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Tome On The Range

Give The Drummer Some: The Instruments Of Jaki Liebezeit
The Quietus , January 25th, 2020 07:28

In an exclusive extract from his new book, Jaki Liebezeit: Life, Theory and Practice of a Master Drummer, Jono Podmore takes us through the instruments that contributed to the former Can drummer's unique sound and playing style


Cassette Machine
The essential Jaki studio. Real low tech. A mono cassette recorder connected to a speaker Jaki had made himself at some point back in the sixties or even earlier.

Jaki used cassettes as a notepad – a rehearsal tool, recording not just himself for reference but also the groups who would play together in his room.

He enjoyed the simplicity of one button each for record and playback and that there was no complex set-up with microphones.

He also experimented with the auto record levelling system of cheap recorders. Maf Retter recalls one night Jaki playing gongs miked up through the cassette player and played back through the speaker. As the sound naturally diminished after a gong was struck, the cassette player would build up the gain and then when the gongs were struck again, it would duck, producing a ‘pumping’ effect, emphasising the sustain of the instruments.