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  #1  
Old 11-19-2010, 01:58 AM
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hollowcreature hollowcreature is offline
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Default Steve Jansen

I thought I would create a thread about the British drummer Steve Jansen, who is one of my biggest musical influences. In particular, I am curious as to whether many of those outside the UK are familiar with his work? I have only seen his name mentioned a few times here (e.g. Gavin Harrison citing him as an inspiration, a mention in the 'underrated' thread).

For those who don't know, Steve was the drummer in the band Japan in the late Seventies/early Eighties and has subsequently worked on a number of projects with his brother David Sylvian, with the other former members of Japan (Mick Karn and Richard Barbieri), as a session musician, and as a solo composer/producer. A brief self-penned bio can be found here on his website:
http://www.stevejansen.com/biography/

What I've always loved about his playing is his ability to combine incredibly solid, almost mechanical timing and dynamics with real musicality, creativity and expressiveness. A very short list of recommended listening (albums), which I think would inspire drummers of pretty much any genre:
Rain Tree Crow - 'Rain Tree Crow'
David Sylvian - 'Brilliant Trees', 'Gone to Earth'
Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri - 'Stories Across Borders'
Steve Jansen - 'Slope'
(these last two feature mainly programmed rather than real drums)

I had the intimidating prospect of following in Steve's footsteps when working on an album with the British band No-Man, as he had been the drummer on their previous album (as it turned out, the direction of this album was a little different and the band decided that there would be only cymbals/percussion, no full kit parts, so I was off the hook somewhat!). I also had the privilege of remixing one of the songs from his album 'Slope', and he was a real pleasure to deal with.

So... any other Jansen fans out there? :-)
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:12 AM
Funkmaster O Funkmaster O is offline
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Default Re: Steve Jansen

Steve is great...and you forgot to include "Secrets of the Beehive" ;o)

His main force might be his versatility, and somehow that doesn't make him as visible as someone with a more distinct style.
But I love his work on especially Sylvian and Japan.
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Old 09-18-2013, 02:52 PM
MikeyLB63 MikeyLB63 is offline
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Default Re: Steve Jansen

Steve is versatile due to his high degree of musicality and technical ability, but I also feel he is most definately distinctive, being possibly the most original and creative drummer I have ever heard. His playing is always fluid, intelligent and musical, never distracted by ego. His sense of time and feel is second to none, and he plays with cadence and a very rare elegance. Listening to the way in which Steve constructs and plays these rhythmic designs is like listening to poetry at its best.

I believe he is underrated because he is modest in his presentation, and focusses on subtlety and musicality, rather than crudity or showmanship.
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:46 AM
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hollowcreature hollowcreature is offline
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Default Re: Steve Jansen

I totally agree, Mikey!

You might be interested in an upcoming album called 'In Chances of Light' by i'Anson, which is basically a Scottish singer-songwriter called Hugh Carswell with a few guest musicians, including Steve on drums throughout. I have heard some of the music and am not totally convinced overall, but it's great to hear Steve on real drums again. Check out http://iansonmusic.com/ for more details. Hugh also blogged about the process of getting Steve to play on the album, and working with him remotely, which is quite an interesting read: http://ianson.wordpress.com/2011/05/...-steve-jansen/
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:54 AM
Captain Bash Captain Bash is offline
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Default Re: Steve Jansen

Quote:
Originally Posted by hollowcreature View Post
I totally agree, Mikey!

You might be interested in an upcoming album called 'In Chances of Light' by i'Anson, which is basically a Scottish singer-songwriter called Hugh Carswell with a few guest musicians, including Steve on drums throughout. I have heard some of the music and am not totally convinced overall, but it's great to hear Steve on real drums again. Check out http://iansonmusic.com/ for more details. Hugh also blogged about the process of getting Steve to play on the album, and working with him remotely, which is quite an interesting read: http://ianson.wordpress.com/2011/05/...-steve-jansen/
Steve Jansen's playing on the Japan album Tin Drum and the David Sylvian Brilliant Trees, as well as the excellent Secrets of the Beehive is just fantastic. I play nothing like SJ but for me tracks like sons of pioneers are just so musical and simple. SJ creates a sense of space and atmosphere few other drummers get near.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:40 PM
MikeyLB63 MikeyLB63 is offline
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Default Re: Steve Jansen

Thanks for the heads-up re. i'anson, hollowcreature. It would be interesting to hear it, especially having read the blog about its creation.

It was refreshing to find this thread about Steve's drumming, as very few drummers I know are familiar with his work, which is a shame, because there is so much to learn from his approach to composition and his wealth of creativity. I almost feel sometimes that the scope of his talent is too refined for the average ear. I have heard the adjective 'simple' applied to his drumming on more than one occasion ... I don't see this at all. It might be relatively easy (in some cases) to play what he plays, but to play it as he plays it, is extremely difficult - it's all in the detail. To my ear, there are very few drummers who can combine such perfect timing with such an organic feel. And it's certainly not simple to come up with an original perspective on rhythm. I hope this thread will encourage other drummers to check him out ... the rewards are enormous.

Incidetally, I'd be interested to hear about your work with No-Man, and also your more recent work on Slope.

Best

Mikey
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