Author Topic: Where do I start with a style like this?  (Read 3485 times)


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Where do I start with a style like this?
« on: June 08, 2017, 08:44:37 pm »

I wasn't sure which forum to post it best in, as it crosses composition, sound design and probably mastering/mixing at once.

I've been hearing so many tracks in this style lately, and I am in love with it! But there is no tutorials anywhere online, no one seems to tackle it, and I'm curious how it's done. The drums sound simple, yet the entire track sits on them, and I can't replicate them. What is the secret behind the structure of them (how they are laid out in the bars, is the hat offbeat, how is that shaker made to be so prominent), does anyone know?

Also, there seems to be strings, violins, but it isn't the typical chord structure, right? Just seems to be fillers, every now and then, with a breakdown that's usually different to the fillers (brings out a new element (in a higher octave for the third link) or something). To me, the focus on ambience and effects in the background seems large too.

So, where do I start if I want to produce in a similar style? I've been trying to sample, but samples only get you so far. Writing chords for these is also really hard - maybe because I've wrote a lot of chords for trance, and I find it difficult to do for this style.


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Re: Where do I start with a style like this?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2017, 10:33:53 am »
i'll give a shot at this since nobody has replied yet. dance music isn't my wheelhouse but lots of the production ideas are not limited by genre..


the core idea of the track is the drums. they drive everything and that is reflected in how up front they are in the mix. as you said, everything else sits on them.. or just underneath them. the ambience of the mix is very subtle, but because of the amount of space the track has it has a big effect on the vibe of the track. subtlety is the aim here. take your time crafting the background ambiences, sfx, and noises and then tuck them into the track at a volume where it's easy to ignore them but you really miss them when they're gone.

as for the drums and how to 'emulate' that style of programming.. my advice is to layout your beat starting with simple rhythms (hi hat every 16th note, kick every quarter note) and then layer in other drums with unique individual rhythm patterns. you could layer in a 2nd hi hat (could be the same sound as the first, or a different sound that compliments) that plays around the rhythms of the first hi hat (which is still just playing 'boring' 16th notes). it's the interplay between the boring part and the specific rhythmic pattern that creates the groove, especially if you keep the 'boring' rhythm lower in the mix and use the other rhythmic pattern to accent the groove on different subdivisions rather than every 16th note.
and a sidenote - you can quantize in a bit of swing to the 2nd hat and experiment with different feels that way. this is the simplest way to create a groove, which is essentially just a 'beat within a beat'. this isn't limited to your 2 hi hat tracks btw, you can do the same thing with a snare. dilla was the master of this technique, at least from my pools of music. ghost snare and main snare type of thing.. the concept is displayed in the hats in this track.

this track has a kick on quarter notes. a couple of different hats, I only hear two different hats tracks right now on my speakers. first hi hat is every 16th note, but it's quiet in the mix. seems like a tight hi hat sound (very quick decay). the second hi hat is louder than the other and accents the 3rd 16th note of every beat strong, and the 4rth 16th note of every beat weak. (strong meaning louder, weak meaning quieter). this hat sounds a little looser and has a little bit more decay than the 1st hat.

there's a clap that happens on the last 16th note before the 2nd beat of the bar. so if you count out every beat and subdivide it into 16th notes, you would count ONE-ee-and-a-TWO-ee-and-a-THREE-ee-and...etc. the clap happens on the 'a' before beat 'TWO'. it's got a glitched out type of vibe to it. the main thing is that it's fairly quiet and not too obtrusive (ie it's not a THWACK snare sound)

layer in shaker rhythms between your hi hats too. hats and shakers share similar frequency range. btw it's easy to overdo this technique by mixing together too many complex rhythms and making your groove rhythmically busy: keep your rhythms sweet and simple.

chords.. don't think chords. tracks like this don't really need chords to create momentum because the groove and the sound design are all you need if you put time into making them sit well together. practice creating drum patterns and ambient sound design without any definitive 'chord progression'. not all music needs chord progressions. plus chord progressions can become a crutch to fall on when creating music, because they are easy and quick. challenge yourself to step outside of that comfort zone and build some tracks without relying on them. of course some melodic lines (with violins or a synth sculpted sound) help keep the interest of the musical ear. but you don't necessarily need 'chords' to have melodies or hooks. i wish i had some good examples in this genre for you to listen to off the top of my head, but the tracks you posted all exhibit this idea fairly well i think.
in another genre, brian eno's 1st track off ambient music for airports is a beautiful piece of music without ever playing a definitive chord progression.. or even a chord really..

hope the semi-sober run down of the track helps some



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Re: Where do I start with a style like this?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2017, 05:17:05 am »
dude it is deep house, for starters check out sonic academy deep house tutorials


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Where do I start with a style like this
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2017, 01:11:24 pm »
My advice. One of the even though formed around in a backwards fashion BUT furthermore actively coming again in the sales man style of his early works. You know?