Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reggae in 13 – Audition with Frank Zappa

David Aldridge, a Los Angeles based odd metered drummer, told me about an audition he had with Frank Zappa, back in the day. I can just imagine the intimidation Zappa uninhibitedly bestowed on the band hopefuls and I certainly would’ve melted probably after 5 seconds, especially at the tender age of 19. Its an interesting anecdote and of course I think more Reggae should be written in 13.

David's Words:
I met Vinnie Caliauta around January of '79, playing at the Baked Potato (Studio City, CA), doing his insanity. We hit it off, hung out, and when he left Zappa, he asked me if I would be interested in auditioning. Oh hell Yeah! I didn't know Zappa's music, but I knew odd meters, fresh out of 2 years at Towson State, so I figured, what the hell...

It was held at a very large rehearsal studio in North Hollywood. I walked in and got escorted into the studio, where the band was playing "A Mouth Supreme" a la "A Love Supreme,", making fun of the Charlie perfume model at the time, I believe. The drums were a duplicate of Terry Bozzio's double bass kit, and Arthur Barrow was playing bass. Frank described what he wanted, and I asked him if I could write down the sub-divisions. I think he kinda liked that I was at least trying to make it happen. It was a rock pulse, and Barrow just said "Keep time," which I did. We worked on a little bit, it wasn't bad, and I lasted longer than the 30 seconds most guys fell down with. When Frank asked for reggae in 13, I drew a blank. He thanked me for coming in, shook my hand, and that was my 15 minutes of fame...

I have since learned how to play the living shit out of reggae in 13...

Back to my words:
In fact, I think all Reggae should be written in 13, or 7 or 9… that way I can listen bare to listen to the upstroke guitar on 2,5 and 7 maybe…

Check out David Aldridge’s site with his extensive collection of odd metered compositions that will challenge your ears.

Reggae in 13 foreva,

Monday, August 25, 2008

Check Out PFLY

Okay Everybody you've gotta check out Pfly....

Pfly is an inventor of a new genre in music called "Classicodd", which is taking classical pieces and recomposing them to odd meters. He refers to as Manglements, but I like Classicodd because to hear in another meteroric dimensions does take some skill. I have heard others do this, such as, Don Ellis with rock/pop hits but not with Classical compositions.
Here are some links and meteroric break down of his compositions. I have been playing his compositions for the past month or so and every time I hear them I like them more and I think.... I've got to get to some Manglementing myself.


for all of his music:

for his Classicodd:
Here are some examples he broke down for me:

Omega - 13/8 in the 3-3-3-4 form

Supplikant - 13/8 4-4-5(the 5 as 3-2), 1-3-4-5(the 5 as 3-2), and 4-4-5(the 5 as 2-3) each one repeating after the other

Bachair - a synthed up version of Bach's famous "Air", in 10/8 time
Contrapunky 1 - Bach's Art of Fugue, in constantly changing meter

Contrapunky 2 - Art of Fugue, in 13/8 in the 3-3-3-4 form. The original is in 4/4 with a constant dotted 8th + 16th note rhythm, so the 3-3-3-4 time maintains the 4 beat per bar structure but makes the first 3 beats "swing", while the 4th beat gets two 8th notes instead of the original dotted rhythm.

Joy of Bleep - I deliberately tried to make this one as unfoottappable as possible with constantly changing meter and rather bleepy sounds. A sort of rhythmic version of atonal music, any hint of recurring meter must be abandoned and contradicted as quickly as possible!

PWV-1060.2 - the second, slow movement of Bach's Concerto BWV 1060, in 13/4 time, or alternating bars of 6/4 and 7/4.

Quartokoda the Third - Bartok's 3rd String Quartet, crazy, very fast piece. This one didn't need me to impose odd meters Bartok already wrote it with constantly changing meters, mostly 3/8, 4/8, and 5/8, changing nearly every bar.

SaraBachabande - Bach's Sarabande, Partita #6 with synth guitar in 13/8 (4+4+3 form)
I just love when composers get this creative.... so very cool. So check Pfly out and this new Classicodd genre - who knows it could be the next craze...
Thank you Pfly for your Odd Manglement!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pyramid Song - Radiohead

Pyramid Song is a cool simple song by the much celebrated band, Radiohead. They maybe a tad overrated in my ears, but they can be cool and interesting with their meter usage. At least they inspire people to contemplate rhythm and meters and I think these astute music aficionados appreciate their ears being challenged. A listener informed me that there was much discussion of what meter this song actually was in and wanted to know what if I had a definitive verdict on this matter. No, I didn't but I quickly got one. And he was certainly was right, there was much discussion on this matter. Just for fun, read the comments on the YouTube page its kind of funny.... much ado about nothing.... which I obviously like to engage in... so... back to the song...

Pyramid Song - There is nothing like a song about the essence of time in un 4/4 .....I think that they are on to something.

I hear this song in 16/8 - 2 sections 323233 and 332332 with the beginning following this structure a bit more freely (sans drums).

This song paints an aural picture of.... yep a pyramid, and gives the feeling of (with the ascending and descending lines) going up the pyramid, resting on top for a second then back down again, cool hun? And as for the second part it feels as you are resting and observing the black eyed angels and astral cars.

Check it out ...

The pyramid feeling: Fsharp 3 G 2 A 32 G 3 Fsharp 3

Resting & observing section - Fsharp 3 E 32 G 332

Essence of Time lyrics
Pyramid Song
I jumped in the river and what did I see?
Black-eyed angels swam with me
A moon full of stars and astral cars
All the things I used to see
All my lovers were there with me
All my past and futures
And we all went to heaven in a little row boat
There was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt

Doing much about nothing,