8 – Multi-patch Bass
Although the analogue resurgence continues apace, there is one area where digital audio has opened up new possibilities – sound editing. The ease with which audio can be cut, copied and pasted, the potential for the complicated automation of synth parameters and availability of plugins geared specifically toward ‘glitching’ meant that it wasn’t long before this approach was applied to the low end.
In many respects this is a natural extension of the ‘bass as lead’ archetype discussed earlier, but this time with multiple sounds and/or multiple tweaks to a range of sound parameters – filtering, distortion, bit-crushing, etc.
A great example of this approach can be found on Justice’s ‘Genesis’, where distorted sawtooth bass parts are merged with sampled slap bass and numerous wobbles, reverses and swift edits:
We can take a similar approach by creating a few different bassline parts…
…and editing, rearranging and reversing them.
The addition of some serious side-chained compression across all the parts helps gel them together.
Further examples include ‘Ghosts N Stuff’ by Deadmau5 and the bombastic commercial dubstep stylings of Skrillex’s ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’. Both tracks have informed – for better or worse – the subsequent direction and success of EDM as an international pop genre.
An example of a lighter-touch approach can be found on Madeon’s ‘The City’, where bass is linked sonically to most of the other parts to create a wash of harmonically interconnected elements:
In fact, Madeon first rose to fame showing off a Launchpad-led mashup-fest, which gives a hint as to how his production style developed:
If you enjoyed this Beat Dissected you might find our book ‘The Secrets of Dance Music Production’ a helpful resource for similar tutorials.