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 Post subject: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:58 am 
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Illicium
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I've been experimenting with using breakbeats (fully chopped to individual hits, full breaks and something in between) in techno lately. Getting some half-decent results, but nothing extraordinary. I've no trouble using nothing but breakbeats, as I used to make drum&bass for a long time in the 90's and early 00's, but I haven't been that succesful with fusing them with the metronome-like accuracy of on the grid techno kicks, hihats and such. I'm also having some trouble blending them in to the mix, so that they sound like a natural part of the soundscape and not not just a glued on addition.

Tips, tricks and ideas are welcome!

Talking about something like this, but maybe a bit more techno-y and not just slowed down drum&bass:



And as another example, a track made before the DAW era:


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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:30 am 
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A huge fan of breaks in techno. I did that here... used ableton to warp and timealign the beat. EQ, maybe send a little bit to the verb buss. Side chaining is useful. also feeding the break into the same buss as the rest of the drums for glue.



If you can't warp for time align you could also cut up the break into multiple parts. Either to each drum hit itself or cut the whole loop, then different parts to the end. So if you got a 1 bar loop and you want to cut it... here is a simple visualization

*=kick
-=hat
+=snare

*-+-*-+- : whole break (first downbeat to end)
-+-*-+- : whole break - 1/8 (first highhat to end)
+-*-+- : whole break - 1/4 (first snare to end)

In my opinion you should try anything and everything... but I generally have better results when I keep the break intact. And using the warping in ableton makes it really easy to get the right groove out of it. I'm sure reaper has a similar thing...

Kilobyte and Ben Sims are my earlier memories of using breaks and being successful with it.


oh yeah and user doing the same. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:26 am 
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I'm very interested in this topic too - if fact any tips to use breaks effectively within your track.... be it techno, trip hopp stuff and that half steppy drum and bass come techno stuff I do really have thing for at the moment (It's all Planar's fault)

I haven't quite got it right yet I have been chopping up the breaks and pissing around with the fades, reloading bits into simpler and messing with start times.

I always layer the kick and snare with one shot samples from my library, I never seam to be happy with the results though.

One trick I have had alot of fun with is using ableton gate to trigger other sounds (for example a stab or bass sample) from the parts of your individual breaks. this can make for some cool results.

Keep to read other peoples tips as I'm probably over thinking things.

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:54 am 
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Really got me thinking on this again - good post Barfunkel.

Breaks used in techno can sound fantastic.

This is a masterpiece IMHO, make me want to learn how to play keys properly.



Carl Craig know a thing or two about breaks and just how to make a track groove check from 5min mark onwards.




Gonna think on this topic some more on my morning bike ride.

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:19 pm 
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i think this one is a prime example of how a breakbeat can be used to good effect in a more techno-y track:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJVBD2ZFusA

just a simple breakbeat flowing throughout the track, running through some delays. loving the interaction between the drum-machine pattern and the break here. tek 9 is one of the 4 hero people right?


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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:24 pm 
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refusenik

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I was thinking that it this would be a good thread. I am not very good at working with breaks but I recommend checking out the new skee mask album on Ilian tape if you want some inspiration.


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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:22 pm 
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SigEnt wrote:
that half steppy drum and bass come techno stuff I do really have thing for at the moment (It's all Planar's fault)


Image

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:35 pm 
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Very interested to hear some tips, integrating breakbeats with programmed loops can be quite hard. I obviously do a fair amount of this kind of thing and currently have a workflow where I lay down my kick pattern, cut down the break into single hits and reprogram it around the kick. The key to making that sound ok is getting the shuffles reprogrammed and integrating them into the loop in a coherent way- I'm shit at that. I'll layer my main kick with a little of the breakbeat kick and compress/saturate them as glue. All the rest of the hits I tend to leave alone apart from more saturation and enveloping.

To make the hits of the break bed in with the rest of my drums I pitch the break before slicing it to match the key of my kick. in fact, it's worth spending time with the break before you do anything; cleaning it up with eq, gating and sometimes multiband compression. Transient designers are also incredibly useful at this stage.

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:54 pm 
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I love the sound of breaks, I've dabbled in them, but beware... to get any good at chopping/ slicing/ programming takes a very long time. All those things that planar suggests are basic and essential, and requires a lot of know how, in order to sound good.

Posting a track by Tessela is like posting a painting by Lucien Freud and asking....'how can I do this'.

I've spent years trying to get my low end sounds 'ok', I think it would require the same amount of time spent on breaks.

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:42 am 
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Planar wrote:
Very interested to hear some tips, integrating breakbeats with programmed loops can be quite hard.


The first track in this EP has some interesting breakbeat in it (maybe not "true" breakbeat idk). Really nice track though.


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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:18 am 
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Illicium
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jordanneke wrote:
I love the sound of breaks, I've dabbled in them, but beware... to get any good at chopping/ slicing/ programming takes a very long time. All those things that planar suggests are basic and essential, and requires a lot of know how, in order to sound good.


I've chopped TONS of breaks in my past. That's all I did for several years being a hardcore d&b head, using a Yamaha A3000 or an Akai S950. Nowadays one can of course use auto-chopping software, but I still prefer doing it by ear. Hard to get rif of old habits!

