I love the sound of a chopped drum loops. The timbres are familiar but the arrangement of the performance seems alien. Producers have been cutting up drum loops since the tape era, but with the DSP tools we have today, it has become a much more creative task. One good example is the Grammy winning record from Aphex Twin called Syro. If you’ve heard this album, you probably noticed the “chopped-up” sound that the drum parts have. In addition to an array of custom processing plugins and hardware, Aphex has used re-sampling and re-triggering methods to create some really exotic material. Today I will walk through my process for chopping, editing, and re-sampling using Lumit and Battery 4.
1) LINE IT UP
First of all, Find a loop that you like. Make sure it is at least 5 seconds long and is and fairly intricate. It should use a nice balance of quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes so you have a variety of patterns to work with. Figure out the tempo of the loop and adjust the BPM in Lumit to match it before you drop the audio into the sequencer. This way, the grid divisions will match those of the original performance and the cut tool will snap to subdivisions of the loop.
2) CHOP IT UP
Now that you have the audio loop matched to the grid divisions of Lumit, you can use the cut tool to divide it into a number of hits whose durations are snapped to the grid. In addition, try cutting at the start of transients, letting the performance itself determine how many and what kind of edits you will work with.
3) LAY THEM OUT AND BOUNCE THEM
Next, create as many new audio tracks as you need to separate each edit you made into its own track. This is because it will make step 4 much easier. Name all the tracks like a numbered list and spread the edits over them. Then, go into the preferences window (cntrl p) and make sure “create fades on clip edges” is enabled. If it is disabled, you will have to create little fade ins and fade outs on every edit to get rid of pops after bouncing them. Double click on an edit to open the audio editor window and click the button. Repeat this bouncing process for each edit.
4) FREEZE EDITS TO FILES
This step is simple. Open the freeze tracks dialogue by hitting this button . Select all of the tracks except the master, “file” as the bounce target, 24 bit WAV as the file type, and enable “bounce blocks”. Select the destination on your computer you wish to save the files to (do not put them loose in the project folder or they will get overwritten when you save), then click OK. Now you have a neat numbered list of full quality samples – trimmed, faded, and ready for re-sampling!
5) IMPORT FILES INTO SAMPLER
Open an empty MPC style sampler like Battery 4 and load all your edits into cells. Organize and rename them by drum type. Leave an empty cell between each occupied cell for step 6. You can do this in the existing session or in a new session.
6) MAKE VARIATIONS
Furthermore, copy each cell and paste it into the available cell next to it. Make some modification to the duplicate using tools like the volume envelope, pitch and time stretch, filtering, reversal, panning, modulation, and level.
Here is the fun part. Now that you have doubled the amount of samples by making variations on duplicates and have mapped them to MIDI notes, you can perform your own loop with a controller or punch in notes
~ My Groove
In the end, it’s time to put
~ My Context