Drum Transcription: Nick Mason –“Any Colour You Like”
by Dustin Ransom
To coincide with the recent remastered box set of Pink Floyd’s monumental classic Dark Side Of The Moon, this article spotlights Floyd drummer Nick Mason, one of the most well known yet severely underrated rock drummers of the past forty years. The magic of Mason’s playing is not found in flashy chops, but in intricate subtleties that create a colorful, textural backdrop to the band’s compositions. That is to say though, he definitely has chops, as evidenced in this featured transcription of “Any Colour You Like” from the aforementioned album.
Mason lays down a slow-burning groove with a healthy dose of syncopation and surprise throughout the track. In particular, his unorthodox left foot hi-hat work and bass drum ideas are simply brilliant. Measures 12, 16, and 48 are great examples of this, as he utilizes the two voices in a way that not only accents what his hands are doing, but also adds a cool quirkiness to the fills.
Mason’s groove ideas are also stellar throughout, especially in his use of toms to add color, or as a substitute for the snare in measures 43 and 44. There are also a few tricky moments where he switches to the ride or a crash for a split second while keeping the hi-hat going with a combination of both his left hand and left foot (see measures 8, 9, 14, and 53). It is highly unconventional playing, which is no surprise considering the source!
Overall, Mason’s drum track on “Any Colour You Like,” is a fantastic performance from one of rock’s greatest drummers on one of the greatest rock records of all time, from one of rock’s most influential bands (that’s a lot of rock!) Enjoy!
Dustin Ransom is an in-demand session and live multi-instrumentalist, producer, and transcriber based in Nashville, TN. Visit him at www.dustinransom.com.