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#1
Lorn

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Let's talk about percussion. How do you folk go about forming your percussion? Do you use drum kits or sample out tiny sections of any sample? Any place for a good old fashion drum/percussion loop or do you do everything from scratch? Is there a place for the key of the tune in percussion or does that not matter for boom boom kick bong?

 

Any thoughts to illuminate the seekers!

 

:)



#2
neil (spatialize)

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all of the above mate.  A good groove is often a nice blend of all of those.  Tuning yes as well.  That's important on all the drum parts.

 

In terms of full drum or hand percussion loops, at the start of a track when I'm forming synth sounds etc I sometimes use a drum loop at that stage, a bit like scaffolding.  it's a quick way of getting the track off the ground and getting the vibe going.  Then as the synths parts solidify I will go back to the drums and overdub / program kicks, snare hi hats.  After a few overdubs, I might try taking out the original loop.  Or sometimes I build the groove up from programmed parts and then see if there's a drum loop that will bring just a add a bit of groove.

 

But you have to be careful with loops. If you throw multiple loops on top of each other the track can start to sound crowded very quickly.  Sometimes a loop will fit sonically but will be a bit too busy.  ... so if you use a rex sampler you can always "thin" it out by removing midi notes, keeping the main part of the loop, or just resequence it, in effect using it like a drum kit.

 

I think the key with drum programming is feel and groove.  If you are drawing in your drum parts with a mouse it's more difficult to get a flowing, loose sound going.  I always "play" mine in with a keyboard and then use and 85-90% quantize value.  Using an arpeggiator  on hihats is a neat little trick as that will often impart a nice groove.  I will also use the midi delay in logic regions to either bring the parts before or after the beat.  That can range from very subtle 1 tick changes to larger values.

 

Personally I tend like a fairly organic drum sound.  So I use Spectrasonics Backbeat which is a collection of lightly processed live drum loops / kits.  I will often audition one of those loops to see whether the sound fits, and then play in the groove from the keyboard, cos it's a rex sampler and spreads the hits out over the keyboard.  That underprocessed live sound really helps to give a bit of life to the proceedings and you can compress it to your own choosing then.  It's a nice contrast to the power and thud of modern sampled electronic kits.

 

A really good recommendation is to get some Akai MPC sample kits / or simple MPC loops.  Although on their own you might think "why do I want to use hip pop sounds?" they can really add meat and depth to a groove.  Another recommendation is to get any ryhmic electronic loops you have created well meshed in with any hand percussion loops and build around that.  Think syncopation.  Do the drum parts create phrases?  Also make longer loop braces in your sequencer and pepper those upper fx style hits at the end of say 8 bars instead of at the end of every 4 bars. Look up the term Loopitis.

 

Here's a typical list of what I might use

 

1 kick kits from Thomas penderton through exs24 or a kick from logic's ultrabeat

2 Kick and snare (skeletal drum pattern) from MPC kits

3 Hand percussion loops (bongo, table etc from sample library) 

4 Hi hats kits from Thomas penderton or exs 24 

5 World percussion kits (logic, samp library)

6 Organic drum part programmed from Backbeat rex parts

7 layered snares from psy trance drum kits / Thomas penderton

8 crashes from rock /  pop kits

9 maybe some sort of filler electronic loop - I find vierring from Reaktor (or more recently Glitch 2) very good for generating these type of sounds. 

 

Use drum plate reverbs to add a little bit of depth to the sounds without swamping the track with reverb.  Also spring reverbs on snares and rhythmic fx parts.

 

In terms of bus processing I will have light compression and stereo spreading and eq on....

 

1 main drum part - mpc snares and light kicks / hi hats (the body of the drum part

2 lighter percussive parts (hats, crashes, bongos, rhythmic electronic parts)

3 main kik (on it's own)



#3
Matt Freak Flag

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In terms of full drum or hand percussion loops, at the start of a track when I'm forming synth sounds etc I sometimes use a drum loop at that stage, a bit like scaffolding.  it's a quick way of getting the track off the ground and getting the vibe going.  Then as the synths parts solidify I will go back to the drums and overdub / program kicks, snare hi hats.  After a few overdubs, I might try taking out the original loop.  Or sometimes I build the groove up from programmed parts and then see if there's a drum loop that will bring just a add a bit of groove.

