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The Prof is in. Ash Soan

Posted by Gareth Makin on

We move from one extreme to the other this blog (in both set up and the number of notes covered!).  Last time I covered the monumental chops and musicality of Virgil Donati (whaddya mean you missed it...go find it right now, go on, I'll wait) so I thought we'd go all minimal this time with the UK groove merchant and fabulously well dressed man, Ash Soan.

If you haven't come across Ash yet, hunched over his Gretsch kit, your ears probably have (they just haven't had a word with your brain and let you know it was him).  Sessions with Adele, legendary producer Trevor Horn (he occupies the drum seat in Horns' very own band The Producers with Lol Creme and Steve Lipton), Squeeze, Del Amitri, Belinda Carlisle, Sheryl Crow, Ce Lo Green and Cher should give you an idea of his ability and let's face it, bankability within the music industry.

His urgent and clipped hi-hat style, solid backbeat and greasy feel have gained him many admirers.  Having seen him in clinic a couple of times (once on Yamaha's UK 'Groove Tour' with the equally great Neal Wilkinson), his playing makes you move (in time I hasten to add).  He has occupied the hot seat of the UK edition of 'The Voice' TV show for some time, adding to his status as the versatile working drummer to call on.

I first heard Ash on an album by a UK indie/rock band called 'Six By Seven' ('The Closer I Get').  The album sees him having to play hard and heavy grooves interspersed with very precise technical fills.  It's a great, all around performance with a punchy recorded drum sound (it was apparently done by Ash at very short notice as the bands' drummer fell ill before the recording).  What pleasantly surprised me was that when I went back to this album, after hearing his work with Adele, I couldn't detect any real 'signature'.  He fitted the remit perfectly and served the music faithfully.  Check out examples of Ash's groove playing on Youtube, filmed in his home studio.

His cymbal sounds are fairly esoteric and he favours 'The only serious choice' of Zildjian.  Primarily he uses the Constantinople line but standard K's do feature depending on the musical setting. 

Finding out information on Ash's cymbals did take some time as their is no definitive listing on Zildjian.com or ashsoan.com - take note industry movers and shakers - so here is what I managed to find...

14" Constantinople Hi Hats

20" K Medium Dark Ride

22" Hi Bell Constantinople

So that's it for another blog.  I value your feedback so do get in touch and let me know what you like (or don't) or what you're up to playing-wise or what you're loving playing (a new acquisition perhaps?).

Until next time, I'm off to the drums...as Paul said...'a wun, two, free, faw'...bom be bap boom...crash!

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