AM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I was born in '84 and that was a time of digital perfection... I didn't start playing until I was 13 but it was always in my mind that the more perfect it sounded the better, and I still feel that way to this day. Mind you, I like just a tinge of human error, or else it does sound a bit dull.

Recently I was watching a Tony Royster video and finally I got the sensation that it was a little bit too perfect... I have always heard people say that they don't like things to be precise and for once I agreed with that sentiment. But it was probably the mood I was in, I just went and watched him again and was amazed.
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Old 09-25-2016, 09:34 AM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I blame the men in suits, but who really listens to them anyway. It's like cafes used to be a place for bohemians and non conformists to gather and discuss Art History Dance etc. now they ( cafes ) are pumped out like cookie cutter copies of each other. missing the point totally, but sheep will always be sheep. As Neil Young sang We leave our Tracks in the Sound.
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Old 09-25-2016, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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has Rock lost it's Roll?
It's influenced by everything stated in this thread to date, & Tony has a particularly insightful take, but ultimately, it's "the grid". The grid is the digital recoding roadmap that must be obeyed by all but the most enlightened / brave. The grid is both enabling & disabling - depends on how you use it.

There is, however, a flip side. It brings older recordings / performances into focus, precisely because they do feel different. Without the grid culture, I doubt much of that earlier beauty would be quite so appreciated. Like everything else, expect rebellion, & eventual full circle.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:13 PM
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:29 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I really think that computers are the future with this. There's always going to be a place for fantastic human players, recording and performing live but as has been said, it is quite 'locked' metronomically and has been for a while.

Computers are something of the cause but also something of the solution. It's not the tool, it's the way it's used...

With that said, there's nothing like sticking on 'A Love Supreme' and revelling in the aural glory.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:55 PM
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:57 PM
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I wouldn't necessarily blame "the grid" to be honest
some great albums were recorded to clicks
Grid and click are different things. Click can be great guide, but when drum track is quantized to grid it becomes machine like. It's like taking one dimension away from music. Add compression to this and again another dimension called dynamics will be lost.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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I blame the men in suits, but who really listens to them anyway. It's like cafes used to be a place for bohemians and non conformists to gather and discuss Art History Dance etc. now they ( cafes ) are pumped out like cookie cutter copies of each other. missing the point totally, but sheep will always be sheep. As Neil Young sang We leave our Tracks in the Sound.
I blame the consumer! None of that over processed and engineered crap sells if people don't buy. However people will follow the crowd and be easily guided.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:59 PM
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

Having played pro mostly in the 70's/80's, I can tell you that everything seems way too mechanized these days. An engineer I know says everything he does now is done to clik tracks and with autotune. Wasn't that way when I use to record. It was a lot more fun, and creative to see people like Mitch Mitchell, Tony Williams, Ainsley Dunbar, Ginger Baker etc playing all these crazy rhythms that they introduced. I always appreciated the controlled chaos that was 70's rock and roll. I don't see that much anymore.
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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I know what a grid is ... and when playing to a click most feel locked to it

nothing I am discussing is quantized ... these are people playing live



This /\. I can play a few guitar lead breaks that I learned by TAB. A couple of Hendrix ones, the break from Comfortably Numb etc, note perfect. Do they sound anywhere near as good as the originals? Never in a million years, cos I don't have the same feel or touch as the originals and I am playing by rote. That's what a lot of touring bands sound like now.
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:11 PM
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Morrison's right - but this had already been happening for quite a while before he talked about it here. I have no idea if he knew about Stockhausen, Varese, Xenakis, etc. but he's not really talking about anything new, even at that point in history.

However, it's always fun to listen to Morrison, high as a kite talking about music.
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:20 PM
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I wouldn't necessarily blame "the grid" to be honest
some great albums were recorded to clicks
Sorry Tony, I should have clarified. I was referring to the grid as a containing restricting concept rather than the Protools actuality, although I do think it's a major catalyst.
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Old 09-25-2016, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

Yup, a lot of music sounds so "perfect" that it comes across as sterile.
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Old 09-25-2016, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

Watch out, rant coming:

I view it as a case of style winning out over substance. Just as in today's movies, which all seem to be sequels or remakes, it's become not what you say but how loud and awesomely you can say it.

