In the latest Beat Dissected, we construct a beat with hints of garage flavour coming from a broken kick pattern and techno elements from analogue hits and found sound.
Beat Dissected is a regular series in which we deconstruct drum patterns, showing you how to program them in any DAW. Just copy our grid in your own software to recreate the loop.
Here’s the beat we’re building today:
Soundsfound sounds and analogue hits
Two different kicks are employed in this sparse groove. The first is a synthesised 909, overdriven and saturated. The second is a layered live sample, fed through some light reverb. Note the tonal contrast between the two, with Kick1 filling out the low end and Kick2 supplying low-mid and mid-range clout.
The pattern is loosely inspired by 2-step garage, although we won’t really grasp the full interplay of the rhythm until we add a few more elements.
The beat takes on a much more techno-inspired sound with the addition of two further low-end elements. The low perc is an analogue glitch, while ‘vox’ is a vocal sample which has been cut up and transposed down an octave. Alongside the kicks they create a foundation for what’s to come.
Moving up the frequency domain, we add a layered snare and stick sound to the second beat of each bar and then a clap sound, which plays around the kicks. The same clap is triggered on the last beat to deliver an abrupt ‘cut’ to the groove.
The beat comes alive in Step 4. Two field-recorded stick sounds and a vintage clave hit are added to give more movement to the groove. The twin sticks (one tuned slightly higher than the other) ricochet around the snare and clap, triggering on the 16ths either before or after them (sometimes both). The interplay between sticks and clap/snare becomes a trademark rhythmic motif of the beat, helped by the swing. The clave hits add mid and high-end detail above the low perch part.
With the beat already grooving nicely, the hi-hats don’t need to do much more than add definition and flow. The first, Hat1, plays on the off beats. The second, Hat2, is filtered found sound. It adds emphasis and high-end definition to the start of every other bar, with a short ‘roll’ effect at the end to push the beat forward. Note the varying sample lengths; the decay times are extended when the surrounding groove is leaner.
Three final sounds complete the beat. The first is a ganza shaker that triggers at the start of the bar. The other two are short field recording clips (Found1 and 2), which add character and texture to the beat.
When layering in complex found sound there are no rules. The trick is finding a sound that works both tonally and rhythmically with the established groove. So play around with sample start and end points, and use bracketing EQ to trim away unwanted highs and lows.
If you enjoyed this tutorial you might find our book ‘The Secrets of Dance Music Production’ a helpful resource for similar tutorials.