Given that Ulcerate is one of the more forward-thinking death metal bands around (as will again be evidenced on the trio’s upcoming album Vermis), it’s only fitting that drummer Jamie Saint Merat’s playlist fits his group’s modus operandi. As he explains, “Being a drummer, I figured it might be an idea to pick something that sits outside of the usual or obvious choice. Drums being a mostly non-melodic instrument, most drummers I know end up listening to a wide variety of music that they’re not necessarily into stylistically–just that the rhythmic ideas presented are so good it’s criminal not to take an interest. So rather than pick classic tracks, I figured I’d choose some modern tracks that I get a kick out of and that display phenomenal drumming from drummers that really transcend all musical boundaries, regardless of whether or not you like the style or genre.”
Feel free to air drum along here and pre-order a copy of the New Zealanders’ new record here.
Christian Scott’s “K.K.P.D.” (from 2010’s Yesterday You Said Tomorrow)
Drummer: Jamire Williams
This stuff is really cool, particularly for someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy listening to 90% of jazz–there’s a really chill vibe to this stuff, as well as a total free-jam approach that shows off Jamire’s command of the kit. Also, in the sea of over-produced/quantized and fake drum production that we’re all being subjected to these days, this is like a breath of fresh air, 100% organic “drummer in a room” sound. Love it.
Nerve’s “Ulaan Bataar” (from 2009’s Prohibited Beats)
Drummer: Jojo Mayer
I’ll be the first to admit I know fuck-all about drum ‘n’ bass. I’ve heard bits and pieces here and there that interest me, mostly the super chopped-up, dark aggressive stuff. But the beats that the genre has spawned are insanely fascinating, and Jojo Mayer, along with one or two other names I recognize (KJ Sawka, etc.), pull off the machine-like syncopations with a human touch that’s just killer. Possibly also more accessible for those of us who aren’t listeners of electronic music typically. Jojo’s widely considered to be a total authority when it comes to mastery of this instrument–his DVD Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer as far as I’m concerned is the be-all and end-all of hand technique. He also has arguably the best right foot in all of drumming, particularly in his mirroring of a lot of stick control techniques.
Dave Weckl Band’s “Double Up” (from 2002’s Perpetual Motion)
Drummer: Dave Weckl
Unless you actually dig fusion jazz, I think that this track is definitely a drummers-only tune, as the cheese factor is pretty high. But in terms of just complete command of an instrument, Dave Weckl ranks pretty highly. I first heard this in high school and I remember thinking, “why am I even playing drums,” haha. Saw Dave in clinic a few years later and had the exact same response once again! There’s just a level of finesse and fluidity here that not many reach, and it serves as endless inspiration. Unfortunately, this takes a certain mindset to withstand the staccato horn section and ’80s keyboards!
Benny Greb Brass Band’s “Good Question” (from 2009’s Brass Band)
Drummer: Benny Greb
Benny has some of the most unique feel of any drummer on the planet. You can spot his playing from a mile away. He has a vocabulary that is crazy and has a holistic and musical approach to the kit that not too many drummers attain. Even in his solo work, he rarely let’s completely loose in terms of speed or aggression, it’s mostly just intelligent ideas flowing one after the other. Also of note is his cymbal work, which has definitely seeped into my own playing, lots of really subtle hi hat and ride interplay, and just a very melodic approach in general. This track again is possibly one for the drummers, as the horns are an acquired taste!
Chris Dave’s “Medley (Pt. 1)”
Drummer: Chris “Daddy” Dave
Chris Dave is fucking nuts, not too much more to be said here. Here he’s playing along to Portishead’s “Dummy” and Bob James’ “Nautilus”. I honestly just don’t know where he gets his sense of feel from, and you’re shit out of luck when trying to emulate it, haha. Also of note–he’s been quoted saying he goes through periods of hating toms and often plays with cracked cymbals. In this particular video he’s using five (!) snares, sounds great.
Bohren & der Club of Gore’s “Maximum Black” (from 2002’s Black Earth)
Drummer: Thorsten Benning
The only track on this list that I actually really feel from a holistic point of view (i.e., I’m a fan of the band), these guys have been a huge influence on us. I remember the first time hearing this album and just thinking it’s the most desolate, haunting music, frightening in its ability to just take its time and crawl along. The drumming is understated and tasteful, not to mention extremely down-tempo. The whole album is played with brushes and riveted cymbals but just slowly grinds away at you. Excellent stuff.
*Order a copy of Vermis here.
**We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here.
Past entries include:
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
All That Remains
A Life Once Lost
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Meshuggah
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)