Saturday, May 23, 2009

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

This is a fairly recent album but it is the perfect example of a growing trend I have noticed with modern drummers.

Because of the Digital Media craze the way music sounds has changed drastically. The warm sounds of vinyl were replaced by CD's, which have now been replaced almost totally by cell phones, Ipods, and computers, basically anything with a speaker and an input jack. Since recorded music loses most of its texture once it's digitized it has had an effect how how bands play (and also record) their music. I am not saying that listening to music in a digital format is a negative thing to happen, I think that in a way it forced people to change the standards of music that had been in place for years, in order to sell records.

My point is that as a drummer you can ignore the obvious and continue to play and record music the way it always has, and when you're final product comes out compressed and digitizied and your drums sound flat and lost under a heap of sound you can complain about how all the new technology is ruining everything. This won't solve anything, you'll just get lost in the shuffle.

The right thing to do is demonstrated on this album, Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. The drummer seems to play in a way that suits loads of compression, instead of fighting it. He rarely hits more than one thing at a time, but everything he does play is up front, driving the songs. It's very stripped down and straight.

Now, I looked (but not very hard) to find out who played drums on this record, and I couldn't find anything. This means that the band used either a few different guys, or one studio musician or possibly, no drummer at all. In today's modern musical climate it is getting easier and easier to replace us with samples or drum machines. Regardless of whether or not a real person played on this album, it is still important to note the way the drums interact with the music.

It may be a sign that we're a dying breed, or it could just mean that we have to modernize our playing. Besides, it's probably easier to deal with samples than a real drummer anyway. Samples can't sell your amps for beer money.

Audio/Video evidence: 1901, Listzomania


  1. you spelt phoenix wrong..but check out Mutemath, they have a great drummer.

  2. This is what happens when you proofread drunk.

  3. The drums are programmed. If you listen carefully, it is physically impossible for a human to play what is happening on this album.