The Rhythm Section
Bill Collins looks at a new drum module from Phillip Rees plus this months selection of patterns for you to enter
Tvaritch drummer Bill Collins continues his Rhythm Section
When you next cast your peepers over the lists of desirable gear advertised in Micro Music, spare a thought for your compatriot in the Soviet Union.
On a recent visit I was lucky enough to bump into a five piece outfit called Rocketa (Rackyetta). They have been working for three years to build up enough money to equip themselves for professional gigs. The drummer used a Roland TR-626 drum machine - the sounds really suit the disco songs they were playing - and he could make it sing and dance, laying down fills over the top of preprogrammed sequences.
The state shops sell only local, valve-bound keyboards so comrade drummer paid the black market price: 3000 roubles (£1 = 1 rouble).
Some cracking little rhythm patterns this month from Micro Music reader and pedlar of paradiddles, Jeff Longley of Manchester. A large Micro Music T-Shirt on his way to him as reward. Jeff promises that he will send some more patterns when he's upgraded his trusty Roland TR-505 drum machine to a TR-626.
Here's a run down on Jeff's patterns: Two bar "slips" - as it says, the pattern runs over two bars, the skips are on the snare. Used properly, sounds great, but overuse it and you've got a house record. Fave Fills - simply relieves the boredom of bass/snare. Try' Em - two simple (??) patterns, the first uses a bit of latin percussion and can sound a bit overkilled, but if used in a tune and the latin bits are brought in separately..., the second is just a nice bass pattern, the red bits are for the matching fill, a red cross means you cut it out, the dot means put it in, simple really.
Roland's new LA and PCM sound modules have featured already in our news but I thought you'd like to know that the CM-32L contains some 30 percussion sounds as part of the range of LA Synthesis sound sources familiar from the MT-32. The module is ideal for the computer-based rhythmist because you are only paying for the sounds.
Amongst the sounds available for synthesiser parts are: vibe 1, syn.mallet, windbell, glock, tube bell, xylophone, marimba, koto, sho, shakuhachi, whistle 1, bottleblow, breathpipe, timpani, melodic tom, deep snare, elec perc, taiko, taiko rim, cymbal, castanets, triangle and orch. hit. Telephone, bird tweet, one note jam, water bells and jungle tune might also come in handy.
The rhythm part sounds include: acou. bass drum, rim shot, acou. snare, low tom, closed hi-hat, mid tom, crash cymbal, hitom, ride cymbal, tambourine, cowbell, high bongo, low bongo, mute hi conga, high conga, low conga, hi timbale, low timbale, hi agogo, low agogo, cabasa, maracas, short and long whistle, quijada and claves. Over the top performers will also appreciate laughing, screening, siren, starship, dog, thunder and waves.
In the great days of jazz drumming famous practitioners of the art like Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa took part in drum battles. No, not something reminiscent of a Who concert but each drummer in turn playing a breath taking solo. You could never say that one drummer or the other had "won" although every other drummer had their own idea of who was best.
The Rhythm Section hereby announces the modern relaunch of the drum battle - with your micro on the podium and you at the controls. All you have to do is send in an (up to 30 seconds) audio tape of a percussion solo developed on a sequencer, drum machine, from MIDI pads or sampled Simmons. We'll be judging your solos on originality as well as technical competence. Results in a couple of issues time. The prize?
Philip Rees Modern Music Technology has come to the computer stick wielder's rescue with PSP - Percussion Sample Player. The PSP is a MIDI device so it's compatible with a computer-based drum sequencer. And you don't get all those totally unpercussive sounds keyboard players like, nor the lack lustre programming facilities of a drum machine. Because you don't need them, do you?
The sparse front panel features consist of on/off switch (vital), MIDI channel selector (generous) and cartridge slot. Around the back we have MIDI in and MIDI thru ports and jack sockets for the stereo pair outputs and four direct sound outputs.
Built-in sounds are crash cymbal, ride cymbal, open and closed hi-hat and cymbal choke.
Plug-in cards are a further source of sounds, up to twelve sounds per card at £25.00 per card, just £2.00 or so each. Sounds like good value. But what does it sound like? I'll be chasing Philip for a review copy for inclusion ASAP in this column. Very promising.
Supplier: Philip Rees, (Contact Details)
Feature by Bill Collins
mu:zines is the result of thousands of hours of effort, and will require many thousands more going forward to reach our goals of getting all this content online.
If you value this resource, you can support this project - it really helps!