I was going to write about something else today but something on social media got my dander up so, as a person well and officially in middle age, I decided to go full "outraged Grandpa Simpson" and address it.....
Anyway, there's this sort of wristwatch/metronome thing that's being advertised a lot online lately. Now, as regular readers will know, I have no problem with metronomes, drum machines, sequencers etc. They are a part of any current musician's life, and one must learn to work with them. What I have a big problem with, however, is the fetishization and worship of such devices, as if they were the music itself. in the online ad, a great drummer, whose work I admire greatly says.... " No human has perfect time " and ( referring to the wristwatch ) " this is such a beautiful instrument...".
Okay, I'll deal with what I feel to be problematic with these statements one at a time.
I if he means that no human has perfectly mechanical metronomic time, I totally agree with him. Make no mistake, I have listened to this person play so beautifully on numerous recordings. He's making the music, not a machine! In fact, he's one of those great players ( I would count the great Steve Jordan in this group as well ) who can make the machinery sound like it's PLAYING TO HIM, rather than the other way around. The gear isn't where it's at, the humans are, you dig?
Now if he calls this wristrenome ( I just made that up ) a beautiful instrument, what does that make the drums he's playing? It's not an instrument. It's a tool, a device, a utensil. Steinway makes instruments. Seiko does not.
People may feel I'm nitpicking over language but I think it's important to realize (yet again ) that the human element is what makes great music great.
And now ( just by coincidence, mind you ) let's listen to the great JR Robinson propel Steve Winwood's beautiful " Back In The High Life Again" and shows those little knobs and wires who's boss...... :)