Mickey Hart & Zakir Hussain: Global Drum Project

The liner notes to Global Drum Project states, “In the beginning was the noise…and that noise begat rhythm, and rhythm begat everything else. “ And for what seems his entire life Mickey Hart has made that rhythm, whether as a drummer for the Grateful Dead, his work with the Library of Congress on the preservation of their musical archives, or with any number of his side-projects.

Global Drum Project
is the latest in a long-line of these side projects (and the follow up to 1991’s Grammy Award winning Planet Drum), and finds Hart still making that rhythm.  Reuniting with long-time partner, Indian percussion master Zakir Hussain, the duo continues the conversation they began in the 1970s with their highly influential album Diga Rhythm Band.  Backed by an army of world-renown percussionists, Global Drum Project again explores the rich poly-rhythms of the world beat sound that the two musicians have journeyed through together for the past thirty years.

Their sound has moved away from the straight drum and percussion that dominated Planet Drum, and at times now takes on an ambient trance vibe.  The album is colored by Hart’s use of his computer work-station RAMU (Random Access Musical Universe) that allows him to access his entire library of sounds, enabling him to be able to loop and sample them into an entirely new musical collage.  The distinct sounds created by Hart’s RAMU provide the heartbeat and the personality for the album, about which he says, “We had clear goals when Zakir and I started this, and we stayed with the vision.  It’s basically a combination of the archaic world – drums, membranes, percussion – and the digital domain. And we’re dancing between those two worlds.”

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