 

 

+1

 

I'm so glad other people do this too!  I pretty much never use the same percussion I started with.  First thing I do in a song is usually build drums and bass, but I'll almost always change the drums out later.  

 

Drums are important for the vibe of a track; the right or wrong snare can make or break the feeling of a whole song.  Sometimes, just the reverb on the snare can make or break the sound of a song.  How am I supposed to know the vibe of the whole tune before it's made?  I'm not that good.  I like figuring things out as I go.  

 

On another note, I've been using Logic's Drummer in weird ways to get interesting sounds.  It's meant to be an easy set-up-and-go accompaniment for rock and pop productions, but I like generating a bunch of beats with it that fit the groove of the song, rendering it all to midi, and then throwing up some Battery or Ultrabeat presets or my own kits and see what happens.  Throw some reverb on the results, or some delay, or just bounce and reverse, and I usually end up with some awesome and crazy sounding accidents.

 

I also really like natural sounding drums.  Actually, one of the reasons I'm making more breakbeat stuff than psytrance and psydub is that I don't like working with artificial, synthetic sounding drums all that much.  Some people do it really well, and I have nothing against it... It just doesn't get me dancing in my seat when I'm working.  For that, it seems I like a good vinyl break or some shuffling snares played with a drummer's touch.  

 

One of my drummer friends comes over often with his electric drum kit, and that's a hoot.  We'll just jam 90-110bpm funky grooves for hours, and I'll record the midi output of his kit.  Then, when he leaves, I've got literally hours of natural-feeling, just so slightly and beautifully off-the-grid drum grooves to work with.  


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#4
neil (spatialize)

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www.aerodrums.com

 

Anyone seen this?


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#5
DJ Chien

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Hoho fluffy topic! :)

 

As neil suggests I think a mix of everything is good for the groove.

 

I used to be a percussionist before doing production, so my best way of doing drums/percussions is to record myself playing on hardware bongos/congas/drumkit. This way I can exactly play the rhytmic patterns I have in mind, rather than programming them hit by hit. Happy gain of time.

 

Then I work on the sound of these patterns, giving them a heavily electronic/sci-fi colour :

 

- glitches via duplication of very short parts of the patterns. Helps building this breaky-staccato groove that really turns me on.

 

- pitch variations. I love pitch variations for turning percussions into whatever you like. For example I record a bongos pattern, then pitch it higher and higher until it sounds like some mechanical voice (I swear it does), then reverse half of it = an extraterrestrial speech is born.

Your percs sequence can then become a very hybrid instrument.

 

Let's say you have a 2-bar drum pattern in 4/4 times. The 7 first times of the pattern can keep the original pitch so they sound like a drum ; the 8th time may have a very mean down-pitch automation, so that it will sound like this vinyl FX when you turn the turntable off (you may even slow down the master tempo at this moment to enhance the timewarp-feeling).

Countless metamorphoses exist.

 

- good old ping pong delays help build random grooves you'd never think about otherwise.

 

 

I also program when I want a "perfectly straight" timing for a hip-hop-like kick/snare/HH combo, for example.

On really tricky parts I may play a pattern on real percs, then turn it from Audio to MIDI (thanks Live), and manually quantizing it for tempo "perfection".

 

 

Last thought, I think more and more that anything can become a percs sequence. Recently tried to build one from with a spoken sentence sampled from some lecture. It then becomes a question of feeling beats and off-beats and putting words where you hear the groove ; a bit of sound design and timbre manipulation and here's another drumset from Mars.

 

Extensive listening to scratch/turntablism is a good way to get ideas for making groovy percs sequences with...something that definitely wasn't meant for that ;)



#6
Matt Freak Flag

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www.aerodrums.com

 

Anyone seen this?

 

Holy shit. 

 

I literally thought that was going to be a troll.  That's awesome. 


If it sounds good, it is good.  


