Strategy a

Divide rhythms into two sides, the left hand / left foot playing one repeating pattern and right hand / right foot playing a different pattern. The length of each pattern determines the complexity of the resulting whole pattern.

The idea of combining two rhythms with each other is frequently used when constructing rhythmic frameworks. When both are short cycles, familiar rhythms are constructed. These are typically experienced in pop songs.  As the cycles lengthen the size of the audience shrinks. This added complexity asks for more attention and leads one to focus less on the surrounding world and more on the music. Not everyone wants to commit their attention to this added stimulus. It is this commitment that eventually brings the audial comfort we long for. 

A good analogy to this method is the idea of interacting gears. Pop songs are typically built using gears with 2, 3, or 4 teeth. Progressing further from the mainstream, a few more teeth are added and paired with the lower tooth gears; seven teeth are paired with four, nine with two, etc. These higher tooth ratios take time to get used to, but most can eventually settle in comfortably after some intentional listening.

In Sabzabi, we are increasing the number of teeth out a bit farther than most initially find comfort in. For example pairing a 20 tooth gear with a 9 tooth gear or a ten with a nine.  Instead of exposing the actual defined pattern, these higher numbers hint at possible patterns but typically are not fully realized by the listener.


The clip above is an example of this approach. While there is a weaving of other elements, the primary drum set pattern is based on the combination of a seven tooth gear (drummer’s right side) and a nineteen tooth (drummer’s left side) which results in a cycle lasting 133 pulses before it repeats. When listening carefully, the lower numbered side pattern  (seven) is noticeable; however, the other side (nineteen)  is far more difficult to grasp hold of even when it is known.