How Do You Program Old School Jungle?


How to program old school jungle? Please do not worry about the pads, or synths, or other sounds. Please try to help with the beats, and the bass!


What is the interaction between the kick and the snare? I notice a lot of jungle does not have a 4 to the floor, like trance and house. I hear a lot of snare rolls. What do you think? A 32 bar turnaround? For the snare pattern? Changes are where?

And the bass? Side - chained by the kick? Not? Bass and kick similar to trance? Where the kick the comes, and the bass shows up after? Yes? No? Bass and kick similar to rock? Where the bass and kick are tied together.

Please help me out with the structure of this.

Up until now, I have only been making trance, but I’m kinda bored. I want to try something new. Plus, Jungle interests me… I don’t know why.

Thank you…

:yeah: :yeah:

Renoise! Awesome, make me want to do jungle!


My 2 euro cents :) ,

Generally saying, use a bpm setting between 150 to 170 bpm. Lot of early ragga jungle was in the 160s. Depending on what resolution you want to control your beats in, you can have different bpm / pattern-length ratio’s/set-ups.

I’d say, if you’re starting out and don’t want the pattern to wizz at lightning speed before your eyes, begin with the defaults. So, 64 length pattern and 4 lines per beat. When you get the grips with the numbers, you can always switch to double the bpm and pattern-length (or more & using ‘expand’ in the advanced editor) and create nastier rolls, crazier syncopation.

The easiest thing I’d say to learn drums & bass patterns from jungle tunes or drum-programming period, is either to get a few example .xrns tracks and observe and play around with the placement or analyze samples from tunes you like and try to ‘recreate’ them in the pattern-editor.

Just sample a (basic)beat track (don’t start out with squarepusher maybe ;) )and cut the sample so it loops perfectly in your pattern-editor (use sync). Then go to the next empty track an place your own samples to match up. You could remove the original loop later on so just your samples remain and build a track. If you repeat this process lots of times numbers will eventually stick.

What I mean with that is that you’ll remember patterns. Just like a kick repeating every 4 lines in a 4 to the floor house track (on default settings), with practice after some time you’ll dream of the most elaborate patterns without looking at the screen :) . But, you need to get the basics down and fortunately in Renoise that is very simple.

There are different routes to go and you can mix them freely in a pattern; use hardware & midi to trigger samples, use synced beat-loops, use loops & 9XX offset-command, use smaller loop-parts (divide your beat loops in sections) & use separate hits.

Using synced loops, you won’t have the freedom of immediate pitching of beat elements without using pitching pattern-commands (1XX & 2XX). A lot of early jungle had snares play around like a melody, so if you want to recreate that kind of sound, I’d use separate hits as well for easy keyboard playing.

When using separate samples: a simple trick to get a nice beat going is to first concentrate on the kicks & snares placement. Then just fill the empty spots with the percussive elements out of a loop. You can be consistent in the placement or just randomly enter in a kit for fun. If you’ve used a loop with a lot of different little sounds you can create pretty funky stuff without deliberating on the placement of each percussive hit.

When using the offsetcommand 9XX: You can work with a similar concept. On the default lines per beat and bpm settings, often 900 in a 16 step synced loop (=1 bar) corresponds to the kick, 940 the first snare & 9C0 the ‘last’ snare. We’re generalizing here, but you catch my drift :)

Program in the loop every time a kick or snare should be heard to your taste and it’ll trigger the previous said beat-elements from the offset command & values typed in.

Variation example : Now fill in the complete pattern by entering the beat-loop on every step, fill in 9XX on every remaining empty spot for the effect-number and randomly fill in effect-values. If you use increments/decrements of 10 for the effect values it’ll all fit in nice and smooth.

To make this more clear, hopefully (EDIT: also check out the ‘beat-slicing’ tutorial in the Renoise song folder that comes with installing):

When dealing with a 16 step synced loop (=1 bar) on 4 lines / beat setting. This programming should play the sample-loop as if you’d trigger it from the keyboard.

