Tone City: Snares In A Massive Warehouse

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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

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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

 

“Central”

Write one melody, scrap the other. Realize the new one warrants a new chord progression. Realize that chord progression doesn’t fit with the current song. Start a new song. Repeat.

That was my process for writing this song. I’m excited and relieved it’s out on the interwebs for your viewing and listening pleasure.

It’s a mathy one. Some parts are in 13/4 (3, 3, 4, 3). The outro is in 7/4. I didn’t intend to write in eye-rolling time signatures. I just dug the space between beats, and the room it afforded the melody.

Here’s the video of me playing through + the actual track (available for free download) on Soundcloud.


 

 

Subbing In With Hazel English

I had the pleasure of filling in on drums for my homie, Liam O’Neil, with Hazel English. Not only is the band comprised of the sweetest people, but their tunes ear candy. Here’s a video from the gig.

 
Thanks to the Hazel English crew for having me!

Post-show band pic. Shout out to @kylekellyyahner who filled in on drums and did a killer job 👏

A photo posted by Hazel English (@hazelenglishmusic) on Jun 6, 2016 at 2:57pm PDT

 

How To Play “Burn The Witch”

Burn The Witch

Radiohead disappeared from the interwebs Sunday, only to come back with a vengeance on Tuesday when they dropped “Burn The Witch” inducing mass hysteria.

I am not above the hysteria. I am enamored with this song.

Chalk it up to Greenwood’s minimalist orchestration, his collection of analog drum samples, or the peaks and valleys of Yorke’s crooning. I won’t be able to pick one. But, I did pick out the drum part and some samples that sound close(ish) to whatever black magic Greenwood is using.

The Samples

I used all analog synth and drum machine samples for the beat. Download them here.

  • Snare – Roland TR606
  • Kick – Jomox Xbase 09
  • Hi Hat – Teenage Engineering OP-1

 

The Beat

Here’s the beat by itself and the transcription.

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The Play Through

Here’s the play through. LP9 can’t get here fast enough.

Elvin’s Sextuplets

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The Sextuplet Effect

I’m working on a post showing how Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, and Art Blakey all use triplets differently, each in their own signature way. Elvin happens to have a rather large signature.

I was listening to a standard, “Dear John C” and one fill stood out to me. Elvin laces a tight grouping of notes together to propel his brother, Hank Jones, into a piano solo. If Elvin’s fill is full of spice, Hank’s laid back entry into a solo extinguishes Elvin’s spice in a refreshing way. It’s a small moment, but one to savor.

Elvin’s fill uses sextuplets as opposed to his signature triplets. The sextuplet fill has the same swing style of phrasing (obviously, it’s jazz). But, the amount of notes Elvin fits into two measures with such dexterity and feel is worth noting. Without picking it out, you might miss it.
 
Here’s the 4 bar phrase. Elvin comps for 2 bars and then fills for 2 bars

 
Here’s the transcription. I recommend playing this at 80, super slow, before going up to warp speed at the true tempo – 195.

JohnC

Elvin’s average fill is still jam packed with wisdom.

Questions, comments, or critique on the transcription – let me know on Twitter

Tracking

When you hang out with audio engineers, it’s easy to think of audio engineering as a bottomless pit. Some fell in it and are further down in their fall. Some are near the top. But no one is hitting the bottom. I’m near the top.

I’ve been doing remote studio work for a band on the east coast. I had a blast demoing tracks, transcribing programmed drums, programming more drums and working with the man himself – Chris Sugiura.

We laid down a track in an “improvised” setting – my rehearsal spot. Here’s the drum porn.

Tracksville, USA with the homie @csugiura The man has a tuned in set of 👂🏼s. #makestuff #drums #ludwig #agop

A photo posted by Kyle Kelly-Yahner (@kylekellyyahner) on Apr 11, 2016 at 10:15am PDT

The Rainy Season Of Shedsville

#NoisePop2016 came and went. I had the pleasure of doing my best Matt Johnson (St. Vincent) impression with Debbie Neigher. Now El Nino is pounding SF and the rain has me locked up in my practice space.

Debbie has been crafting some synth heavy songs that are absolute jammers. I listened to a ton of Matt’s drumming to get sounds for the sampler and get a vibe for the gig.

Here’s me in my natural drumming position – mouth agape, staring at a circle or square I will soon hit.

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The Shed

With a slow season for gigs, I’m hitting the shed a ton and exploring. To get new practice ideas I’ve been trolling Instagram and transcribing beats from Aaron Steele (Chrome Sparks, Portugal The Man, Alice Smith + many others). His #stockbeats series is a masterclass in feel and brevity.

Here’s Aaron’s beat I covered.

Here’s my cover of it.

Shedded to @aaronsteele_damn's #stockbeat after listening to a ton of Chrome Sparks.

A video posted by Kyle Kelly-Yahner (@kylekellyyahner) on

 

Adam Tuminaro aka The Orlando Drummer also has some really killer drills to help coordination around the kit and general chops. The man is a savage as shown by this Instagram video.

If you find yourself wandering through shedsville – say hello. I’ll be posting transcriptions of what I’m practicing along with a few videos of the chops.

Happy playing!

The Road To “Easy Cowboy” + NoisePop

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DONCAT finished up the first tour of the year. Our jaunt from LA down to San Diego, over to Phoenix and way up to Portland was a fun one. We kicked the tour off with a hometown show at Bottom of the Hill with VanWave and our homies from Lower Brite.

It felt great to dig into the tunes that will be on DONCAT’s upcoming record out this year, Easy Cowboy.
 
#NoisePop2016
Now that I’m home in San Francisco (and slept for nearly an entire weekend to recover from tour) it’s back to the grind. Noise Pop is coming up fast.
 
I’m playing The Night Light with DONCAT on Sunday 2/7. Yes, it’s Super Bowl Sunday. Yes, music is more important than the Super Bowl.
 
I’m also playing 2/25 at Bottom of the Hill with Debbie Neigher. She’s got this St.-Vincent-meets-Natalie-Prass on-a-soul-binge-thing going on right now. It’s awesome. I’m doing a ton of work on the SPDSX to capture the electro-side of her sound.
 
Here’s to a gig filled 2016. See you on the road, or at the show.