Depth of expression has been replaced by an attempt to either merely "keep the beat' at one end of the spectrum to an attempt to impress with athletic prowess at the other.

The care and love of the instrument's history and the people who developed it's repetoire is gone. The voice of almost every drummer I hear is a parroting of what they think they are supposed to play.

True depth still exists, it's just carefully rationed these days.
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Old 09-25-2016, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I think I'm getting more gigs because of this phenomenon. I see more drummers with advanced technical skills than ever, but it seems like having a good pocket or being able to swing almost makes you a unicorn in today's scene. I have worked hard at improving my drumming in recent years, but I don't think that alone explains the demand I'm experiencing recently. I think the competition is getting farther away from some of those elements.
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Old 09-25-2016, 09:01 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

There was a cute BBC program a while back where a bunch of bands went into the studio to re-record Sgt. Pepper on the original 4 track console.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-tMEFLgxso

It was refreshing to watch and see modern bands confronted with having to play together.
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Old 09-25-2016, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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Watch out, rant coming:

I view it as a case of style winning out over substance. Just as in today's movies, which all seem to be sequels or remakes, it's become not what you say but how loud and awesomely you can say it.

Depth of expression has been replaced by an attempt to either merely "keep the beat' at one end of the spectrum to an attempt to impress with athletic prowess at the other.

The care and love of the instrument's history and the people who developed it's repetoire is gone. The voice of almost every drummer I hear is a parroting of what they think they are supposed to play.

True depth still exists, it's just carefully rationed these days.
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Old 09-25-2016, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

Saw Tame Impala at Glastonbury a few months ago and this was their exact problem. For a band trying to pull off the whole acid rock 70's things, their time was too perfect and it was a soulless performance. Really bland.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:18 AM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I blame the music composition. Nothing will make a bad/boring/eclectic/pop song good. Not all bands can pull off good/memorable songs, especially if the composing is based solely on what's already in vogue.
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:12 AM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

For the most part, I stopped paying attention to what was going on with music after 1985 or so. My iTunes library is a testament to that.

So, I could basically give a $hit. I like what I like, and musically, live in the past.


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Old 09-26-2016, 01:54 AM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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For the most part, I stopped paying attention to what was going on with music after 1985 or so. My iTunes library is a testament to that.

So, I could basically give a $hit. I like what I like, and musically, live in the past.


Hey, I resemble that comment!
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:59 AM
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

Jeeze you guys are sure good at making a blanket statement on an entire era of music.

I could make an infinitely growing list of modern bands/musicians that are just as groovy as anything else out there. Just because you haven't discovered the talent in modern stuff doesn't mean it's not out there.

"Mehhh these kids and their rock n' roll! They just don't groove out like [insert previous generation's killer tune here].

Old stuff is groovy. New stuff is groovy. Good musicians playing with other good musicians are gonna groove hard regardless of when they were born.
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  #37  
Old 09-26-2016, 02:27 AM
Brian Brian is offline
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
I think I'm getting more gigs because of this phenomenon. I see more drummers with advanced technical skills than ever, but it seems like having a good pocket or being able to swing almost makes you a unicorn in today's scene. I have worked hard at improving my drumming in recent years, but I don't think that alone explains the demand I'm experiencing recently. I think the competition is getting farther away from some of those elements.
I feel that way about most of the drummers I hear in our building. They can play 1 million miles per hour and every pc. on their kit, but lack that FEELING you get when something feels good. I think there is maybe one "metal" band that excels at the progressive and jazz stuff they try to do, they actually blow my mind and the drummer is excellent at the least. They are class musicians with some serious ability and background. ; But from there it's a huge drop-off in any soul or feeling that I hear. I am not even speaking of the technical side of "feel", just any feel at all. Don't get me wrong I love shredding too. I practice blast beats and so on, I try to be able to fit into anything. Wonder if that primal, deep human element is going.

