Analysis of S5E09: Halogenix – Soulful Breaks

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    • #39739
      ,Harry
      Participant

      Topics: Breakbeats, Drums, Drum Layering, Drum Loops, Drum Processing, Mixing, Mixing Drums

      This is Halogenix’s second tutorial for this season of Sample Genie, and it is a look at “soulful breaks”. First thing I noticed is a switch from Logic X to Ableton Live 10. In this video he is going over drums that are not as techy sounding, but more organic.

      01:00 – plays just the drums from a forthcoming track (“Only Ever Kind”?), and references Ivy Lab & Alix Perez’s “Maiden”, and his own track “Clich√©” as examples of tracks with this style of drums.

      03:30 – begins going through each drum track:
      1. Serum white noise to layer on top of the main snare
      2. Rim shot with some reverb, which is hi-passed
      3. Another rim shot, a different tone to #2, and bandpassed
      4. Hi-passed noise to layer on top of the main kick
      5. Kick drum re-used from “Maiden”, with some processing (EQ -> Multi-Band Compression -> Transient Shaper)
      6. A break layer used between some of the other hits, adds a shuffle/skip
      7. Straight closed hi-hats
      8. Open hi-hat at the end of every two bars
      9. Shaker loop, one he got from a sample pack and uses it often, has some processing (slight sidechaining of compressor -> EQ)
      10. Another shaker loop
      11. Another straight hi-hat loop
      12. This one comes in later in the video (@16:00), a ride layer that comes in after 16 bars

      09:00 – states that these drums remind him of old Calibre tunes that used old funk breaks

      09:30 – looking at the drum bus
      – EQ shelf pushing down the hi-end tops
      – Cytomic’s The Glue SSL-style compressor
      — Aims to keep the compressor from going past -5 dB. Uses a slow attack (10 ms), 4:1 ratio, fast release (.4 s), and a threshold around -23 dB.
      — A/Bs the compressor on/off, can hear how much it is squashing the kick & snare, while also bringing up all the other sounds.
      – Another EQ with lows and highs rolled off, FabFilter Pro-Q 2 with the linear phase setting at Very High
      – Spectrogram analyzer

      13:00 – looking at the snare bus, which he uses so he can process the snares a little differently before sending that bus to the drum bus

      13:25 – drum bus has a send going to a room reverb (Valhalla Room), which he describes as “super super, super super sick”, and that tis brings the drums to life
      – States that the room reverb creates a sound similar to recording drum overhead mics.
      – Has an EQ inserted before the reverb.

      15:15 – touches on arranging drums.
      – Looking at a four bar lop, he likes having an element unique to the end of the second bar, in this track it is an open hi-hat. So, in an 8-bar section, you would hear the open hat at the end of bars 2 and 6.

      16:00 – an Ivy Lab staple, a ride loop that comes in for the second 16-bar section. Barely audible, but adds a noise layer, “slightly elevates the whole thing”.

      17:00 – explains a new fill/turnaround trick he has been using lately, having a little ghost snare before the last main snare of the section

      18:20 – further talk about arrangement, this time in terms of a 32-bar section.
      – Music crescendo to the end of the 32-bar, then automating levels to bring down energy, then the next bar starts back at the normal level, giving a boost.

      20:45 – in this track, he actually cuts off the drums four bars sooner than a typical track, going in to the breakdown; 16 bar section A –> 16 bar section B –> 16 bar section C –> 12 bar section

      21:15 – says there is not much going on in the track’s drums technique-wise, just carefully chosen drum hits.
      – Explains why he used these particular drums.
      – Main snare was bounced and resampled, then audio edited within Ableton to make it a tight drum hit, shorter sustain & release basically
      – A/B’ing just the snare with reverb on/off
      – “Three snare layers, two kick layers, seven percussion layers”

      29:00 – more talk about how much the reverb is doing for the drums

      30:30 – looking at the master bus
      – EQ with mid/side settings
      – Compressor
      – Limiter

      31:30 – talking about characteristics of drums in techy tracks (“militant sounding”), and more soulful tracks, drums with warmth & tone

      32:15 – adding a musical sample to give an example with the drums

      36:20 – thoughts on this approach to drums, then plays “Maiden” as a reference point


      THOUGHTS & QUESTIONS
      – I don’t have The Glue, but another SSL-style compressor, as well as Logic’s native compressor, which has an SSL-style module

      – What’s the fundamental frequency on the snare? Is it higher than the typical 200 Hz range, since it sounds more like just a rim shot?

      – How does it utilize the spectrogram analyzer? Is he just looking at the frequency amplitude/energy?

      – I’m not super in to the native reverb in Bitwig, so I need a few options. When in Logic, I just used the native reverbs. Been meaning to pick up Valhalla Room, thought the way it was used & described in the video was good, so after watching the video I checked KVR’s buy/sell forum to see if anyone was selling their license, got one for $40 USD.

      "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

    • #40054
      ,Harry
      Participant

      I sent Halogenix some questions via FB Messenger, but I think my timing was really bad, as a day later he was off to Iceland to work with The Upbeats, and then a few days later the news of his split from Ivy Lab.

      "Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia

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