It’s a phrase often heard around our studios here, listen to the drums on this… and it always leads us down a deep musical wormhole. So, if you’re looking for some drum insight and inspiration, listen to the drums on these…

Laura Jane Lowther (KUČKA)

Jacques Greene – Nordschleife.

I always think that they somehow manage to sound heavy yet incredibly delicate at the same time. The textures perfectly compliment the lightness of the bells and the vocals.

 

Adam Maggs

KUČKA – Drowning

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I’m backing up Laura’s selection here, but with one of her own songs because now I can see how she’s put the inspiration to good use! Heavy yet delicate, with perfectly-designed textures – these sounds allow the song to move between sparse / delicate then tough / dense. Every drum part here has such purpose and personality, starting with the those pushy shakers that are a force in themselves.

 

Doug Wright (Hed Ardennes, Fishing)

Stenny – Stress Test

 I’m really excited by the drums on records put out by producers like Stenny, SP:MC, and some stuff on Ilian Tape and Dr Banana — this deeper/darker exploration of swung UKG rhythms. Tonally I feel like the weighty drum sounds and heavy saturation plays really nicely with the really rigid swing of the genre.

On this tune, Stress Test, there’s a couple of things that stand out to me. The huge kick, tight and very tonal snare are just great sounds, with perfectly dialled envelopes. Keeping the decays short on all the percussive elements really exacerbates the swing and makes the whole groove feel really tight and jumpy. Plus there’s a bunch of really tidy reverb changes on the snare make it feel really dynamic, and give it a nod to dub production while staying subtle enough to not fight against the groove. The moments where the reverb decay leads into the next downbeat feels so precise and musical. There’s such a great level of control here. 

 

Katie Campbell (Roza Terenzi)

Pickleman – Electric Dreams
The way the breaks are cut are catchy in themselves.. the rolling snares and skipping tambourines, there is so much going on but it just feels so fluid – I never get sick of it. So many delicate little variations in the drums to keep things fresh which I also love and try to experiment with in my own music.

 Paris Forscutt (Made In Paris)

Ruede Hagelstein – Soul Dynamic

I love the 808 kit and the grooves he creates in this track. From the toms to the consistent cowbell – simple but so effective!

 

Brux (Dim Mak, Etc Etc)

Joefarr – Big Jeff 

Big Jeff by Joefarr. These drums slam so hard. Every time I play this in a club dj set it gets a great response.

 

Nina Wilson (Ninajirachi)

Dog Blood – Turn Off The Lights

The first thing that came to mind was Turn Off the Lights by Dog Blood, I play it in a lot of my DJ sets. The drums aren’t overly complex or anything, but every piece just hits in exactly the right place. They’re so clean and gritty at the same time.

 

Jared Beeler (DJ Plead)

Joe – Claptrap 

This tune’s drum work is so nimble and perfect. Its really the drum-benchmark for me. Really stripped back but so effective!

 

Josh Molony (Setwun, Letabruthaknow)

Can – Vitamin C

Jacki Liebetez’ feel on this whole record is so beautifully dynamic. Vitamin C has this insanely hard groove but all the playing is really light unless he’s really accenting moments. There is also all this separation in the mix which furthers this really dynamic playing. I think this dynamic approach is missing sometimes when we program drums.

 

George Nicholas (Seekae, Cliques)

Roland Tings – Hiding in the Bushes

I really like how the live and programmed drums on this one work together – the programmed drums establish a pretty straight backbeat then the live drums fill in the gaps with lots of syncopation and swing. I also really like the tuning of the percussion – and how because a lot of the synth sounds have short release there’s a degree of ambiguity about what’s percussion and what are the melodic elements.