The Pythagorean Beat: Mickey Hart's Unique Instrumental Addition to Apocalypse Now

Article Contributed by gratefulweb | Published on Sunday, July 23, 2023

Celebrating the long-lasting impact and unparalleled creativity of Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 classic, "Apocalypse Now", we invite you to delve once again into the unique percussive score, expertly crafted in part by the Grateful Dead's esteemed drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann.

In the wake of the original film's release, Director Francis Ford Coppola found inspiration at a Grateful Dead concert, prompting him to invite Hart and Kreutzmann to contribute to the film's soundtrack. The duo's mesmerizing "Drums > Space" segment proved instrumental in shaping the film's aural landscape.

Recordings took place at the Dead's Club Front studio in San Rafael, California, and Mickey's Barn in Novato. Accompanied by Airto Moreira, Michael Hinton, Jim Loveless, Greg Errico, Jordan Amarantha, Flora Purim, and Phil Lesh, Hart and Kreutzmann weaved through an array of percussion instruments, improvising an unforgettable musical narrative.

Notably, these sessions marked the birth of Mickey's bespoke instrument, The Beam. Constructed on the principles of the Pythagorean monochord, The Beam produces transformative drones and has remained a staple in Mickey's "Drums > Space" explorations with the Dead.

The striking album cover is the work of the legendary artist Stanley Mouse, celebrated for his 1960s psychedelic poster art and designs for music icons like the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, among others.

As we revisit this landmark contribution to cinema and music, we encourage you to learn more about The Apocalypse Now Sessions, click here.. This soundtrack is not merely a collection of compositions—it is a testimony to the rich tapestry woven by collaboration, innovation, and passion.