Noise elements in beat programming
If you make music which relies heavily on beat programming, you can still take an ‘atmospheric’ approach to the sounds you choose There’s no reason why the textural techniques we’re looking at throughout this article can’t be equally applied to drum programming. As we’ll see below, however, identifying the ‘pitch’ of the drum and percussive elements you choose and seeking to unite these helps bridge the gap between atmospheric/drone sounds and traditional rhythmic instrumentation. We start by identifying a groove from FXpansion’s Geist, which we’ve pitched up. To this, we’ve added other elements which reinforce the groove and build a pattern but also add key ingredients seen elsewhere in this article – noises and spatial treatments – which blur the boundaries of our source sounds. But it’s the fact that the percussive parts have a clearly defined pitch which lets them connect to the drone parts found a bit further into the process.
Start with a groove from FXpansion’s Geist, which we’ve transposed up. The pitch of this loop is fairly dominantly the note ‘D’, which we’ll remember when adding other parts. The next instrument is a kick from Battery 4 (also tuned to D) processed with FabFilter’s Pro-R.
Next we add a pair of white noise elements, from a second Battery kit. We pan these so that one is across to the left, while the other mirrors the width to the right. To these we add a more generous reverb length but also some bitcrushing, to rough the sounds up.
Group these drum sounds and put an LPF over the group with an automated cutoff rise across an eight-bar sequence. Under this, put two drone sounds, both playing D. The drums ‘emerge into’ the texture, with the pitched nature of the groove making a bridge to the drones.