Phil Collins’ drum fill on “In The Air Tonight” is arguably the greatest of all time, a perfect synthesis of song craft and percussion that could only come from a person who was skilled at both. After more than three minutes of melancholy synthesizers and soft pattering drums, the fill breaks the ungodly sense of tension and announces the final act of the song. It’s a moody ’80s power ballad that immediately places the listener in a boxy Camaro at night in a neon city, and it is built around those few seconds of shattering percussion. It is the fucking best.
So here it is for 70 minutes.
While “just a thing over and over” is a time-honored staple of internet garbage gags, creator Joseph Prein layers imperceptibly small variations of the drum fills, so that they move from syncopation to cacophony and back again. Hearing all of those drums coalesce isn’t far from listening to Lightning Bolt lock into a good rhythm. It’s not exactly Steve Reich, but it’s more interesting (and listenable) than it has any right to be. One user has even picked out the places the different iterations align, each time in slightly different form.
If nothing else, buzz around and check out those spots. Here’s the original version, if you prefer your drum fills adorned with such exorbitant filler as “lyrics” and “chord changes”:
When you’re done with that, why not listen to 147 layers of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” vocals?