Jojo Mayer alluded to this in a video, iirc...
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Old 09-26-2016, 04:42 AM
vyacheslav vyacheslav is offline
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

I'll weigh in on this:

I think a lot of it is that it's so easy to access "instruction" nowadays (with the word instruction used very, VERY loosely). I am a teacher at a locally owned music store. I had a woman telling me (while her son was at a guitar lesson) that her other son had been taking drum lessons at local music academy in town. She raved and raved about the teacher who sets up two drumsets side by side and plays along with his students by watching videos and playing along to said videos. The instructor then lets his student play along to a video they like and he videotapes them playing it, and then they can watch themselves on a video (playing along to video). After this woman was done gushing about this particular instructor's "innovative" approach, the first thing I said to her was "Yeah, but is your son learning anything?"

There is a TON of this stuff going on. It's not teaching students rudiments, independence, dynamics, how to read music etc. All it's doing is basically teaching them how to play along with videos, which you can do by yourself at home. It's "teaching someone to be self taught". If you practice rudiments, independence etc. on your own out of a book like Syncopation, you are going to develop your own feel, your own unique way of doing things, plus you will learn valuable things to all drummers, like the reading music, knowing how and what your limbs are doing etc. By using this "innovative" instructors approach, you just end up copying other people you see, and since you don't know how to do anything else besides copy off drummers from videos, you are never going to develop anything unique or personal. You're going to be a copycat.

Another example of this is the whole gospel drumming or "gospel chops" phenomenon. All of these guys I've heard are incredible players for sure, and they have 100 times more chops than I do, but the all sound the same. Exactly. The. Same. They might as well be Legos. Just snap off drummer A out of the Drum throne, and insert Drummer B. They will sound identical. They even do the same kinds of fills, have the same hand motions, hit the cymbals the exact same way. They do the overly busy 32nd note hi-hat patterns; everything. They even sit and all tilt their heads the same way! Watch any gospel drumming video and you will see exactly what I mean (a lot of these Lego drummers hang out and Guitar Center and love to make sure the entire store can hear their prowess). Plus, I know quite a few of these local guys. ALL of them are self taught. And guess what? ALL of them learned how to play by watching videos of Aaron Spears, Teddy Campbell, Gerald Heyward etc. Copying breeds copying, breeds copying etc. etc. etc. As an aside, if someone asked me to explain the whole "Gospel Chops" thing, I would say the goal was to hit the drums and cymbals as hard as you can, only play with one dynamic level (FFF) ,do ridiculously overly busy and musically inappropriate drum fills every 4.2 seconds and make the entire song all about you.

Anyway, long rant over. Like others have said, there is still great stuff out there, you just have to dig though 37 layers of junk to get to it. It's worth the journey, though!

Last edited by vyacheslav; 09-26-2016 at 05:25 AM.
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  #39  
Old 09-26-2016, 07:53 AM
paradiddle pete's Avatar
paradiddle pete paradiddle pete is online now
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

J.B. I think you should have titled this thread Dumb and Drummer. And i do agree with the previous post that Copy Catism is creeping in to most Crafts.. Originators then Imitators.
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Last edited by paradiddle pete; 09-26-2016 at 11:05 AM.
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  #40  
Old 09-26-2016, 08:46 AM
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Tamaefx Tamaefx is offline
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Default Re: Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

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Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post
I know what a grid is ... and when playing to a click most feel locked to it ... the result is rigid and awful

nothing I am discussing is quantized ... these are people playing live
I was surprised when Portnoy was replaced by Mangini ; both play with clicks of course and are precise and perfect. But eventhough, Mangini sounds like a robot, Portnoy sounds human ; and it's hard for me to describe how and why.

Back to the topic : The biggest blame maybe on the producers, the click is obvious here, but the sound often doesn't seem natural, sometimes even in live recording, it's boring, too perfect...
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