00 C-400 … 900 kick
01 C-400 … 910
02 C-400 … 920
03 C-400 … 930
04 C-400 … 940 snare
05 C-400 … 950
06 C-400 … 960
07 C-400 … 970
08 C-400 … 980
09 C-400 … 990
10 C-400 … 9A0 kick
11 C-400 … 9B0
12 C-400 … 9C0 snare
13 C-400 … 9D0
14 C-400 … 9E0
15 C-400 … 9F0

Now variate the effect values for immediate funk :) You see how shifting the snares a few steps down creates that syncopated feeling?

00 C-400 … 900 kick
01 C-400 … 910
02 C-400 … 900 kick
03 C-400 … 930
04 C-400 … 910
05 C-400 … 950
06 C-400 … 940 snare
07 C-400 … 990
08 C-400 … 980
09 C-400 … 970
10 C-400 … 9A0 kick
11 C-400 … 9B0
12 C-400 … 910
13 C-400 … 9D0
14 C-400 … 9C0 snare
15 C-400 … 9E0

You don’t even have to necessarily fill in the blanks:

00 C-400 … 900 kick
02 C-400 … 900 kick
06 C-400 … 940 snare
10 C-400 … 9A0 kick
14 C-400 … 9C0 snare

Experiment with this. Be aware that using different sync lengths in ‘instrument settings’ / ‘sample properties’ tab influences how the offset command work/sounds. If you exchange the 16 step synced example with the apache sample out of the Renoise instruments folder, which is a 2 bar / 32 step loop you’ll hear the difference. Now 920 is the first snare when synced to 32.

Maybe the whole offset bisniz is rather confusing or slightly more time-consuming compared to using other methods. I hardly use it anymore but it never hurts to know.

Personally I rather use separate hits and a combo of synced beat loop-parts using different snap loop settings in the sample editor. Maybe one day I’ll do a video tutorial as this writing takes to much time!

For the bass just use a big ass sub sine wave! ;)




that would be awesome but this was a good write up too! thanks!

i’m thinking of sampling my own kit playing and use that to cut up.

was thinking though; what tempo would be the lowest tempo one could play at so that when it’s pitched up slightly (not a big fan of chipmunk sounding drums) the tempo will land at circa 170. feels like one could up the tempo by a couple of semitones and get a nice sound but i don’t know how much that would correspond to in terms of bpms. feels like playing at, say 150 bpm, would work.

i guess i’ll have to experiment a bit with some loops.

Jonas touches on all the important stuff, but I’ll throw in some more euro cents for good measure ;)

If you’re based on a 64 line pattern at 8 lines per beat, construct your breaks around 4-pattern sections or longer. 4 is a good number but 8+ is preferable. It comes down to the amount of effort you’re willing to put in.

Pay attention to the kicks and snares. Everything inbetween is sugar, but the kick and the snare and their interplay is what people will dance to. Like with arpeggio programming, it can be easy to forget the integrals, so maybe soloing out the kick after a while of programming and checking if it’s still got a groove to it can be a big help.

A big deal of jungle break programming is that intangible X factor that keeps surprising you and makes the fundamental beat of the tune feel fresh even if it does eventually repeat itself. You hear a lot new-school old-school producers overdo the breaks to the point of incoherence, but to get away with that you need a solid memorable danceable bassline:

As a rule of thumb, if your breaks are simple, focus on the bass. If your bass is simple, focus on the breaks. I personally go to sleep if i hear droning basslines over overwrought breaks.

Philosophies aside; as for practical tricks there’s a couple i enjoy just for throwing down ideas:

  1. Fast and dirty slicing
    Trigger your break on every line from 1 to 32. Put 0900 on line 1, 09FF on 32. Block select the effect column between those lines and hit ctrl-i to interpolate so you get an offset on every line. Block loop 1/2 and listen to the break play. Now pitch shift the break up or down to hear the effect. This basically hard-syncs the break to play from start to finish within those lines, no matter the pitch. Sometimes a pitch shift of this sort can really deepen or lighten a break to fit better in your mix. From here on, it’s easy to copy/paste or move blocks around to rearrange the break.

This is a very dirty way to sync your break, so it’s mostly good for getting a sketch down before you tighten up the hits, especially the hats, kicks and snares like Jonas describes.

