Curating The Week: On Stagefright, Jeff Porcaro’s Timing, And Futurism In New Dance Music

1. A New Yorker article about stagefright.

“The crux, of course, was the invention of sound recording and then of film, in the late nineteenth century. These things did not create stagefright, but they fostered it, by enabling performers to do their work without having to appear in front of an audience.”

2. An article about the fractal qualities of timing and dynamic variations in Jeff Porcaro’s drumming in a song by Michael McDonald. A summary of the article is here.  (Thanks to Tristan Marzeski for alerting me to the article.) The original scientific study is here.

“Although drummers often ‘wander’ around the click track intentionally, our example does not resemble such behavior. This finding is in line what has been commented by Grammy Award winning musician, producer, and recording engineer Jay Graydon, who has recorded with Porcaro: ‘When playing with Jeff, better not to use a click since he played inside the cracks and his time float is what made him great.'”

3. An article about futurism in new dance music.

“But even when certain elements of the music have clearly traceable lineages, nothing about the final product sounds quite like anything that has come before. With their jagged rhythms, glassy timbres and resolutely digital aspect, these new tracks couldn’t be confused with the music of earlier decades. At their most extreme, they can convey, at least upon initial listens, the same sort of brain-rearranging rush that accompanied a first encounter with jungle or grime (or, indeed, Aphex Twin). As beats come undone from conventional timekeeping and notes twist in the artificial winds, the brain struggles to catch up; you can practically feel new paths being blazed through your cortex, new neural networks congealing around unfamiliar tropes.”