Stuck in a loop
We’ve all been there, listening over and over to a finely crafted eight-bar loop that sounds amazing… but it’s not a whole song, is it? If breaking your perfect loop is giving you separation anxiety, you’re going to need a tactic to spin it into a full-blown track.
A common approach is to create the drop first, crafting your idea at its fullest, with all the elements in place. Next, duplicate the loop out to the desired length of the track, and start removing elements of the track at the points at which they’re not required.
This tactic of subtractive arrangement can create a basic skeleton of a track extremely quickly, and all that remains is to smooth transitions between sections and add elements to keep interest where required. While quick and efficient, this method can sometimes leave you with a track which doesn’t evolve much. Importantly, your track must develop throughout – just taking things away then bringing them back is not enough.
An alternative method is to create the build-up section first. This way of doing things is useful if you’ve started with a melodic idea which you feel to be the track’s ‘hook’. By starting with a build-up, you give yourself a centre – a focal point of the track that you can work up to. Experiment with ramping up the tension, and you may discover some great sounds and textures that can be used throughout the rest of the track. But remember, a build-up is nothing without a drop, so it’s important to think ahead and either reserve some power for when things kick back in, or contrast the build-up with a stripped back, clean drop.
If your eight-bar loops are becoming like a broken record, you’ll need a real way out