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Monday, October 17, 2011

Music for cabriolets : The Cure - A Forest

It's short after 6 o'clock in the morning. Rostock, Germany. I'm driving out of the Sweden - Germany overnight ferry, passing the apocalyptical power station tower. It's dark, only a few cars around on the highway. Hundreds of kilometers are waiting. So let's start them. Loud.

Btw. the strange drums used in this track are Remo Roto-Toms. They appeared in the 70s, differing from common used drums from that time by metal construction and easy tuning by rotating the drum body, therefore the name. It is possible to tune them in notes like any other instrument. Their sound characteristic was higher and flatter sound + afterwards quicker descending as wooden drums. They were used as toms in drumkits as well as additional percussions to drumkits.

They were used by wide range of prominent drummers. To name just a few of them : Bill Bruford (King Crimson), Roger Taylor (Duran Duran), Roger Taylor (Queen), Neil Peart (Rush), Phil Collins (Genesis), Stewart Copeland (The Police) or here Laurence Tolhurst from The Cure.

Due to their easier transportability and less place requirements they were often used also by drummers playing in bars and very small venues. The largest of them 22" (if I recall correctly) could be, when properly damped, used also as a kick drum. 

Later, in the 80s they were pushed out by the wave of electronic drums with more variable but also more artificial sound. They are still produced and sometimes appear on stages. From my former drummer period I have six of them somewhere :) There is also a wiki link explaining more.

But drummers remained to use wooden drums in waste majority. Wood is wood, the sound is more natural. So the Rototoms stayed as a curiosity.

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