Found some 2006 footage of a NI Vokator ‘drums processed by vocoder’ experiment. Tonight re-assigned midi to Waves Morphoder and this was the result. Groove is 11/8 or 4/4 + 3/8. I wish they would bring back Vokator.

In layman’s terms, these are some pretty weird sounding drums.


An experiment replacing the snare with a 14″ floor tom, an octoban played with the left foot, and no proper high hat. Featuring FMP percussion and Istanbul Agop cymbals. I often get inspired by different setups, mixing things up a bit, and seeing what happens. This groove appeared soon after setting up a 26″ Gothic Radius cymbal which compliments the toms. Technical note: This was the first time had used Michel Joly modded Oktava 219 mics on the toms.

A quiet groove that I can imagine someone like Jon Hassell or Brian Eno layering some soundscapes on top of.

Hand technique is like anything else. Use it or lose it.

Before jumping into composing or recording, most mornings I’ll run through some sticking exercises, rudimental drumming, coordination patterns, and sight reading to keep in shape.

The above video features improvised flams and flam taps, and few other rudimentary bits. Traditional flams, especially in drum lines, are usually played with a firm military execution. I prefer the Steve Gadd approach where he injects feel into rudimental based grooves and fills.

From my first experimentations with using the Roland SPD-30 Octapad as a midi controller. I used to use an old Drum Kat, but it has been deteriorating over the years, and went crawling into a corner when I rigged this up.

If you are wondering about the triggered sounds, they are from my personal sound design library, and are not the stock Roland sounds. The Octapad is triggering a custom patch in Kontakt 5 which contain the samples. Geek fun!


Here’s the first drumming video that I put on YouTube. It started from an improvised melodic tom theme that spoke to me as I was experimenting with some Factory Metal Percussion instruments.

Those big grey circular cymbals are prototype Gothic Radius instruments. They sound incredible, a blast of white noise with a short decay. Perfect for punchy accents. There are also some stacked Cross Benderz some of which have jingles to add to their metallic bell sound.

These unique metallic instruments make for a great alternative to traditional cymbals. They are especially great when you want sharp, intense accents without a lot of sustain.


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It’s no secret that I love JZ microphones from Latvia. When I first received the trio of BT-201 microphones, a did all kinds of tests and shootouts.

Here’s a short little video featuring a Meinl cajon recorded with 3 BT-201s. The mics capture the woody-ness of the instrument along with the attack of the hands.

Recorded with API 2124+ mic pres with no eq or compression. Just raw tracks



An excerpt from a recording session I did for composer/arranger John Sawoski. 8:15am is never to early to rock out.

These are raw tracks (no plugins on the individual channels),  with just a little love from the Vertigo VSC-2 Compressor by Brainworx on the master bus in Pro Tools.

All cymbals by Istanbul Agop
All drum heads by Aquarian Drumheads

Instrument: Microphone / Mic Pre:

  • Kick: Shure Beta 52 / API
  • Snare top: Shure SM57 / Universal Audio 4110
  • Snare bottom: Shure Unidyne III / Universal Audio 4110
  • Toms: JZ BT-201s / API
  • Overheads: AKG 451s / API
  • Room mics: Oktava 219s (Michael Joly mod) / Universal Audio 4110

Sometimes it’s best to be ‘hands on’ when creating custom sounds. I’m usually hands on with drums and percussion, but in this case I was working on the game over sound for the iPhone kids game app “Blackhole Joe“.

I have some great sounding virtual synths, but the ones I tried came up short for what I was hearing in my head. I needed something that sounded like an old school video game sound from the early 1980s.

So I rigged up my trusty old Micromoog, and quickly dialed and performed the sound. God bless Robert Moog!

Blackhole Joe is one of five iPhone App games that I’ve created music and sound design for. The games were developed by Peruvian Hat using the Project Mahem software (Game Academy).