  1. Layer breaks
    Following on from the first step, simply create another note column on the same track and trigger another break all along it. This syncs two breaks to play together on the same offsets. Again, play with pitch shifting or just cutting out sections to fatten up or tighten snares and kicks.

This is my favorite thing to do for just throwing down rampaging rolling breaks. Even if the breaks you play aren’t entirely similar, they will sync up good enough to create some nice and sexy rolling.

This track uses these two techniques for all the breaks, with a little cleanup of individual hits:…_Nothing%29.mp3

Hope it’s a little helpful :)

some good breaks for that period.

winstons - amen brother
lyn collins - think (about it)
james brown - funkydrummer
JBs - soul pride
michael viner’s incredible bongoband - apache
bobbybyrd - hotpants (bonus beats)
blowfly - sesame street
ike turner - funky mule

Thanks Everyone, for your thoughts so far!


@ Happy_Milkshake_Man, I’m very familiar with some of those, the others I will google. I really appreciate the list. I’m not sure if I want to program my own breaks, and then tweak em, or sample breaks and tweak em, but either way, your thorough list is sure to come in handy. Thanks!

@ JonasThePlugExpert, SunJammer…

Thank you for your insights. I’m still looking over your posts, it was a lot of new ideas for me to understand. If you guys have the chance, or if anybody does, can I please have your thoughts, feedback on this Renoise File… = an xrns download.

It has a beat that I programmed at 96bpm, and then tried to sync it at a fast tempo, and a sine wave I distorted to hell and back.


I know, I don’t expect to get breaks/jungle on the first day, and believe me, “I did not.” Still, any ideas, and thoughts on what I did in that file, will really be helpful.

Did I do the interpolation right? ctrl i, didn’t work for me on mac, I don’t know why. I clicked on one of the interpol settings on the right, where the notes toolbar is.

Also, does that beat sound synced up? It does to me, but I can’t figure out how that happened.



Thanks again for the insights! Any other thoughts, ideas, would be radical! Happy New Year.


Edit = This is same file as one above. But I figure out how to turn on the beat sync in the sample instrument.

Is that right? A good start?

Thank you/Cheers

No problem :)

I think you’re right with playing your drums at 150 bpm or faster even? Check out some of the most famous breaks used in most breakbeat type music and you’ll find these were originally played at around 150 as well. Think I read this once on another board. Sometimes the most brutal of beats sound pretty damn pansy when timestretched to fit a faster tempo. Of course you can always slice the break and play the parts at any pitch you like, sort a like you can easily do with .rex recycle files,.

Of course there is no definitive right or wrong here as it depends on what you want, but…

It sounds already as a beat :) , although very soft volume wise. First thing I did was check the levels in the mixer and than the sample-editor. Maximized the .wavs in the sample editor and cut back some of the reverb send level in the dsp tab on the break. The distorted sine wasn’t programmed on the first beat, but I guess this is wanted? If it is meant to act as a bass track it is rather weak right now, maximizing the volume also didn’t enhance it. Changing ‘distortion’ to a filter like lp 2 pole in the instrument editor already improved things bass-wise, but again you might wanted it to sound this particular way?

You didn’t pick the most junglest of beats :) and didn’t sync it in the ‘instrument settings’ / ‘sample properties’ tab to 32. I guess this was a decision to achieve a certain timbre in the beat as sunjammer suggested. This is fine, but I see you did sync the bass…which makes it harder to use it as a melody, if you’d want to later on in a track.

I’ve added a maximizer to the master, to up the overall volume + changed the compressor setting to a preset + added a distortion device which pretty much destroys your sound, sorry :) . I also synced the beat and have added some example patterns how you could progress from your pattern. I think the break in pattern 1 is important to understand because of the proportions between kick & snare, shift the kick & snares to make variations.

Check a short reworking here:



EDIT: missed your edit :)

Jonas, that was awesome! You are right, the bass doesn’t work at all. Yes, I had it off beat.


Too much time trying to make trance.

So in Jungle, bass on beat? Right with the kick then?

