Thursday, June 19, 2014

Groove o' the day: Todd Bishop — The Secret Agent

I've got a bunch of unfinished stuff on deck, so we'll just keep doing GOTDs until I can get it together and be a writer.

And what the hell, let's do one of me. The record is Origin of Species, something my old band Flatland recorded in about 2000, in a dump of a studio in the part of Portland called “felony flats.” We got a lot of time on the cheap, and got our rehearsed material out of the way pretty quickly, which freed us up do some free playing and experimenting. This piece, The Secret Agent, was just something we improvised with no forethought at all— I had our guitarist, Matt Wayne, overdub some psychedelic textural stuff, and that finished the piece.

We find a tempo in the first few seconds, and the groove develops within the first four measures that I'm actually playing time, and then hangs on that for the rest of the piece, with fills and variations. That, and the melody spontaneously composed by Matt Wayne, our guitarist, gives the piece some unity. This groove isn't anything I'd ever played before; clearly all the parts follow from the Reed-like cymbal pattern:

The main features of the groove are that cymbal pattern, the strong bass drum on beats 1 and 2 of the first measures, and the syncopated “backbeats” on the snare drum. Everything else is detail. The isolated filler notes on the snare drum on the 'a' of the beat are unusual for me.

Here's the audio:

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