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So it’s been over a year now since I started to learn to play drums and I wanted to revisit Traffic Jam, a track that basically got it’s start when I was hitting various objects laid about in my living room. With some relative success I managed to transcribed the beat, melody, or whatever it is, into a midi file to use as a trainer for the drum kit I had by then already decided I was going to be getting. Never did learn it on the actual drums though, beyond the basic groove and trying out bars a couple at a time.

Listened to it repeatedly these past weeks. At some point I was thinking of fixing it up, rearranging parts here and there, but one year later I’m still stumped. This’ll remain its final form I guess: the same track, basically identical but for a few details here and there, repeated five times at different tempos pasted together starting fast and slowing down to the middle section (the part with crickets and such in the background, the speed at which bar by bar I was trying it out on the drums) before then speeding back up again and fading out. Traffic Jam, the full commute.

Apart from rudiment practice, exercises, basic motions and licks, fills and whatnot, most of my time spent playing on the drums has been dedicated to Liquid Volts and, to a lesser extent, Ride Muffins. The mid section of Ride Muffins is a tad (cough cough) out of my reach right now, to say the least, so I’m not putting that much effort into it. I do very much enjoy its feel though, and playing around looping its variations much fun.

Liquid Volts Pie (or Liquid Volts π) has in 3/4 a target tempo of 90bpm – actually I initially wrote it in 120bpm, using triplets and the odd shuffle on the bass. So far, I’m quite consistent and very comfortable with it at 72bpm, reading off the 3/4 notations, and getting better at 80bpm although that pretty much seems to be where I’m capped out for now. Warmed up and in good shape I can manage up to 83bpm, slowly bumping up the ticker as I repeat it over and over. I still have much ways to go for a tight and smooth take at 90bpm. Not so much in the first half which is very much in my reach, but particularly in the second half where… eh…. yeah. Getting better and better however, every time I feel up to the challenge.

This is the best record I got for so far, not bothering with the slower tries. Beside the obvious timing issues, my by problem is with loudness and hit detection on the cymbals, which is why I’m peaking at around 80bpm where I’m currently having a hard time keeping their hits consistent and even, with appropriate accentuation while also keeping the snare crunchy. I’ve tried tweaking the kit’s sensitivity since I seem to find myself often riding the mid point between soft and hard hits (seeing as they are an electronic drum’s virtual cymbals), but it’s mostly just a question of practice.

Speeding up the video by about 15% would produce the result I’m looking for here, as in a 3 minute 14 second playtime. Getting there, 1 bpm at a time :)