So I’ve been using Renoise for about 3 months now, and I have to say that I really love it.
The tracker approach to arranging music always seemed to make more sense to me. And Renoise is really good for chopping up, and processing classic breaks real fast and effectively. Over the past 3 months I’ve gotten quite used to the process of chopping and slicing breaks, EQing and layering drum hits, adding DSP effects, etc. But I’m no expert yet.
So far most of my beat chopping, and drum programming has just been experimentation.I’m not really interested in using classic breaks as they are, unchopped and unprocessed, I want to see what kind of new rhythms can be made from a pre-existing break and how rearrangement can alter the feel and groove of the break while still keeping the drums sounding natural and flowing into one another correctly.
Most of the time when I chop up a break and rearrange it the new interpretation is obviously different, but only subtly so. The groove and overall rhythm of the new arrangement often remains the same as the original even though the drum hits have been rearranged. While this isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, it’s not what I’m often aiming to do. The rearrangement sounds too much like it’s original version, with only subtle changes.
Creating new rhythms is difficult, things start out fine but I quickly get lost and end up with a very random structure that can make no-sense or is plain overwhelming. And then slowly it seems that the hits seem to just guide me back to the original structure of the break, as if the duration and the position of the drum hits in the sliced samples dictate the direction the rhythm is going to go in i.e a kick with a hi-hat shuffle sample will naturally want to lead into a snare sample from the same break, anything else will sound unnatural and off (if you can understand what I mean)
I suppose the best way to explain what I’m trying to get at is to use and example
In Beep Street, it’s pretty obvious that Squarepusher is using the break from James Brown - Soul Pride, but the way that he’s rearranged it into a new rhythm makes it sound very little like it’s original version, but the drums still flow naturallyand still maintain the breaks original feel. It seems that the rhythms direction is not dictated by the drum hits within the sliced samples at all. Why is that? How is he able to move away from the original rhythms structure so much and re-interpret the break in the way that he does?
Now I know Squarepusher’s a pretty musically gifted guy and and at this stage of his career he’d been chopping breaks for years, but I’m not trying to turn this into another one of those “how can I be like Squarepusher, Aphex, Autechre” posts cause god knows there’s enough of those floating about.
I’m simply using him as an example.
What I’m asking here is does anyone have any advice, personal tips, tricks, or techniques on how to program completely new rhythms from classic breaks in this way? What are effective ways of rearranging sliced samples that sound most natural? How do I avoid the drum hit direction issue I described above?Should I develop a backbone for my drums first from hi-hat patterns? Things like this
I know I’ve basically just asked “how do I program drums?” which is a pretty f***ing long shot but I just figured I’d ask and see what responses I can get. Knowledge is power and my brain is a sponge