Modern meets vintage with Maschine
There’s undoubtedly something a little ‘vintage’ feeling about the set-up of NI’s Maschine groove production system. Visually – at least before the arrival of the new Maschine Jam – it’s always been focused around the 16-pad layout of the hardware, which inevitably brings to mind the quick chops and one-shot beats associated with old-skool MPC beat-making. With its classic sampler emulations, Maschine’s built-in sampler is certainly great for creating that style of sampled beats. Of course, the Maschine system offers a vast amount more sampling and processing options than any classic sampler did.
For one thing it’s important to remember that Maschine ships with both Kontakt and Drumlab, both of which add a ton of extra options for working with samples.
For example, a favourite trick of ours is to create percussive multi-sample instruments in Kontakt, but design them for randomisation. Do this by placing an assortment of different percussive hits or noises across various velocity layers of the same note. Create a kit with variations on a theme grouped around single notes – eg, several different shaker sounds on different velocity levels of C3, an assortment of different ‘clicks’ on C#3, a variety of white noise hits on D3, etc. Now load that kit into Maschine (or directly into Kontakt in your DAW); you can either program a simple beat and set up an LFO or randomisation tool to vary the velocity, or finger drum in a beat to create a few ‘happy accidents’. Put the kit low in the mix behind your main drums for a great way to add unpredictable ghost notes and glitchy variation.