Breaking Down The Breaks #2: Simon Allen (of The New Mastersounds)

Breaking Down The Breaks #2: Simon Allen (of The New Mastersounds)

5. James Stroud –  “Do Me” by Jean Knight (1972)

The bigger tune that everyone knows from the same album is “Mr Big Stuff” but this one really delivers the breaks. Which are, in fact, integral to the form of the song and occur three times when the band drops out to leave just drums, vocals and cowbell for four bars. Another wonderfully dry snare drum sound and crunchy natural tape compression: the sonic hallmarks of this golden musical era. Did the 80s really need to happen? (Did I just say that? Surely not…)

“Another wonderfully dry snare drum sound and crunchy natural tape compression: the sonic hallmarks of this golden musical era. Did the 80s really need to happen? (Did I just say that? Surely not…)”

6. The New Mastersounds – Made For Pleasure (2016)

Okay, so this is one of mine… But I’m really proud of it: it’s a deliciously quirky groove and I especially love the production sound that Eddie (Roberts) achieved.

There’s an eight-bar drum break at around 1’30” in which the groove is held together by Eddie’s tambourine and wah-wah guitar. We always record all the New Mastersounds stuff live. Except the tambourine, which is necessarily overdubbed because we’re too cheap to hire a full-time tambourine player. Just the four of us in the same room, continuous takes – so that it’s about feel rather than precision or perfection. On this occasion we were all facing each other in a lovely converted chapel in New Orleans a few hundred yards from the Mississippi.

“I sensed the vibe from everyone was just right leading up to the breakdown and I managed to stay relaxed enough to channel me some Ziggy and Bernard when the moment came.”

Minor fuck-ups are left in since no-one wants to kill the vibe by doing endless takes. But there’s still a certain pressure when I’m halfway through not to suddenly drop a stick or succumb to “coward’s foot”.

I was therefore pretty happy to get to the end of this one. I sensed the vibe from everyone was just right leading up to the breakdown and I managed to stay relaxed enough to channel me some Ziggy and Bernard when the moment came.

There are two instances I know of in which my drums have been sampled in other releases. They are both from a track called “Drop It Down” that we recorded in 2000 for our first album. One is “Pure Filth” by Lack of Afro and the other is on a Z-Trip remix of “Right Thing” by DJ Shadow.

As it happens, next to his break record on King Underground, the next New Mastersounds album Renewable Energy was also released last Friday on One Note Records.

More: Breaking Down The Breaks: Aeon Seven

 

Danny

Just an ordinary guy always on the hunt for extraordinary music. Partly as the founder of The Find Magazine & Rucksack Records, partly as a freelance music journalist, but above all: out of love for all types of good music.