“Let me tell you a story” - part two
(click to see part one)
‘Grebfruit’ by Benny Greb. Benny Greb literally sees drumming as language, to the extent that he identifies rhythmic ‘words’ and ‘sentences’. Pretty unique idea. Check out his DVD ‘The language of drumming’ also.
‘Vows’ album by Kimbra. The album’s theme is commitment of all kinds and the myriad conflicts that go along with it. The percussion follows the changes in mood with imagination and wit, so you feel you’re living through many different experiences, good and bad. The sound of running feet in ‘Settle down’ is an especially nice touch.
‘When acting as a particle’, and ‘When acting as a wave’, both by The Dillinger Escape Plan. If your ears are still bleeding from previous DEP tracks fear not. These are two exquisitely beautiful instrumentals, poetry for physics nerds. Another example of developing a theme over more than one song.
‘Paint pastel princess’ by Silverchair. This track is interesting because the drums are almost at odds with the vocals, telling their own version of the story. Although the lyrics sing of despair, the drums feel like the defiant rumblings of the spirit, pushing to the forefront and eventually triumphing.
‘The kill’ by 30 Seconds to Mars. It’s hard to put my finger on the reason for this track’s narrative eloquence. Some musicians are just natural storytellers, and this band particularly, with Jared Leto’s connection to cinema, have a strong emphasis on plot as well as atmosphere. The drum part is no exception; it provides tension, dynamics, even counterpoint dialogue to the vocals in some places. Even the production seems somehow cinematic.
(As an aside, I have no idea if this is intentional or not, but if you watch the full-length version of the ‘From Yesterday’ video followed by ‘The Kill’ video, they form two halves of a mind-blowing short film. There’s a bit in the second half that matches up with something in the first half and you’ll suddenly realise … but wait, that means … holy shit …)
‘Hooker with a Penis’ by Tool. The master of giving drums a voice of their own. With Tool it’s almost as though the drums are the vocals, the vocals are the guitar and the guitar is a series of weird special effects. (The bass is still the bass, although often it’s the bass drum.) This story begins with disconnected sparks of irritation, lashing out at random. Then slowly the focus narrows, and becomes a kind of prowling menace, seeking out the source of annoyance. The rhythmic patterns are so complex and organic that the energy unfolds like roiling turbulence rather than a series of mechanical strikes, so it feels just like an ungovernable rage. You can even hear the pummelling blows at the end.