I put together my own percussion loop and figured, why stop there? So here’s what it sounds like….
I picked the kick drum out after auditioning about 50 different types, then used a high pass filter and compression on it.
The snare came faster, probably the 30th I listened to, and I decided it didn’t need any processing.
The high hat is actually made up of 3 different hat sounds, but I chopped them up, accidentally quantized them with the wrong groove injector, fixed it, and then went back to the screwed up version because I liked it better. (BTW, isn’t it cool that such a thing as a “groove injector” exists?)
I auditioned about 3 dozen bass patches before I found the one I liked, then completely changed it by running it through a 4 band EQ, compressor, and decaying plate reverb.
The overdriven electric guitar actually comes from the synth; sorry to disappoint. Believe it or not, it’s actually a combination of 5 different patches, and includes a ton of effects processing that is also from the synth. Can’t have the Mac do all the work.
The synth arpeggios were actually all recorded separately so I could make sure they were perfectly in sync with my percussion loop. The track is 76 bpm, but the synth was running at 152, and I didn’t even bother attempting to do it live. Better no arpeggio at all than a complicated one that is a fraction off. Thankfully, ProTools lets you zoom in to the molecular level so you can line up that wave file right on the money.
I did play the high, detuned synth patch live. It’s electronic and robotic sounding enough in itself, so I figured a little human feel wouldn’t hurt it too much.
So what do you do when you are trying to make looped audio, but have a bunch of soupy sounding effects sloshing around at the end of your track? The beginning isn’t nearly as juicy; in fact, the percussion, although processed, are dry as a bone when it comes to reverb. If you start pouring reverb into your percussion tracks, it isn’t hip hop anymore.
I decided to clear mine out with a snare sample, drawn out, and reversed. It makes a sound that’s the percussive equivalent of the “big bang” played in reverse. Kind of like an instant of a black hole before the galaxy is reborn again on measure one beat one. A sort of phunky phoenix with a 1:15 life cycle.
So that’s how much thought and effort goes into a 1:15 loop. Maybe next time I’ll create my own samples from scratch so it can take even longer.