Tuesday, March 16, 2010
For many years I have used drum machines and samples to embellish recordings during the overdubbing process. Often my preference is to record the basic tracks live and then go in and play around once that foundation is there.
As drum machines began to use samples they became more viable for certain types of Rock music. When the Roland V-drums hit the market we now had a level of editing that turned these electronic drums into viable musical instruments.
It had been a while since something new has come along that actually caught my ear in the E-drum dept. when I heard about XLN Audio's Addictive Drums. I was told by a touring musician that they had held up really well over weeks of shows and that they sounded great. Well that was enough for me to want to at least look them up.
When I hit the website I was sort of surprised to see a product that was packaged in a mainstream way, offering styles (including "Punk") and at a relatively low street cost of about $200. I have to say that I was totally skeptical having been so spoiled by the quality of boutique gear and stuff that at face value was decidedly noncommercial in that hipster sort of commercial way.
I jotted off a question or two which was quickly responded to by Tore Jarlo at the company.
Soon I had downloaded their demo, which is usable and really is just limited by the fact that it only gives you a few drums to play. One can edit the sounds and get a real sense of the software in terms of one's ability to tweak and get the best out of the software.
Having not read any instructions or made any special provisions as to what I was going to do I loaded the demo up in VSTLord and began to play around with the drums by playing them with The Manta.
I am safe in saying that I am fully qualified as a musician and musicologist to make an unequivocal statement that I really am not a good drummer. THAT being said, I do know what drums sound like and I do know when a controller like The Manta has hit a good match in terms of being able to use it's expressiveness to a high degree and both the hardware and software blended so well that I actually felt a pang of artistic joy.
It's rare that a test comes out like an actual musical event. When one works with technology one tends to distance one's self at times like these.
My desire in the studio is always to be able to add drums and percussion during the overdubs that blend easily with the original tracks but I want the flexibility to go gonzo and I want the real drummers to feel comfortable using the tools. Today was one of those epiphany days.