Four Sticks?

Stomp was created as a playground to experiment with creative mixing of drum sounds in a surround environment. I originally envisioned a live, reverberant surround soundstage similar to that Led Zeppelin achieved when recording John Bonham's kit at Headley Grange mansion, site of the recording sessions for the band's fourth studio album. Although my initial muse was the inspired by the cavernous drum sound on Led Zeppelin songs like "Kasmir" and "When the Levee Breaks," I soon found myself heading in a totally different direction, instead arranging for two separate drum kits to play simultaneously in the front and rear speakers. My vision for emulating Headley Grange drum tracks in quadraphonic sound would have to wait - I was having way too much fun mixing twin drum kits in surround!

The spacey synthesizer sound heard in the rear channels at 0:36 is actually a bass guitar melody played backwards.

Four Strings!

Although I had departed from the idea of trying to recreate a Led Zeppelin-style drum sound, I still very much wanted to jam out to some Bonham-inspired beats. The only problem was, every guitar riff I came up with seem to end up sounding like some sort of variation on "Kashmir." I struggled with this for a while and in the end, I decided the best way to avoid sounding like I was copying Jimmy Page would be to throw my guitar out the proverbial window and simply write and record my parts exclusively on bass guitar! Although I initially had some doubt as to whether I would be able to come up with an interesting song arrangement using only a single, four-stringed instrument, I actually found the self-imposed limitation liberating. Like a chef in a kitchen with just a few spices, you learn to work with what you have at hand.

crush session conceptual image

Got Weird Space Sounds? Check.

The spacey synthesizer sound heard in the rear channels at 0:36 is actually a bass guitar melody played backwards. Getting the timing for those notes just right took a bit of "calculated composing." I first wrote out the melody you hear on the recording on music paper like this: A C D E G. Then I flipped the notes around and played them in reverse order (G E D C A). After I recording the reversed melody, I flipped the audio track around in the computer so the music notes would play out in the correct sequence (A C D E G), lending a weird, cosmic-sounding inflection to the melody. Back in music college, some friends of mine did this with spoken word to create creepy, off-sounding vocal tracks. !skeeg cisum rof nuf thgin yadirF

Production Notes

• About half way through the song, the drum kits split into two separate beats, creating a unique percussive arrangement you can only truly appreciate in a surround sound environment.

• Although the instrumentation for this track is 100% bass guitar, the solo section at 2:58 is unabashed guitar-playing-on-a-bass.

Cover Art

The photo for "Stomp" pays homage to my favorite album of all time, Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album.

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