Stock up be­fore you start

Future Music - - ALBUM REVIEWS -

Ever thrown your­self en­thu­si­as­ti­cally into the ar­range­ment process, only to run out of steam due to lack of ideas? While you might think that eight-bar loop can eas­ily be du­pli­cated out into a five minute song, a solid loop isn’t al­ways enough of a ba­sis for an in­ter­est­ing track that un­folds enough to cap­ti­vate the lis­tener for its en­tirety. We’ve all been there.

The so­lu­tion? Make sure you have enough sonic ma­te­rial ready to go be­fore you be­gin that jour­ney of copy­ing and past­ing. In­vest more time at the sound de­sign and idea-cre­at­ing stage, by build­ing up a pile of track el­e­ments (drum/perc loops, basses, leads, vo­cals, pads, FX, etc) at the same key and tempo as the ini­tial groove, all de­signed to fit the loop in ques­tion. By men­tally de­tach­ing your­self from the pres­sure of ar­range­ment, you can fo­cus on syn­the­sis­ing cool synth patches, re­sam­pling vo­cal-pro­cess­ing ex­per­i­ments, record­ing hard­ware noodling, and gen­er­ally fill­ing up your cof­fers with ready-to-go ma­te­rial. Imag­ine you’re cre­at­ing a be­spoke sam­ple pack cu­rated just for this spe­cific track. Not all of th­ese sounds will make the fi­nal cut, of course, but it’ll all be­come use­ful fod­der for your sam­ples folder none­the­less. To take this ap­proach even fur­ther, fill up your favourite sam­pler with th­ese sounds, and map them across dif­fer­ent MIDI keys for in­stant trig­ger­ing.

Once your pro­ject is burst­ing with po­ten­tial ideas, this is the time to dive in and start ar­rang­ing. If you’re mak­ing a DJfriendly dance track, paste your core groove out for 64 bars or so, then start off with that ini­tial groove that had you in­spired to start ar­rang­ing. If the idea gets a lit­tle repet­i­tive, you have heaps of sounds throw in the pro­ject. There’s no ex­cuse for re­peat­ing the same vo­cal part, for ex­am­ple – you should have a bunch of pro­cessed vari­a­tions ready to try out. And if you cre­ated the afore­men­tioned sam­pler in­stru­ment, all you need to do is load it on a new chan­nel and punch keys on your MIDI key­board to try out suit­able sounds on the fly.

Cre­ate a ‘sam­ple pack’ of sounds ready to fit into the track, and you’ll never be stuck for new di­rec­tions

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