It's a lot easier (IMO) to use just breaks or just traditional techno drums, fusing them is very difficult, particularly if you want to use longer breakbeat snippets than just tightly chopped single hits. The timing is very difficult to get right, cos it has to sync with the on grid techno drums and the timing of human-played breaks almost always drifts a tiny bit.

While the 2 software samplers I have are ok for some things, I just downloaded a new one (Short Circuit 2), which handles break chopping a bit better.



jordanneke wrote:
Posting a track by Tessela is like posting a painting by Lucien Freud and asking....'how can I do this'.



Well, what would be the point of posting a track in which the breakbeats didn't sound good or didn't suit the context? I try to use high quality reference tracks in the respective genres, even if don't know how to achieve those kind of result yet.


Edit: There's a half-assed attempt in the members section now. Cheesy breaks, with little choppage. Gotta start somewhere though!

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:36 pm 
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I use breakbeats to create percussion loops in live. It's easy and fast and you can get interesting results.

Here's an example : https://soundcloud.com/vctr-iii/breakbeat-demo/s-oz0ak

The thing is to is to reduce the legnth of the loop, make it start on the offbeat or on any other point, filter it, process it and then add elements on top (the kick and hat in this example).

Another classic tip is to play different breaks in session mode with no quantization and legato mode on to create a longer and more complex pattern.
Nothing genius here but a great way to mess around with breakbeat loops.

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:34 pm 
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Ableton is fucking amazing when it comes to working with breaks when compared to using Logic 8 for so long. So many ways to work with them. Slice to MIDI track or manually do it yourself. I used to always do that and work with MIDI, but I actually like to just drop the break into the arrangement view and then just manually cut/copy/paste/pitch/reverse/raise or lower volume etc then just consolidate to make a nice new shiny loop. Amazing what you can do with the most simple breaks really.

When in hardware mode, I sample breaks into my Akai S1000, I tend to have the whole loop, then cut out say, the kick through to the start of th first snare. Then the snare thorugh to the next kick etc and end up with small chunks of the loop. I then have a very short release time to the individual hits can be used or let the audio play a bit longer. It's a lot more work, but using the ol Akai is great fun too.

I'm no expert, but one of the biggest things is to use velocity and ghost notes and not to stick to the grid. Also eq out as much low end as possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:45 pm 
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Something else I picked up fairly recently is to set a loop in the tail of each sliced hit so they don't end too abruptly. It sounds best to set the loop to the forward/reverse setting. This sounds a lot better when creating a sparser loop from the hits, so it's worth the extra effort if that's what you want.

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:55 pm 
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Some great advice here, I guess one thing I certainly take away from the tips above is that you really need to put the spadework in first with your breaks.

It's probably a good idea to build up a few preconfigured breaks where you have spent the time prepping the samples in a ready to go drum rack so precious time isn't spent dicking around when you have a good idea in your head. I think I'll get a few "Breaks to go" racks sorted.

I just need more practice I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:35 pm 
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Knocked this cunt out in about an hour. Not very Techno, but great fun! Nothing wrong with doing it with MIDI, but working with audio is great for getting that cut up glitchy vibe.

https://soundcloud.com/distant-end/cut-it-the-fuck-up

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:07 pm 
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Barfunkel wrote:
jordanneke wrote:
I love the sound of breaks, I've dabbled in them, but beware... to get any good at chopping/ slicing/ programming takes a very long time. All those things that planar suggests are basic and essential, and requires a lot of know how, in order to sound good.


I've chopped TONS of breaks in my past. That's all I did for several years being a hardcore d&b head, using a Yamaha A3000 or an Akai S950. Nowadays one can of course use auto-chopping software, but I still prefer doing it by ear. Hard to get rif of old habits!

It's a lot easier (IMO) to use just breaks or just traditional techno drums, fusing them is very difficult, particularly if you want to use longer breakbeat snippets than just tightly chopped single hits. The timing is very difficult to get right, cos it has to sync with the on grid techno drums and the timing of human-played breaks almost always drifts a tiny bit.

While the 2 software samplers I have are ok for some things, I just downloaded a new one (Short Circuit 2), which handles break chopping a bit better.



jordanneke wrote:
Posting a track by Tessela is like posting a painting by Lucien Freud and asking....'how can I do this'.



Well, what would be the point of posting a track in which the breakbeats didn't sound good or didn't suit the context? I try to use high quality reference tracks in the respective genres, even if don't know how to achieve those kind of result yet.


Edit: There's a half-assed attempt in the members section now. Cheesy breaks, with little choppage. Gotta start somewhere though!


Nah, I wasn't trying to suggest that you don't know what you're doing, rather the opposite. That I have no clue what I was doing.

I heard that Tessela track and was like 'holy shit'. Then thought 'how hard can it be?'

The answer was VERY.

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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:18 am 
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If you're talking about DJ'ing, I'd say drop mixing is how I deal with this 99% of the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Breakbeats in techno - tips and tricks
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:50 pm 
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Breakbeats are very difficult for sure. I've noticed that a good thing to do is to use some kind of pre-amp on the breakbeat that you're using and maybe layer several breaks on top of each other then gluing them together with a pre-amp and/or a compressor. If you're doing this and also group the break together with a kick of your own, routing them all through the same compressor it lets them work against each other in a way I've found sounds pretty good.


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