Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Country Music Drum Machine

I've lingered in the past few weeks over the country music line dancing show that they play every week here. I don't get cable, and I never listen to country radio, and I feel I must check in to see what this music is all about. I don't really like country, or at least mainstream country.*

But what strikes me the most about this music is how similar it is to traditional electronic dance music. The beats are almost uniformly rigid four on the floor kicks, and they sound so regular that I assume that they are the result of using drum machines or sampling.

Of course, they are different in that they don't use the drum machine sounds that you normally associate with electronic dance music - they're not really (that I can tell) sampling 808s or 909s. Nor are there any res/cutoff sweeps on 303 acid lines.

I guess it shouldn't be all that surprising. I mean, it is a line dancing show. Ultimately, though, the music's vile. Catchy and danceable, but vile.

* It seems that the main characteristic that distinguishes it from regular rock and roll is that the singers all sing with a heavy twang. It sort of sounds like they're emulating Lefty Frizzell, and while I really like Lefty Frizzell and his unique "choking on a frog" voice, it seems affected most of the time.

Maybe, too, there's a preference for traditionally country instrumentation, or really folk instrumentation. One's more likely to hear a fiddle or a slide guitar in a country song than in a rock song.

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