Making Intricate Breakcore/ Idm

So, I guess the main reason why I have switched over to renoise as the main sequencer is so that I can start getting really detailed with my editing and get more into the idm breakcore stuff. I especially like stuff that does not stick to just normal drum breaks but also other sounds thrown into the mix for example : Venetian snares chrome cylinder box stuff, The Aphex twin drukqs stuff or This: at . 37 how he throws in what sounds like a break but with metallic sound. Please correct me if Im wrong here but I am guessing that none of this is being made by rearranging just 1 hit samples since it sounds so cohesive almost as if it was taken from a recoding of someone playing a break on a piece of metal… What is the primary technique that you would recommend for doing this? I am thinking about possibly going into another program like Ableton, loading up a normal break (amen) and then in a spare track trying to make a new break by placing one hits of metal sounds and glitches into the same places as the hits on the break. However I know that this will not sound nearly as cohesive since the hits will not have the same sort of flow and resonance as those in the break… Am I even on the right track here?

Any help or suggestions as to techniques you all use would be great, especially in the area of the intricate idm/ breakcore production as it relates to renoise.


import some one hits & breakbeat loops in Renoise and mix things up, you can sync breakparts to an amount of lines and speed or slow these looping bits using the pitch pattern commands (1XX & 2XX) in the pattern editor. Using this speeding and slowing down of programmed loops you’ll get this elastic feel like in your youtube example…which btw could also be achieved changing the speed/lbp/bpm, using their pattern command equivalents. There a more ways to beatbreaking Rome, and you can mix or switch between techniques in Renoise.

I know that you can get some interesting stuff from messing with breaks with the effect commands but about when artists use all those other crazy glitches that are clearly not from normal drum sounds, yet they seem to sound so well put together?

dsp & vst’s automation is what you’re looking for, you can (& should) process your breaks for extra breakcore points ;).

The metallic thing you’re mentioning, I can’t hear it in the youtube video around the 0.37 time mark, sounds like a standard amen, programmed in a little motive before going into a next break. The sheen you’re hearing could already be present in the source sounds.

Besides or next to automation, you can process loopparts or hits using the fx button in the sample editor, rendering in the effect, creating variations. You can also process your sounds beforehand in external programs like wave editors.
Through repeating a process of re-sampling, cutting up the resampled sections and programming these samples again you can achieve breakbeat heaven, there are so many options with Renoise, I love it.

there is no need to use VSTs to get intricate or complex effects. you can do it all by hand. just learn to layer your stuff and learn how to hide your transitions so it all sounds smooth. so if you got a transition that is not so smooth, place something loud on top of it to mask the transition, and it will sound like it is smooth. can’t explain it any better, sorry. practice!

there should be a “breakcore basics” xrns included with the renoise download. (;

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Render processed selections and layer stuff and render again. That’s how I like to produce strange drum sounds.
Somtimes I just take a couple of beers and some snacks and start to experiment with drum sounds. Then I pick out the best ones and save as an instrument so I can use them later.

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Props on the beer and snacks. I cant tell you how many hours of fun I have had in reason just drinking and patching stuff to the Dr REX.

By rendering and layering do you mean that you will create a drum pattern and then render it to aiff or WAV and then load it back into renoise as a means of consolidating it or making it into one sample for the purpose of workflow ease?

You don’t even need to make a whole pattern for that. Usually I enter a sample on the first line and then play with commands and effects and automations for that one note. If satisfied with it I make a selection in the pattern editor, hit [CTRL+SHIT+ALT+R] and use the new rendered sample as the new material for experimenting. Layering means that I put something else (like a small vocal bit or a ride sample for example + effects/automations/commands etc…) on another track parallel to the first sample. And then you can render it again. :) You can do this for ever and you get lots of sick drum hit sounds. For most of the stuff I recommend cutting off lower frequencies and use an eq before rendering, so the sample stays ‘clean’.

256 LPB. Aww yeah.


The craziest stuff you hear break mashing wise comes from fuckin’ with the volume and pitch in creative ways. Really, that’s half the battle. All those ‘intricate’ beats aren’t really intricate. More creative (when done right) and it’s a matter of just doing it and not overthinking it. Learn Renoise like the back of your hand and combine all the tricks to make up your own and you’ll be fine. Seriously, most of what heads like VSnares do boils down to retriggering and pitching and volume. I wouldn’t be surprised that to guys like him, doing beats is probably the easiest part production wise. It definitely is to me.

When I add comb filters, ringmods, delays, distortion, it’s usually after I’ve exhausted everything else.

Give me a drumsound and I assure you, I can turn it into a dubstep wobble using nothing but Renoise commands. I won’t even need an LFO.

When you retrigger stuff in hyperspeed, you’re basically turning a drum sample into a single cycle waveform and from that, the possibilities are endless pretty much endless. In the dev/null tune you’ve linked I don’t really hear anything you can’t do with a bunch of drumhits. Percussion wise, at least.

There’s just so many ways to do it. Sometimes I slice shit up and make a drumset from different breaks. Or the same break. Or I do the usual 09xx mashing or a combination of any of those. Just ‘do it’. That’s how I learned.

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kosta said it well! high LPB is good, also if you want a crazy sound in your drumkit, just load a crazy sound into the drumkit/sample keyzone. a nice thing to do to make something like the amen break not sound so typical is having other sounds, even from drummachines in the keyzone. heck, put some vocal sounds in there and go nuts.

maybe there should be a pinned breakcore thread?

