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Basic Arrangement/Structure in Psybient, Downtempo, Ambient


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#1
Lorn

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So here is a question which I hope will get a lot of conversation going.

 

What is the basic arrangement when producing a psybient, downtempo track?

 

Is it similar to the often used 16 bar structure found in techno and house? Where every 16 bars you add something new or change something?

 

Do you producers have in mind a dj's needs when arranging your tracks?

 

Thanks!

 

Lorn



#2
neil (spatialize)

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atmos / fx

pads

introducee rythmic synth element (core tonal part)

build more rythmic elements

layer synths / fx on this

add bass

and..................

 

main drum beat with main bass and core tonal element

build more stuff on top - 2 or 3 x 8 or 16 bar sections of melodies/synth/smaple parts

 

break the track down - perhaps remove bass - take drums back to their skeletal parts

 

reintroduce main beat with a different section (contrast is required to maintain interest)- more upbeat or more downbeat - change the key tonal element which may have been running so far in the track - differemt bass line / main synth part / change key?  any of the above or all of them

again develop 2 or three sections in this style

move back via transitions to the very first main part of the track to provide resolution

build this to crescendo with multiple parts colliding into one psychedlic kaleidoscope - peak...

 

build down

remove bass / rynthmic parts one by one naturally until you are left with

 

one sole rythmic element and / or pads / atmos



#3
neil (spatialize)

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you have to listen with fresh ears and work out where the track is dragging or indeed whether the sections are changing too quickly

 

fresh ears, a piece of paper (let the track play through), a sensible volume and a willingness to be honest with yourself.

 

in terms of fine tuning the arrangement (when you've already heard it a thousand times) i try to bring my sub conscious into it....staring out into the garden while smoking a roll up / using the internet whilst listening back and just noting what the back of your brain is telling you



#4
neil (spatialize)

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in terms of section lengths, they should be as long as they need to be but 16 bars is a reasonable figure for an idea to come in, do it's thing and play out again.

 

it;s a question i think of trusting your musical intuition.  

 

what i would say though if you have a long section in a track make sure that the primary riff has some movement and interest to it.  if you build in movement and variety into a synth riff then it can play for much longer in the track and this affects how you make your overarching sections in the track.  to help with this you can play in longer sections of the synth riff (instead of looping shorter sections) as you will naturally add variety when playing in the synth riff on a keyboard, even mistakes can be edited into interesting patterns.

 

 

getting that primary synth / sample riff right is the key (for me).  spending just that little bit extra at the start getting a really nice sound can feed into the arrangement building stage and make it easier.  if you are looping a very short part with no filter or note or glitchy variety then the music will become static very quickly.



#5
Gagarin

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Do you producers have in mind a dj's needs when arranging your tracks?

 

 

 

interesting question :)

p.s. it looks like Lorn is getting in production :) 


reality is a creation of your mind


#6
Matt Freak Flag

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Do you producers have in mind a dj's needs when arranging your tracks?

 

For me, generally yes... Really it's because I make music with my live sets in mind, and my live sets follow an 8-bar phrasing format that is generally pretty DJ friendly. 


If it sounds good, it is good.  


#7
Iacchus

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It seems whatever I do things tend to follow vaguely the same format

 

Intro

Drop

Breakdown
Buildup

Second drop

Ending

 

I try to change/add things every 8 bars, or have sounds that cycle through but are slightly different each time

For psychedelic music I try to have at least two or three different moods or grooves, I like songs to progress, to be akin to a journey, rather than just a 1 groove that builds up and then fizzles away, its something i noticed in producers like Shpongle... consider Around The World in a Tea Daze... it has several different sections and builds up in energy as it goes, it makes for an epic track.

 

I dont consider djs at all in my production, i dont mix my music when i play it live, and find standard 'beat ins' you get with dance music rather boring if you are listening to single tracks or albums.



#8
Lorn

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Great thoughts guys. In a sense, there is an intuitive structure to psy ambient but it shouldn't be overly rigid.



#9
Lorn

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p.s. it looks like Lorn is getting in production :)

 

I have dreams of grandeur but when I bash my head against the keyboard only insanity comes forth. :P



#10
Mønsterhed

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I have dreams of grandeur but when I bash my head against the keyboard only insanity comes forth. :P

 

Man, tell me about it :P I know that feeling so well.



#11
neil (spatialize)

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just bash harder  ;)






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