Modulator is Trey Gunn with uber-drummer Marco Minnemann; but with a gigantic twist. This entire recording was composed and produced over the top of a 51 minute, live drum solo by Marco.
Marco has enlisted several different musicians to create a full cd, each, from the same drum solo. No editing of the drum performance was done. All the music had to fit with what Marco played and, ideally, make it seems like only this drum performance could go with this music.
"This was the hardest recording I have ever taken on," says Gunn. "The challenges of this process prove the old adage that 'with great restrictions come great creative leaps'."
Trey Gunn – touch guitars, fretless guitars, basses, keyboards, samples, arrangements
Michael Connolly - uilleann pipes, fiddle
Marco Minnemann – 51 minute, live drum solo
Seattle, WA (March 2010) – It all began when international drumming icon, and rhythmic illusionist Marco Minnemann approached former King Crimson touch guitar explorer Trey Gunn about writing music to Minnemann’s fifty-one minute drum solo. Gunn had no idea that accepting this monumental task would lead him into such challenging, uncharted compositional territory and ultimately the creation of Gunn’s laborious and masterful Modulator. Gunn comments on the birth of Modulator: “My initial response was: No way! That sounds ridiculously hard. Not being a huge fan of drum solos in the first place, made me wary, but the idea of tackling 51 minutes of improvisation sounded insane. Then you add in the fact that Marco has rhythmic complexities that leave most of the human race scratching their heads and, well, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
But, Minnemann was persistent. He gave the 8-channel multi-tracks of his live drum performance to Gunn, which were put into Logic Audio and stared at for many moons. Gunn recalls, “I would open the files and just look at this huge, daunting piece of audio; 51-minutes of nearly non-stop drumming. Wondering, what do I do now?”
In the end, Gunn meticulously dissected Minnemann’s monstrosity of rhythmic insanity and cleverly converted this once massive, endless improvisation into a cohesive journey of sonic soundscapes that stretches the imagination across a dynamic spectrum of edgy to ethereal compositions. Gunn’s convincing arrangements deter the listener from the fact that it was a “drums first” structure by grabbing bits of Minnemann’s multi-layered, rhythmic ideas and composing ingenious melodies and textures that would lead one to believe Minnemann was in-fact following Gunn’s lead.