Alan Reed Studio Report Pt. 3

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We’ve been putting this one off, but we can prevaricate no longer. It’s the final drum-off challenge…

Scott’s mission - should he choose to accept it - is to put a solid beat over an alternating 68 - 78 pattern, with the odd bar of 8 and 1 thrown in randomly for good measure. I’m quietly smug about my programming on this one, which offers a template we can follow. But I think it can be so much better.

The secret to playing this kind of time signature is to try not to think about it too much, and follow the patterns in the music. The magic comes from just settling into the groove and seeing what comes out. We have a bit of maths to do about where the builds and fills come, but once Scott has the geography in his head he just goes for it. ‘I’m not sure what I played there’ he says. Don’t ask me to do it again!’

There’s a coda section with a slow build to a climax over a slightly more mundane 68. Again, I have a pattern in mind, but Scott has other plans. ‘What if I bring this in a bit later?. I’m liking what I’m hearing but it makes the start of the build sound just a bit ‘ordinary’. ‘Let’s do that - but just on the metalwork and THEN pick up!’ A couple of attempts and my idea is consigned to the delete file as we go in a whole new direction. Inspired!!

Our final track is where I have probably the least idea about what I want. Originally I envisaged it as an acoustic track with very little drummage beyond the simple marking of time. I’d added a pattern at the last minute when I realised it needed ‘something’ to give it a bit of a kick. Scott and I have discussed various options, but we’re pretty much groping in the dark. It’s a rolling 68, which limits the options a bit on the fill side. We have to take this section by section, fill by fill, to keep both the momentum and the interest level up. There’s space in the pattern in the gaps between vocals, but the fills have to be both different every time AND avoid drum cliches. It’s quite an ask. I can tell Scott’s racking his brain for options each time, but in the end we get there. I’m very satisfied.

We’ve one more day to finish edits and do any repairs we might have missed, but I can safely say there’s some real ‘moments’ in the drums on this album. I wanted them to have much more of a presence this time as well as contributing to the overall structure. I think we’ve got it. There’s a lot of ‘Wow’ factor!

Now just got to (re)do all the guitars, basses, keys and vocals . I can’t wait!!!!