View Single Post
Old 24th January 2018
Lives for gear

It is a different feel. Only in recent times has the idea of click = correct been predominant.

I recently saw an old instructional video from Ed Shaughnessy, the drummer of the Tonight Show Band (Johnny Carson era). He talks about tempo being a "hallway with rubber walls" and that for feel, you needed to use the full width of the hallway at the right time.

At a Cubase seminar some time ago, they showed their (at the time) new tempo mapping features by applying it to an Earth, Wind and Fire track (IIRC, September), and "fixed" the time. The feel and energy immediately disappeared.

However, a recent experience made me realize that, even for acoustic music, using a click doesn't translate to no feel, just a different feel.

I did a project where I was lucky enough to have excellent players, with incredible time and feel. All 5 of us tracked together, just like olden times. My plan was to not use the click, but the drummer said that he was cool with it, so the plan changed to using the click for some takes, then try some without it.

We didn't bother doing ones without the click. The tracks felt great, and they felt current.

However, there was one song which needed to breathe, with slight slowdowns and speedups in and out of the chorus. Playing that song against a click in rehearsal flat out felt wrong. So, no click was used during the session, and the feel was absolutely right.

Interesting side note. While tracking that song, was a mess up on an otherwise good take, and the decision was made to do a "band punch" - play along with the track, and at the right moment, punch in every track.

We do it, and it works out fine. But in the control room there was a look of stunned amazement. Apparently, the punched in part lined up perfectly with the previous take - and, no click was used.