“Bugz” is somewhat of a ripoff/combination of Mr. Bungle, Meshuggah, and maybe some Dillinger Escape Plan. It also happens to be my first tune with Travis Orbin on drums. It’s got a mildly lame story line to it and some numerically-driven parts, which may either come off as interesting or contrived, but hey, it’s better than random noise, right?
Note: The explanations below are for the “top level” conceptual design of the rhythms and drum parts. Smaller timescale/finer-detailed events were “filled in” by Travis down to the very last note. You can download his transcription here.
The time intervals between each guitar note accent are picked from the first 20 digits of the number e. This choice makes some sense since e is a part of exponential growth functions, which are relevant to the lyrics. The digits/durations are 2, 7, 1, 8, 2, 8, 1, 8, 2, 8, 4, 5, 9, 0, 4, 5, 2, 3, 5 with the “0” interval being almost a flam. Amazingly, Travis pulled his part off flawlessly in the studio (strictly as he had charted no less), which is extra impressive since there’s really no recurring pattern… it’s irrational!
Most of this part turned out to be in some 11 time with the hi-hat playing 3. This was an artifact of programming the scratch drums as a matter of fact. It’s sort of fun to switch between keeping track of the hats versus the guitar riff.
The rhythmic patterns here are loosely based on various orbital and rotational periods of planets in our solar system. Earth’s orbit is represented by the snare pattern repeating every 8 8th notes (8/8 = 1). The snare hits twice every other time to approximately represent Mars, whose year is almost two Earth years long. The repeating 3-note pattern on the hi-hat lasts two 8th notes, since Mercury’s orbital period is roughly 1/4 that of Earth. Venus’ “rhythm” has a 10 beat period with various permutations of a 2, 4, 3 pattern (its rotational period is ~243 Earth days) on the kick drum punctuated by a china hit.
This part came from the lyrics in a way. The “Bugs, we are bugs; bugs is what we are!” came out randomly in a conversation with my little brothers. We thought it was a funny thing to say so I decided it should go in a song. Since this is a 7 note pattern it was slapped over 4 and each cycle the notes (or words) shift forward 1/7 of a cycle, where words circulate back to the beginning after reaching the end. The instrumental part right before this one has the same pattern just twice as fast.
[Various alien scientists listening to some bad tunes while discussing the results of their experiment]
100,000 years now down the tubes
And so predictable too
Mathematically deterministic compounding exponential catastrophic
Same from the big BANG
Life, simplicity, feeding back into itself similarity unfolding chaotic processes absorbing waves then rejecting entropy systematic recursion leaving anonymity
Let me get this straight
Everywhere I go
If we came down from you
Then you came from who?
Then it’s only one more layer
In the onion of our truth
Sorry we never told you
We prescribed the ingredients
Then chose the mold to create your experience
Not quite the first to observe orbits of the spheres
[Time in our case
Far away in outer space
Looking to comprehend
Not quite first to observe orbits of the spheres]
Bugs, you are bugs!
Bugs, we are bugs!
I, I’m just a bug
I know it’s true
Only a bug but then again so are you
But we are still part of the universe
We’re flying around
Building walls in our towns
Hardly know anything
That we could, that we should
But it feels so good everyday
We don’t live that long anyway
This is one intense piece of drumming:
The “Bugz” artwork, shown at the top of the page, was created by Megan Bachant.
© 2021 Pete Peterson. All rights reserved.