Reply To: Stuck in a loop

,Mark RickettsMark Ricketts

Hi Joppa,

I think many of us have this same problem, bored of the tune by the time we get to 16 bars. A key realisation I came to is if you have a wicked 16 bar loop, you’ve pretty much got a tune (depending on the genre you’re making). I try to move from the creative phase (writing new beats + b-line) and into arrangement quickly as I find the process gets enjoyable again.

I usually brand my original 16 bar loop ‘Section 1’. I make a note of what it contains and then I keep adding to it, layer upon layer until it is full (verging on cluttered). Random samples, drum elements, percussion loops, pads and stabs (created using bass midi as a starting point?), I throw the kitchen sink at it, these will not all get used in the final tune.

I then copy this out twice forming a ‘section 2’ and a ‘section 3’ (others may use more sections). Once done, I remove layers from each of the sections (I audition layer combinations by muting tracks while listening) and use the following as a rule of thumb-

‘Section 1’ = My original 16 bar idea (before I added to it)
‘Section 2’ = As section 1 but also hats / rides + amendment to the bass line (eg – additional Fm/distortion/creative eq or new offbeat stabs/responses)
‘Section 3’ = More subdued version of Section 1, filter off midbass, remove high energy hats, introduce some low percs – bringing energy level down in preparation for mid tune break down

As a starting point for my second drop I want to go in high energy which then lowers, section by section, until the tune ends. To achieve that I would try to use different combinations of all the layers created initially so something similar too (but not exactly) Section 2 > Section 1 > Section 3

Many thanks,


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