A few years ago I met V-snares back stage and another fan boy asked him. “how do you do it?” and all he said was "Just ‘do it’. Best advice ever!

Ok I definitely need to learn more about creating the drum kits and doing what pleasure tale talked about. Im assume you are talking about a technique where a few hits in a break are replaced with other sounds?

Also where does gating come into it? From what I hear, in lots of idm tracks like when the percussion comes in in this song:

it sounds to me like whats going on is a gate put on a break or something and just the attacks are shining through with maybe little automations on sterio width, panning and possibely the lofimat. I can get short little sounds by setting the gate to the “gate snare” preset but I think there are other things involved. Am I even on the right track here with this technique?

c-4 80 ----  
--- -- ----  
--- 00 ----  
--- -- ----  
--- 80 ----  
--- -- ----  
--- 00 ----  
--- -- ----  
--- 80 ----  
--- 00 ----  
--- -- ----  
--- -- ----  
--- 80 ----  
--- 00 ----  
--- -- ----  
--- -- ----  

That’s your gating. Just make short sounds.

I’m not talking about anything in particular, that’s my point. ;) If you want to replace sounds in breaks go ahead, find a way to do it.

Workflow cannot be taught. You have your workflow and I have mine.

I’m not gonna tell you what he’s doing :x and really not to be a dick or anything. I’m just gonna say that it’s nothing that isn’t discussed in the tutorials. I’m not even listening to the sounds… maybe he’s using a bitcrusher in there somewhere, I don’t know. But if that’s what you hear, try it. And if it doesn’t sound right, then do something else. Or if it sounds different but still good, then you’ve gained something right?

It’s not a matter of learning weird things, it’s a matter of learning very basic things and applying them in a way that isn’t discussed in the tutorials. Do things you think are just ‘bad ideas’ for programming drums and I assure you, if you do it long enough, you’ll eventually get something good out of it.

A lot of people keep asking ‘how does Snares do his drums?’ or ‘how does Loefah get an 808 like that?’ And I mean, we can go on and on about the techniques, but even if anyone explains it to you, you won’t be able to do it. It’s not the fact that they’re using their techniques that makes them so great, it’s that they do it well. And really doing it well is something only you can teach yourself. It’s good to ask questions, but every minute spent ‘wondering’ how someone does it is a minute wasted you could’ve put into practicing.

Well… a tip is… copy what you hear. Take the Amen and funky drummer and try to copy Szamar Madar beat for beat, for example. Maybe you won’t even do it the same way Snares did and that’s fine, or maybe it won’t even sound the same, point is, you’re learning how to do stuff. From there you can like… find your own way of doing things. Burial makes the music he makes because he wanted to copy El-B/Groove Chronicles and it ended up sounding completely different but still great.

If you’ve got specific questions about how to use 09xx or syncing breaks and using commands, I’m really happy to help. But style can’t be taught and srsly, this is all style.

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Ok I find all this stuff to be much more intuitive in reason and ableton… Maybe you may know the answers to these questions to help me fill in the spaces…

  1. Is it not difficult to switch between breaks in renoise when there is no actual warping to tempo mode? In other programs I can create by combining breaks since they will all stay synched to the tempo independent of the pitch that I set it at. Is there any way to do this (have breaks synch to tempo and change the pitch with it staying in tempo) in renoise or do I just have to warp breaks in an external program? This to me is the single biggest problem here…

  2. what would be the appropriate pitch up and down (01, and 02) number to be the equivalent of 1 octave down or up?

  3. If someone wanted to have each slice of a break (ex: snare) effected by a different effect so that you could have a break where you hear each slice run effected by different effects (imagine an amen where you hear: kick(normal) kick(distortion), snare (phaser) high hat roll (bit crusher automation). Is the only way to do this to basically assign different slices of the break to a different sample slot and track and just punch those in manually, or is there actually a way to have your break where you can visually see the slices in the sample editor and then slick on individual slices and assign (or route the slice out to) different effects? I hope I am explaining this in a way that can be understood, I am thinking of equivalent methods for accomplishing things you can do with REX files in reason with the loop player…

If you can answer me these questions three I think I will be good for now and well on my way to being able to pull some of this shit off properly.

I’m away from my music laptop at the moment so cannot check the exact point of reference in the Renoise GUI but:

  1. There is a tempo sync checkbox, accompanied by a number of lines value in the instrument properties box. This basically functions the same as Ableton’s ‘Repitch’ warp mode. Personally I think all other warp modes in Ableton sound like warbly shit so I don’t use them. This will tune the samples appropriately to tempo, and you can then click on a button to adjust the transpose and fine tuning setting to the base note of the sample, uncheck the tempo sync box and you can now play pitched notes on the keyboard with C4 (or whatever) perfectly synced to tempo.

  2. I believe the correct value is C0, as 10 is a semitone so C0 is 12 semitones = 1 octave. However, these are pitch slides rather than note values so if you employ the method above you can just play C5 or C3, etc from the keyboard and it should still be synced right once the tunings have been applied.

  3. Once of the great things about the tracker interface is that you can play any instrument on any track at any time without having to duplicate instrument slots. It’s not the only way to do it, but it’s probably the easiest and most effective, obviously you can select chunks and render to new sample if you don’t want to keep repeating the process.