#7
Matt Freak Flag

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Anybody who's missing some classic vintage breaks in their sample arsenals, hit me up.  I've got at least four poorly organized folders of 75-300 classic funk and soul breaks, raw and unprocessed, many straight from vinyl.  Covers most of the "essentials" and then some.   

 

I like to pretend the poor organization gives it a vintage vibe.  It's like digging through a vinyl crate B).

 

I know most psybient/psytrance stuff tends to the more synthetic side of drums, but sometimes nothing beats the awesome crack of a vintage snare or feel of a kicked drum thumped just-so right before the downbeat . 

 

And I don't know what kind of magical rooms they recorded in back in the day, but the decay tails and room sound on some of those 70s snare drums are just unreal. 


If it sounds good, it is good.  


#8
neil (spatialize)

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Would seriously love some vinyl breaks my man :-D

Love a good hip pop drum loop me. I like the warm, groovy simplicity of stoner hip pop. That was kind of how I started off making music actually ; floating spacey synths over hip pop loops (which were ten a penny with the old akai samplers).

#9
Lorn

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If you are handing out "breaks" candy I'll take a taste! :)

 

When you say funky breaks, I'm not sure I know what you mean. I love ambient breaks and drum n bass. Big fan of One Arc Degree's breaks productions.



#10
Matt Freak Flag

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If you are handing out "breaks" candy I'll take a taste! :)

 

When you say funky breaks, I'm not sure I know what you mean. I love ambient breaks and drum n bass. Big fan of One Arc Degree's breaks productions.

 

As in, drum breaks/solo sections ripped from late 60s and 70s funk and soul vinyl - the stuff that makes up the backbone of most early hip-hop music, and lots of breakbeat and DnB to this day.  "Amen Brother," "Funky Drummer," "Impeach the President," all that jazz.  

 

One Arc Degree is mint, especially when he rocks out on the drum n bassy side of things.  Pretty classic vinyl break production.  Not so much on his downtempo stuff... which is still excellent, but the drums sound more like one shots IIRC.  Still usually sounds organic and natural.    

 

I'll post a dropbox link to a folder or two...


If it sounds good, it is good.  


#11
Matt Freak Flag

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Alright, here's three... I warned you they weren't organized.

 

This one is my biggest lump, with just raw vinyl breaks, many in stereo.  And I do mean raw.  A lot of them have some degree of vinyl artifacts (including ultra-low frequency stuff, in stereo!), but hey, that's part of the charm, right?

 

Here's another one with some overlap, but the rips seem cleaner (maybe some are from remastered CDs?) and there is often a few seconds of the original song on either side.  Probably my go-to versions of "Impeach the President" and "God Made Me Funky," and an epically clean and complete stereo "Scorpio."   

 

And this one is just a few already sped up to Drum n' Bass tempos, if you're into that sort of thing.  Most or all are in mono, though.    

 

There's plenty of the classics in both; the first one has tons of stuff I'd never heard of before, too.  

 

Hopefully y'all find this useful and/or find some breaks you didn't have before.  


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#12
neil (spatialize)

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NICE one!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Thanks Matt. :-)


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#13
Lorn

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Cheers for the share and insights!



#14
Matt Freak Flag

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No worries!  :D Breaks are for sharing.  


If it sounds good, it is good.  


#15
Noiseninja

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I usually prefer building my percussion tracks from scratch, usually starting with the kicks and then whatever comes to mind.

 

When we are talking Electro Jar, my freind Jackie who is also a part of the project usually build up the kick drums himself and then like use different drum loops he then manipulate.

 

Also I like to chose the percussion sounds I use for the beat to fit the song, some of the percussion even sometimes acts as part of the melody.


Dark psychedelic drone/ambient/noise: https://fjernsind.bandcamp.com/

 

Psychedelic electronic downtempo: https://electrojarjar.bandcamp.com/

 

My SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/jacob-laeby

 

...~ Sweet, sweet noises ~...


#16
neil (spatialize)

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i've already used a couple of those breakbeats matt.   B)


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#17
Matt Freak Flag

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i've already used a couple of those breakbeats matt.   B)

 

Awesome :D 


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