ne plus ultra precision
March 5, 2013 9:34 PM   Subscribe

Top Secret Drum Corps performing at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2012. The 25 Swiss drummers and colorguard members were one of the first non-military, non-British Commonwealth acts to perform on the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle in 2003 and have made several reappearances. Drummers World features more videos, photos and information. (via Miss Cellania)
posted by madamjujujive (18 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Love these guys. I've been a fan of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards since hearing their "Drmmer's Salute" in the JFK soundtrack, but these guys take it to a whole new level.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:43 PM on March 5, 2013

That was amazing. Out of several handfuls of 'wow' moments, my favorites were the colorguard volunteering their flagpoles and the swashbuckling. That was some swashbuckling!
posted by carsonb at 9:46 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

That is some precision shit.
posted by kenko at 9:46 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

In a similar vein is Battery Battle by the superb Broadway show Blast!

Good god, I saw this from the front row on their most recent tour and holy shit was it pulse-quickening.

The end of MalagueƱa from the front row is probably one of my all-time favorite theater moments. What a way to end a show.
posted by disillusioned at 9:52 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I hate to be the guy who doesn't get the point. But I don't get the point.

I liked the plumes in their hats though!
posted by schwa at 10:11 PM on March 5, 2013

That was amazing to watch. Even just getting two people to play that fast, in such perfect time, without any of the movements or theatrics, would be a feat in itself.

The point is that they're absolutely exceptional in musicality and performance and timing and precision. It's a terrible shame if their hats were the high point.
posted by twirlypen at 10:30 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Instantforward to my Dad, with whom I share an enthusiasm for the otherwise mediocre film Drumline (and parade bands, generally), and who've also dragged to a very middling stage show version of the mediocre movie.

my big plan, one of these days when he actually retires, for real, is to take him to the big old Battle of the Bands in Atlanta... not this year, but soon.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 10:53 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you want top secret, digital, and marching band, perchance look upon ITCHY-O
posted by alex_skazat at 11:12 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

I would be interested to know how they came about and how they managed to put a performance like that together. In my experience groups of drummers in the West mostly divide into those who were inspired by (ultimately) African rhythms - they like to make people dance - or parade bands who come from roots of the military. The first group are a bit hippy and quite individualistic- but they arrange to co-ordinate with each other to make the party swing - the second are about showing precision, motivating soldiers to march to war and conveying age old traditions. The Top Secret Drum corps seem to be a pretty interesting mix of the two - and I would venture that they could only come from a country like Switzerland which likes it military but not its fighting.
posted by rongorongo at 12:38 AM on March 6, 2013

Wow. I know a little about drum corps, having been in a heavily corps-influenced marching band in high school, but I was unfamiliar with this one and they are amazing.

Forwarding to my brother, who was in the drumline of said high school marching band, and for whom I always pay special attention to the bass drummers, who have easier music but challenging maneuvers.
posted by camyram at 3:53 AM on March 6, 2013

From someone who never really got the hang of patty-cake as a young child or line dancing later in life--I am in awe!
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:32 AM on March 6, 2013

I had to watch this without sound at work and it was still amazing. Awesome stick work is still awesome even if you can't hear it. Gonna go dig out that compilation of drum breaks from the 1993 DCI finals that I made a long time ago.
posted by charred husk at 9:24 AM on March 6, 2013

I enjoyed this video but their playing precision is actually lacking somewhat compared to American drum lines. American kids start with very high level drum line playing in 9th grade or so (by the thousands every year), and by the time they reach college age are amazingly proficient as ensembles.

As an example, here is a little bit of the DCI Blue Devils drum line goofing off at practice. Notice that when the snares all play it sounds like a single player it is so precisely together, something lacking in the Top Secret performance. (You can watch more DCI drum lines play while moving here.)

So this is fun, but if drum line performance is engaging to you there is much more to discover.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:41 AM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]

A couple of years ago my wife and I needed a night out, and someone handed us tickets to this U.S. called "The Spirit of America." There was singing and crack drill and very good marching and historical re-enactment and all sorts of craziness, and -- having sat through a lot of JROTC drill team performances in high school & junior high -- I must say that this whole thing was awwwesome.

Sadly, I just discovered that the 2013 tour has been cancelled (victim of the sequester, apparently, according to the web site), but you can still watch some videos on their web site:
posted by wenestvedt at 9:47 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ooh, LooseFilter beat me to it. I was gonna bust out some colorguard video, myself, because yeah, those flags are merely pretty good -- they're not doing anything hard.

For starters check this shit out.

(The epic color guard post of my dreams will never happen, because all the best content is behind a paywall. But for an inkling, start this old school classic at 2:30.)
posted by clavicle at 10:54 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Truly amazing guys. I saw them at the tattoo and remeber thinking: If I could get a bunch of dance-crazy guys with drums into a warehouse for nine months... We might get together something similar.
posted by Rabarberofficer at 12:45 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think I just outed myself as a contra player and not a member of the drum line.
posted by charred husk at 4:17 PM on March 6, 2013

Great drummers and bonus that their day jobs don't involve killing people.
posted by yoHighness at 6:28 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

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