After putting my stomach and liver through “The Grinder” (aka Thanksgiving), I figured it would only be fair to do the same with my loops. Digging into some of the other new features in Logic 9, I discovered just what I was looking for: a virtual distortion pedal appropriately named “Grinder”.
Today’s loop takes what was once a pristinely recorded, 16th note-heavy funk groove and runs it through the digital equivalent of something you’d find behind your local meat counter. Pending any FDA recalls, this loop should be safe to consume, as long as it’s stored in a cool area and cooked thoroughly before serving.
My current drum tracking room is on the smaller side. While its modest dimensions provide certain sonic benefits (tons of attack, very focused etc), it can also make it difficult to naturally get the big and wet, Hit Factory Studio 1 type vibe on my drum tracks.
This is when I often turn to my good friend, the space designer. With a few tweaks of the decay time and EQ (the presets can be a little much), this plugin instantly transforms my 12’x12′ drum room into anything from a cathedral to a warehouse. Used sparingly, it allows me to leverage the punchiness of my tracking room while mixing in a hint of MSG.
I know you were hoping for a Livin’ on a Prayer-type loop when you saw the title of my post. So sorry to disappoint. My can of Aqua Net ran out just as I was getting ready for the session. Instead I give you a two bar loop that’s low on chlorofluorocarbons and big on reverb.
Special Secret Groove Sauce: Gruss’s RSS feed has MP3 enclosures – which means it’s a podcast and you can subscribe to it with iTunes and get the free loops delivered to your ears automatically.
In iTunes, navigate to Advanced – Subscribe to Podcast and paste in his feed URL: http://feeds2.feedburner.com/ryangrusscom
Note I had no idea this was possible but I think it’s awesome. It turns out the files delivered to your iTunes library are the full-blown 48khz WAV files… not just the MP3 previews. Subscribe via RSS now and start automatically stocking up on the free goods!
I can’t tell you how sick I am of hearing tired, canned dance beats. I don’t even like dance music. But if I have to hear it while out in public, away from the safe confines of my iPod, I might as well try to improve the quality of the drum sounds. The world has been overrun by shitty producers with their 808 samples and re-mixed Ableton Live schlock. And don’t even get me started about the kitten DJs who spin said schlock.
How does one try to come up with fresh sounding dance loops? Start with something that sounds nothing like a cliché electronica beat. In this case, it’s using brushes to lay down the groove. Chopped up with a touch of gating, peppered with some growly floor toms and sautéd in some extra trashy hi hats, I give you my first dance loop intended to make this genre a little more palatable (especially when served alongside a $14 gin and tonic made by someone like this).
Here’s my loop response from the following request:
“I’d like something that can go behind a slow acoustic guitar without taking over.”
I immediately thought of Russ Kunkel’s brush-ballad playing from those early 1970’s James Taylor records. I tuned the snare down nice and low, kept the groove nice and simple and rounded things out with a bit of reverb.
For today’s first loop request, I make my foray into the grimey world of Dubstep. A half time feel with some extra thick bass and a crunchy, gated snare, it sits right in the 139 BPM sweet spot of your garage. I’ll be including the rest of the loops from this session in Volume 7.
I’ve decided to try a little experiment today. I’m going to lock myself in my studio, with nothing but Logic 9 and my Twitter feed running, taking loop requests and producing/posting them live, every hour. It all starts at 2pm EST. Just tweet your request to @ryangruss with #looprequest in the message. Name any style, tempo, genre, artist etc. Anything goes. Polka to punk. Yanni to Yngwie. Let’s do this.
Every winter, when I travel home to West Des Moines, Iowa to celebrate Christmas with my family, I also take part in a “reunion concert” of sorts with some old friends from high school. Fourteen years ago, just before packing up my bags and heading to Berklee, I teamed up with some other members of my high school jazz band to find a way to get into bars without a fake ID. The solution? Start a funk band. And give it a really bad name.
At first we were called Pushin’ Chunky. Then we were D.I.M. (Drunkards In Motion). Several years ago, we somehow transitioned into the rather unfortunate moniker, Chach. Our name may change a lot, but the set list never really does. Stocked full of quintessential bar-funk-soul-r&b-band standards such as Sex Machine, Superstition, Everybody’s Everything and Pass The Peas, it’s three hours of music that we can pull off on an annual basis… without a single rehearsal. Consistent? Yes. Tight? Eh. Tight enough.
In preparation for this year’s Chach-fest, I’ve been brushing up on the ‘ol funk chops. Today’s loop is one of the many Kenwood-esque grooves that will be making the annual appearance down on Court Avenue. Two measures, some swung sixteenth notes and an open hi hat on the “one”. It’s what the best bar bands are made of. And yes, it looks like I finally quit the drum replacer habit.