Here it is! The one and only Oscar Jerome ‘Gravitate’ drum transcription.
Yesterday, a student asked me if I’d heard the latest ditty by Oscar Jerome called ‘Gravitate’. I hadn’t, so I pulled up the single on Spotify and had listen. Crivens, I thought, that’s a really weird beat. And so began the process of transcription. This wasn’t easy, not least because the pattern is so odd, but also because it was difficult to hear all of the details of pattern.
'Gravitate' drum transcription process
So strange is this beat, that at first I couldn’t even tell if it was in 4/4. I had to count semiquavers really carefully to identify where all the elements fell. No easy feat. Fortunately, I had AnyTune to slow things down a bit. What impressed me the most was how the pattern swings, given it’s irregularities. When the band kicks in, it takes you back to something like Weather Report, or one of those jazz fusion bands from the 70s where somehow the craziness all locks together to form a sexy groove.
In my first attempt, my ear gravitated (ha ha… see what I did there?!) to the strong snare beats which I ended up putting on beats 2 and 4, much like a standard backbeat. However, this pushed the first bass drum onto the ‘a’ of beat 4, which didn’t seem right (although, if you think about the rhythmic illusion patterns of Gavin Harrison, it’s not unheard of either).
The real lightbulb moment came when I heard a live version of the track on YouTube. In this version, the hi-hat pattern was suddenly revealed. This really helped me to pin things down. It became clear that the first bass drum was on beat 1 after all (of course it was – bass drums are always on beat 1, right? 😉 ).
Here’s a video of me playing the beat. I play it slower than the track so you have a better chance of working it out. It’s a fairly accurate transcription but if you think you can do better, go for it! My cousin is a drummer and he reckons this beat would be ‘better in another song, in a different band!!!. So, that’s your permission to steal it, folks.
Hope you find this helpful if you’re attempting to play this tune. It’s a fun beat. Don’t hurt yourselves. Let me know how you get on!