The beat sounds like a complex layer of multiple percussive elements, some in sync some twirling around each other.
The “snare” in the beginning seems more like a hihat to me. First you only heat the mids (maybe through lowpass filter, or only the mid layer sounding), you can also hear mixing chorus in action giving it a hazey feeling. Then another layer is brought in, or the lowpass is turned off, and I hear some kind of very gritty hat sound. It can be achieved by hipassing a suitable sound, running it through the “shift” distortion of renoise (or a rectifier if you use plugins), and then highpassing again to get rid of the low freq pollution introduced. The sound must have a cloud of all those little transients inside, so maybe like a sharp hihat with “coins taped on” that rattle on each hit, the shift distortion will bring them out and make them sound brighter. I think the sound is multiple variations of the same hit cycled or selected via velocity, to make it sound more organic/less static. You can do that with the renoise sampler as well - but you will need to use a multisampled hat instrument that features multiple versions of the same hit that are slightly different each…
On the hat - triplets are making the thing “roll” so nice. And ofc clever velocity programming. To get triplets look at this tool: https://www.renoise.com/tools/place-selected-notes-evenly
Then theres a synthetic kick and snares, I think I hear both an 808/909 style snare and some kind of breakbeat cut like snare. To make the snares that sharp and snappy, you can pitch them up as well as apply a volume envelope that quickly cuts of the volume. The envelope might also be useful to make the hat sound sharper, after the shift distortion is added.
Thank you so much for this detailed reply. I am going to start experimenting with these ideas and see where it takes me.
One quick question I had based on this:
I know that volume and velocity are not the same thing. For example I know that when a hi-hat or snare or piano is hit really hard, the timbre changes, so volume is not enough to convince the ear that the instrument is being attacked at a different speed.
If I were to use a Kontakt library to enter notes, how would I enter in velocity data? I thought about the volume column, but that doesn’t seem right. Would a MIDI keyboard be the only way to record velocity or is there a command I can write in?