Gearhead: John McLaughlin Makes MiGiC

A six-year deep dive into synth control helped this guitar icon create a new electronic voice

Clock the Beat


Backbeater is a compact tool to help drummers play at a consistent speed—or at least be more aware of variations in their tempo. The basic version clips onto a snare drum and tracks tempo in real time, then transmits the results to a smartphone for display using a free app. There’s also a Backbeater Deluxe option, which comes with a mounting bracket to position the smartphone on a nearby cymbal or drum stand for easy visibility. The app can save songs and set lists, making it a useful tool for performance as well as practice.

$39 ($59 for Deluxe version) | backbeater.com

Emile Menasché

Musician, journalist, and author Emile Menasché has composed soundtracks for Oscar- and Emmy-nominated documentaries. He is jealous that his dog Hudson gets more attention from passersby whenever they’re seen in public together.