> Step by step
Crafting a rolling 135bpm groove with cm250’s samples
1 Let’s dive in and put together a fastpaced 135bpm track using the Essential 808, 909 Overdrive and Loopmasters sample packs that come free with this issue. We’re kicking things off with this inspiring 808 kick and snare pairing. The kick’s excessive distortion gives it more of a chiptune-like synth timbre, as opposed to a traditional punchy kick sound. 2 Time for a TR-808 closed hi-hat pattern to accompany the kick and snare. 808 hats are synonymous with trap, and to embody the spirit of that everpopular genre, we’re using an arpeggiator to control the hat’s repeats. By automating the arpeggiator’s rate, we draw in a flourishing, machine gun effect that works with our beat. 3 For rhythmic inspiration, we’ve dropped in this interesting TR-808 drum loop, which sounds more like a synth hook thanks to the forceful distortion baked into the sample. We’ve used automation to silence the kick and snare attack within the loop, to prevent it clashing with our other drum hits. An EQ cut around 260Hz removes clashing mud. 4 To give the kick punch, we layer a snappy 808 kick over the top, then raise the attack of our distorted 808 to lop off its transient and prevent clashing. There’s no real sub power in the mix, so saturation and Melda’s MBassador fill out the distorted 808’s missing bottom octave. For the flat-sounding snare, EQ and transient shaping adds weight and punch. 5 Next, let’s customise a breakbeat loop from this issue’s Loopmasters pack. In its original state, the loop is a bit overbearing, so we use Live’s Transient Envelope to tighten and gate the groove at clip level; harsh high-pass-filtering removes bass and mids; and heavy limiting crushes its spiky transients, sitting it further in the background. 6 For some bass inspiration, we chuck a Loopmasters bass loop (from the Lenzman pack) into a sampler and trigger it in the gap between our main kick. Flukily, this gives us a nifty sub wobble and midrange stab that fits perfectly in the groove with a touch of saturation. For variation, we use a Loopmasters sine ‘fall’ sample to fill the gap in the second bar. 7 Some form of vocal element will give the track personality. We drag a Loopmasters vocal loop into a new sampler, and randomly draw small MIDI notes throughout the groove. A longer note, pitched down an octave, creates a quirky vocal stutter that interplays perfectly with the Lenzman bass. A coating of cmDelay adds spacey vibe. 8 Instead of dropping a generic crash cymbal on the downbeat, we use the front end of a drum loop, then alternate between the original sound and the same sound pitched down an octave. And for a finishing touch of pace, we mix in a heavily EQed loop that’s been tuned to fit the track’s key. It’s now time to start arranging our loop into a full track!