Over the years Gavin Harrison, the drummer with Porcupine Tree since 2002, has written a series of highly acclaimed books and DVDs. He specializes in taking the metric modulations, polyrhythms, and rhythmically displaced grooves used by some of the world's greatest drummers and creating methodical exercises to help introduce others into this exciting, creative world.
This time around, I'm looking at his latest DVD to date - Rhythmic Horizons.
Creative Approach to Rhythm
The DVD is two-sided, side A plays in any DVD player but side B contains an Extras Folder that can only be accessed using a computer DVD drive.It contains PDF files of selected exercises from side A so that you can print them and use them for practice. Also included are some MP3 and MIDI files. Side A of the DVD contains certain sections, clearly marked, that let you choose between two audio tracks to enhance your practicing. The disc also features subtitles in German and Italian.
Lessons (Side A): The first four chapters are based on a technique Gavins refers to as Overriding. He demonstrates this principle on the drumset by playing a 7/8 time groove while changing his ride cymbal time pulse from sixteenths to eighths to quarter notes, etc., which provides the override effect. Various examples are shown and demonstrated.
The next two chapters are designed to help you get more comfortable with playing Polyrhythms by singing, in various ways, as you play them.
The third chapter, titled Resolving, provides demonstrations on how to use the priniciples you just learned in a musical situation including the ability to resolve your polyrhythmic patterns based on the length of the particular musical structure.
The fourth chapter is a menu listing of theTunes used on the DVD that show Gavin applying his principles of Overriding, Polyrhythms, and Resolving.
You may be tempted to bypass the final Credits chapter but don't. It contains a cool display of Gavin's principles in action, using ordinary kitchen fixtures and appliances!
Side B: In addition to the previously mentioned Extras Folder for which you'll need a computer with a DVD drive, there are additional chapters featuring an extended Drum Solo, a preview from a DVD of Gavin performing with Porcupine Tree, Shop demo loop (featuring Gavin playing exclusively with his hands on various of his Zildjian cymbals), and more fun stuff.
Rhythmic Horizons: The Bottom Line
If you've ever wondered how drummers can sound like they're playing in two different time signatures at the same time or were confused by odd polyrhythmic combinations, this DVD is for you. Along with Harrison's other books and DVDs, it will not only help you understand what those other players have been doing, but it will give you lots of food for thought in expanding your own creativity. I highly recommend Rhythmic Horizons for both intermediate and advanced players looking to add to their existing bag of tricks.
While a decent value at its suggested retail price of $39.95, you can purchase it at a discount online: Gavin Harrison Rhythmic Horizons DVD