Sylvan Esso – “Die Young”

I can’t not geek out over Sylvan Esso.

Their latest album, What Now, features some of my favorite synth tones and drum breaks to date. It’s impossibly danceable and detailed.

I really dig “Die Young” in particular because of its spartan composition. It’s a lean mean fighting machine. When the drum break in the song hits, it hits hard. Here’s my interpretation.

Advertisements

Tracking Drums For Matt Pond PA’s Final Album, Still Summer

MPPA.jpg
Noise Pop segued into something a little meatier.

After getting back on stage with Matt Pond, Shawn & Mel, the itch was still there. Matt started sending me ideas for the songs that would comprise the final Matt Pond PA album, Still Summer.

I’m honored to have worked on it. I’m grateful opportunity to help build and mold songs. I’m incredibly thankful to Matt for taking me on my first big national tour, and for opening up his songs.

NPR posted a little update about Still Summer and what’s next for Matt.

The album will be out later in August. I can’t wait for the tracks for be out there.

StillSummer.png

Working With Nataly Dawn

I was a fan of Nataly’s before I got a chance to play for her. I followed Pomplamoose on their rise to YouTube fame.

Nataly’s originals are killer. The way she breaks down other artists’ songs and makes them her own is inspiring. So, I was stoked to track some songs for her, and film them on a badass old Rogers kit. Getting to hang with her adorable dog, Muppet, was a bonus. This the first video in a batch. There’s more to come.

Noise Pop with Matt Pond

When you drive roughly 8,000 miles in a van together, traversing the whole continental United States (and parts of Canada) you develop a connection with the people in that van. That is, if you didn’t kill each other in the stretch between Austin and Dallas where there’s no cell phone service.
File Matt Pond and Shawn Alpay in the van-bonded friends folder.  I file Mel in the new friends folder.
I hopped back on stage with the Matt Pond squad for Noise Pop. It was a blast to play new songs and classics we hit on the Several Arrows Later tour a few years ago.

Working with Grammy Award Winning Artist, J. Hoard

J Hoard won a damn Grammy last night for his songwriting contributions on Chance The Rapper’s “No Problem”. As Anderson .Paak would say “YESS LAWWD”

A few weeks ago, I worked on this track with J Hoard called “Sirens”. It’s a politically minded tune that’s right for a time when I launch into a cold sweat anytime I get a Washington Post breaking news alert on my phone.

Here’s the track called “Sirens” which OkayPlayer premiered.

Talk Modern – “Not Enough”

I flew to Portland last November to record a few tracks for Talk Modern. I was lugging a cymbal case through the PDX airport when I saw it. A Stumptown Coffee — in the damn airport. Portland is a land of wonder.

Josh and Nic – the duo comprising Talk Modern- are wonderful guys. I tracked the drums for “Not Enough” in the same warehouse we recorded the video. No plug-in can imitate the natural reverb in that room.

After 48 quick hours in Portland we had two songs and two music videos in the bank (we lost count of the number of breakfast sandwiches we consumed). Here’s the first one -“Not Enough”

“Secrets” & Satellite Mode

Satellite Mode are workhorses. Last December, I took a jaunt to New York to meet up with them. I nearly OD’d on Dunkin Donuts and pizza, but survived long enough to play music with Alex + Jess, who comprise the band.

When they’re not tweaking songs, they’re writing new ones, or planning a release for the finished song.

Warm Fire Lightening” hit #5 on Hypem a few weeks back. Here’s hoping their new track, “Secrets” (which came out today)  climbs even higher.

I tracked drums for this one last year, and am stoked its out! The production crew backing Satellite Mode – Gregory and Andy Seltzer – are super nice guys, and immensely talented.

Tone City: Snares In A Massive Warehouse

15073379_10208007701765691_3716292768744532095_n

I spend a lot of time in Ableton. I manipulate plugins to get some bit of MIDI data to sound like the raw, visceral crack of a snare drum in a warehouse.

Well I finally got a chance to hear what that real crack sounds like.

I did some session work for the homies of Talk Modern, a pop duo based in Portland. Duddy, a rad guy and LA-based producer, was behind the boards and was a pleasure to work with.

The Portland trifecta is drumming, eating breakfast sandos, and drinking far too much coffee. Feeling blessed to hit the trifecta. Here’s some video of the warehouse.

“Nights” and my unhealthy obsession with Frank Ocean

frankocean

I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to Blond(e). There are so many gems on the album it’s hard not to parse through it again and again, mining for gems.

“Nights” is a particularly juicy track. It feels like three different songs all originating from the same idea. I really dug the second movement ( if I can call it that) of the song from 1:40 – 2:37.

The beat in that section recalls a classic hip hop beat you might hear on a mid-tempo Gangstarr track, but is much more complex. The bass drum pattern switches from riding shotgun with Frank’s lyrical inflections, to jumping in on a chord change, and at it time does both.

I transcribed the beat and took a crack at it. Here’s the video + transcription.

Have the score played for you here

nightstranscription