Saturday, June 04, 2005

I've got a fever...more Beam!


No, not more cowbell, although the cowbell sounds great on songs such as Scarlet Begonias. My need is for more Beam. For those of you not familiar with The Beam, this was a very unique piece of percussion that Mickey Hart used from time-to-time during the Drums segment.

Dennis McNally describes The Beam in "A Long Strange Trip"
Beam sounds are the fullest expression of Mickey's muse, for the Beam produces not just music, but noise, and there is one part of Hart that simply wants to make the loudest, most attention-getting noise possible. The Beam is a slab of aluminum strung with piano strings over a magnetic pickup, and is based on the Pythagorean monocord....Mickey Hart uses a piece of pipe, his feet, and you-name-it to wrestle the nastiest sounds he can imagine out of it. It is like nothing any average music listener has ever concieved, a drumming on the very edge of magic - or, as one critic so evocatively misheard it, "drumming at the edge of madness."

The first time you hear The Beam, you jump back, "What the hell was that!" It has a very sci-fi sound, and typically led into the Space segment. The only show I've downloaded that has it is the famous 12/31/87 New Years show. I remeber specifically hearing it there because I've had a copy of the PPV video of that show for years.

I'm looking for more though, I'd love to eventually put together a mix of great Beam moments. Your comments/suggestions as always will be appreciated.


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