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Splitting Drum Loops

By: -GB Galen Beals (Submitted to the AKAI Mailing List)

I thought it was great that Pedro did that post on his technic for
individualizing his breaks. So, I thought I would post mine as well.

A while back I got the album "Adventures in foam" by Cujo (Amon Tobin)
and I was turned on to a totally new type of music. I had never heard of
Jungle or Drum and bass or Illbiant or whatever. I just knew I wanted to
make fast breaking jazzy beats with cut-ups of myself playing bass and
guitar in it as well. Tobin's music was right on track with what I had 
been thinking of doing, but I had no idea how to do it. 

About the same time I was reading stuff on the net and in magazines 
about making break beats and became even more confused. People where 
saying things like "I cut out all the hits and try to reproduce the 
beat in the sequencer to make a new break." or some times just 
"I cut it up and play it back to make my own." or, an even lamer answer 
"I send it through Recycle." What?!! What's that suppose to mean? 

So I tried to do what I thought they where talking about as best I could 
and only came up with crap. It sounded like a drum machine. That's not 
what I wanted. Finely I got recycle, trudged though it for months
and this is what I came up with:

First of all, I discovered that I needed to cut the break in to less
parts.  So instead of every kick, snare and hi hat, I set slices at every
1/4 beat (four slices for a one bar beat). So now every sample That's
mapped to the keyboard has maybe two or three hits on it. Kick and hi 
hat-snare, Snare-rim-hi hat. That kind of thing. Then I reposition the 
cuts to fall on the closest hit so it's right on the beat. Although, if 
you don't do that it can give it cool swing feel. Now I can tap the keys 
all out of order and go mad (in a rhythmic way of course) and create 
something that has the flavor of the old break, but with a twist. 
Kind of like this: 

beat   1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . .|
cut1   x x     |       |   x   |      |  
cut2   |       x   x   |       |      |
cut3   |   x   |       |       x      |
cut4   |       |       x       | x x x|

This is just a classic Amen loop rearranged. It normally looks like

beat   1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . .|
Kick   O       |       O O     |      |
Snare  |       X       |   X   |      | 
snare2 |       |     x |       | x   x|
hhats  *   *   *  *    *   *   *   *  | 

So if you imagine the cuts on every 1/4 note, you can see what's inside
each one. I also use regular 16th note quantizing. when you use swing
quantizing it can get pretty muddled up. I don't like to Counteract the
natural swing of the original break.

One of the main keys to making this work with out recycle is
understanding what it does when it creates programs. Once you know that,
you don't really "NEED" recycle. Most sample editors have a "save selected
region" or some such feature,  and I don't use the Midi files it makes
because I'm going to rearrange it anyway. As Pedro said, It's more of an
automation thing.
The first mistake I made was not setting "play to end" on the samples.
This may sound obvious to most, but I wasted a lot of time trying to draw
notes in cubase that ended where the next one starts, and it didn't even
sound right anyway. It's also good to keep all the samples from one break
assigned to the same mute group. If I didn't do this I would not be able to
do the top example because I would have competing notes jumping all over
each other. And, I wouldn't get that 16th or 32nd note rolls that I use so
much like in bar four of ther top example. 

Oh, yah I also set all the samples tune to CONSTANT. That way, when I change 
the tuning of the samples (editing "all" keygroups at once) I know there all 
at the correct tuning to begin with. That's not really a big deal thou.

As for Tempo locking, I've gotten to the point where I can listen to the 
original break, tap my foot, and then try to match the tempo in cubase to 
my foot. It's that simple. when you have your break cut up into smaller parts, 
Tempo locking becomes less important. I could always change the tuning to mach 
the tempo later as well.

One more thing this technic also works for loops of other types: Guitar
lines, bass lines, your favorite steely dan electric piano riff, a violin
concerto, what ever. Thing may sound cool on there own, but what would they
sound like with a little rearranging?

That's about it. As you can see, it's quite a different technic from
pedro's. I would imagine you could mix the two or create your own. the
important thing is not to copy what some one else is doing verbatim, but to
advance it in some way and make it your own.


-GB  Galen Beals

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