making my first triphop track

dayvonjersen 2020-11-27T13:00:00Z #music

The strangest thing happened just now

I changed to match the beat of the BT loop and suddenly everything came together.

Instead of fighting the kick making it fit into a house song, removing the bongos, etc went with the flow and now it’s really good

I could just be going crazy after 10 hours of listening to it not work

Also the pads at the end don’t have the same energy somehow

maybe it needs to distort

write more words here

So I made this track back in 2017. Listening to it on speakers I realized the kick wasn’t working, but I could no longer open the project file, so I got sad about it but moved on.

But I’m not one to let things go, so I investigated last year and found out it was crashing due to one of the plugins (turned out to be Bounce, which was the foundation of the entire track).

After some finagleing and mysticism I managed to recover the project, decided to just export stems because the effects chains were complex and insane, and the only thing I wanted to fix was the kick, which was the foundation of the entire track.

I tried every odd trick in the book: Tried pitching the kick, adjusting its phase, equalizing it, using it as a layer, replacing it entirely and nothing worked.

Every kick sample I tried to use instead didn’t fit the track (even with sidechain) plus the mix itself wasn’t sounding the same, it didn’t have the same energy and I felt like the bongos were out of place and I got depressed about it again and gave up.

But I’m not one to give up. After my first solo album, the Moderat bootleg, and “a chance encounter”, I felt so confident in my mixing abilities that I was determined to fix this track. It had a lot of meaning to me, it pulled me out of a depression following the 2016 election and the state of the world and politics but also my own life had no direction and I felt lost. I improvised for the first time on this track using my nanoKEY (and had to quantize it a little bit) and Kamal’s words really spoke to me like yes! Let me share my music with the world!

And I was able to bring back the magic in those ideas. On the first day I ended up getting a little too deep into parallel compression and parallel limiting, going for that New York sound but I felt like I had managed to really bring out the character of Kamalimani’s voice with some of those techniques at least.

That first day I actually ended up working on it for something like 10 hours straight with no breaks. By the end I was pretty strung out and frustrated that that kick still wasn’t working. (Stubbornly, I had refused to replace it).

So I’m strung out, just listening to this BT loop I had run through a high-pass filter and bounced 3 years ago with a different filename because I am extremely disorganized in the ending part of the song looping, and looping, and I made a kick drum pattern that fit it pretty well. Sounded like his style from the early 90’s too

BT (Brian Transeau) had released a bunch of drum loops for free on soundcloud a while back so of course I grabbed them because it’s BT c’mon

So now that’s looping and I realized I had used this loop throughout the entire track in the background, mixed kinda quiet, and I’m strung out and done for the day, so I just copied the pattern throughout the entire track to see what happened

And praise the Lord, it was incredible. Everything made sense now, the bongos,

The bongos are from a collection of loops I found on freesound a loong time ago, probably when I first started trying to make music. I used them in a bunch of songs, but this was the first time I had time-stretched and edited them into a full-on sequence, ya know?

The bongos were working, the cheesy arp I had added because I couldn’t actually improvise playing the organ for that long, and most importantly, Kamal’s first part of that vocal (“…hip-hop…Africa…”) really fit the entire song perfectly.

Don’t get me wrong, I love House music and it was a massively “revolutionary” style, but House has gone mainstream now and adding some bongos to a 44 beat just doesn’t cut it as revolution anymore, unfortunately.

The kick (which honestly I had begun to hate using) suddenly tied everything together, it fixed the phase issues, it fixed everything and made it something totally unique that, after another 6 hours, is something I’m really proud of.

(I’ll link to it if Kamal says I can)