Hello Steve, My apologies if you’ve been asked this before. Your precise but highly creative approach to rhythmic composition has always strongly appealed. Even now, listening to Japan’s cover of ‘Ain’t That Peculiar’ deceives me as much as when I first heard it. At several points in the recording, I find myself questioning where the ‘one’ is. I’m not sure if you perceive the same rhythmic illusion that I do, but can you recall if it was an effect you set out to achieve? Many thanks.

It’s in straight 4/4  and the 1 is as ever on the 1, however the bass drum and snare emphasise the ‘and’ (8th notes) on 1 and 3, so you are probably slipping into perceiving the 1 on the ‘and’. There’s also a BD on the (6th) 16th beat which adds to the illusion of a triplet rhythm if you’re thinking that the Tom on the (3rd) 16th is the downbeat, which might confuse things further.

Yeah I know, none of that helps really … how about a diagram? Probably doesn’t either. I don’t know, it makes sense in my head but being self-taught doesn’t equip you with the appropriate tools for teaching. I’ll bet Gavin Harrison could elucidate this matter in no time 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Hello Steve, My apologies if you’ve been asked this before. Your precise but highly creative approach to rhythmic composition has always strongly appealed. Even now, listening to Japan’s cover of ‘Ain’t That Peculiar’ deceives me as much as when I first heard it. At several points in the recording, I find myself questioning where the ‘one’ is. I’m not sure if you perceive the same rhythmic illusion that I do, but can you recall if it was an effect you set out to achieve? Many thanks.

  1. I guess part of the irritation comes from the fact that also the synth harmonics fall on the off beat bass drum and not on the 1. There’s no musical element on the 1, just the counting in your head…
    roland

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  2. Also remember the drums are being played against and over the back drop of the Roland CR-78 drum machine with its constant patten.
    When both are combined it gives the overal effect of that great drum rhythm.

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  3. Forget “effect!” Japan’s version of “Ain’t That Peculiar” is a great rhythm! This song as in alternate form on Virgin’s “Cash Cows” sampler was my otherworldly introduction to Japan. The rhythm section of the band was otherworldly. I was soon buying the albums and getting my mind blown. I sure wouldn’t look askance at any live concert recordings from the “Quiet Life” and “Gentlemen Take Polaroids” eras getting a release. It hurts that I have “everything” with no more from that astonishingly fertile period to listen to. That was the sound of Japan exploding beyond their influences to maturity.

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