I see you are using the 2.5 beta as well? Perhaps I should start using and learning it as well. The pattern arranger is so cool looking. I suppose its time to wind down the use of 2.1.


I guess my beat programming also needs work. Its hard to judge how to program those breaks at slower tempos.

I’ll definitely give a shot to what you were saying earlier, combining the loops with one shots. Am also going to take some time and explore the reworked project you uploaded.


This is definitely not a rule :) , something I like to do sometimes to emphasize the kicks. You could also program the bass off beat for other type of emphasis. It’s your party :)

Good luck & have fun



You can also cut each drum sound to its own sample and generate a multi-sample drum kit. I prefer to do this when I want absolute control over the hits in a breakbeat that has rather loose timing (making it diffcult to get a sample offset command to land exactly where you need it).

An example based on the beat in your tune:

A tip to quickly adjust the pitch of all samples in the instrument: Use the “transpose all splits” function found in the Instrument Editor panel.

Slowing down is a matter of decreasing the bpm :)

If you mean by changing the lines / beat ratio from 8 to 4 you can shrink your already programmed stuff in the advanced editor using ‘shrink’. It basically divides everything already inputted by 2. Also, if you’d had beats synced previously to lines / beat = 8 , you’ll need to adjust these values to fit the new ratio. Just try it out and it’ll make sense.

Right now, we have had breaks occupy only one track in a pattern. Of course you can also divide breaks across the pattern to your hearts content. Use one channel for only the basskick, another one for snares, one for percussion etc etc. You could also program a basic break and automate different delay settings to create variations. Too many options! :)

Yes, that is the main reason I also use separate hits. Especially with original breaks, often the timing is all over the place, causing the 940 snare example from my post above to click or sound off.

Next to a multi-sample version of a break, I often also have a snare sound singled out, so it can easily be played as a ‘melody’ with the keyboard.

Post results if you finish a track 2 daze :)

Will do, but it will be at least a few days. Cause its so much to learn. I’m going to start using the 2.5 betas, and do a combo of programming my own breaks, and trying the sample offset commands.


I’d actually like to search/google and listen to a few more jungle tracks. I’ve found some very cool stuff.

Any recommended listening? Other articles to read?

Cheers/Happy New Year

:P :P

Not a fan of single instrument based kit maps for jungle. They make pitch shifting individual hits a chore. I much prefer splitting the kit across several instruments instead.

I quite like the idea of taking breaks, and retriggering them. That seemed pretty cool, new, different to me. If not totally difficult, time consuming. Definitely something I’m trying to explore right now.


there is simply nothing better than hacking up an amen to kill some time :D

i think you’re over thinking this,…

just grab an amen, pitch it up, and do a x900 hack job on it till you find the ticks, bpm, etc you like to work at. or as mentioned, chop it up and spread it across the keys, then set the edit to skip 4 lines or so. et voila junglist break in 5 mins.

once you get that down,… only then would i worry about trying to make the breaks unique via layering, replacement, etc. otherwise you’re likely to never get the sound you’re after.

seriously, have fun with it, dont be too analytical, and if you listen to enough of it, you’ll find the nuances are more important than the tempo or the position of the beats, or blah, blah.

@ Trunk, that seems like very solid advice.

Actually, I found a sample pack on bigfishaudio to play around with. So I am editing this post slightly. I was looking for a rapidshare of some of these famous breaks, but I reckon for learning purposes, the bigfish sample pack will work alright.

Besides, I can definitely search for some of the things that happy_milkshake_man was talking about… I can search the websites of record stores, and such…

Thanks/cheers again

:walkman: B)

A collection of ‘famous’ breaks. Have fun. :)

Thanks man! That link is way better than the slim n expensive pickings at BigFishAudio. I’m so happy I didn’t buy anything from them yet!


I appreciate being sent in that direction, and all the work CyberWorm has done with that.



dude, google “break packs” or “declassified breaks pack” for more breaks than you’ll ever have time to x9xx.

a bunch of producers from various forums like DOA and breakbeatforum have put up gigs upon gigs of packs for free.

:rolleyes: i love this forum