In 1967 the Harrow based Ad Rhythm Records put out its first three 7 inch singles, entitled Add Rhythm. Rather than featuring complete songs, each of them contained four drum rhythms; two on each side for musicians to “Add Rhythm to your own melody”. The three singles, entitled Dance Time, Pop Time and Latin Time, are a unique example of technological repurposing; it was no longer your gramophone it was now, “the most effective practice aid a musician ever had”.
In August 2013, I found two of the Add Rhythm 7 inches in a Red Cross charity shop in Hendon. Taking the Add Rhythm singles home two things became apparent: firstly that these rhythms were entirely usable, and secondly that they represented ancestral missing links in the technologies of break beats and sampling. I resolved to use them for my own recordings, but then as I showed off my newly won treasures online, I had a bigger idea: I thought that it would be better if *lots* of people used them for recording.
By the 30th September I had received twenty-seven recordings from the contributors. Over two thirds of the original applications. I was astounded both by the quality and the range of material on these recordings. Certainly I expected some of the playful noise-based reactions to the rhythms but there were a wide range of musical responses using a variety of techniques and even a pleasing array of songs. With most tracks ranging between three to three and a half minutes, the resultant feast is more like a mouthwatering selection of tapas than a stodgy diet of carbohydrates.