Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Jacob Zimmerman/Gus Carns - June 30, 2013


JZ: Gus and I have been playing duo together for the last year and have begun developing our own original music that utilizes complex rhythmic structures. This music is directly related to the music of the great bassist Kim Cass who I’ve played with in the band Anteater. We will give the premier performance of a new work of mine entitled “Boxcars Boxcars Boxcars,” and then use the different rhythmic elements of this piece in a variety of ways for the session to follow.

First of all, we want to say that this session will be much more directed and structured than usual, more of a “workshop” than a “public session.” Come ready to be challenged and try something new. 

The main premise of “Boxcars Boxcars Boxcars” is to create the illusion of a constantly shifting tempo that is held together by a static underlying tempo.  To do this we use even polyrhythms such as a 4 over 3, or 4 over 5 to suggest a superimposed tempo. These polyrhythms are FUN, ranging from very familiar (e.g. 3 over 4, aka quarter note triplets) to unfamiliar (e.g. 6 over 5).

To demonstrate the range of superimposed tempos this can provide I created this “scale” of tempi track. Each change of pitch is a new polyrhythm/tempo.

Now here is the same thing with a metronome click showing the steady “invisible” underlying tempo.

Here’s the music for Boxcars Boxcars Boxcars. 

I will have printed copies for everyone. It is just 7 measures long, and uses the following polyrhythms in this order:

[ 3 over 7 ] [ 2 over 3 ] [ 4 over 5 ] [ 3 over 5 ] [ 4 over 3 ]

Here’s what the bass line sounds like.

Here’s what it sounds like with the melody.

Here’s a little sample of me improvising on it.

If we have time at the session we’ll get into the “shuffle rhythms” in the drum set line. For now it would be great if everyone just gave a listen and tried tapping all the polyrhythms in the piece.