Save the Beat

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.

Stop the madness.
Stop the madness.

Loop #108

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).

Preview Here:


Get the .wav file here.

Get the .rx2 file here.

Get the .aiff file here.

118 BPM

6 thoughts on “Save the Beat

  1. Um…resent dance music much? I’ve no doubt that any dance music you hear ‘out in public’ is pretty weak, but face it, 99% of every genre is weak; you have to seek out the good stuff. If it doesn’t float your boat that’s fine too, but you can’t judge any musical genre on superficial listening to whatever you can’t avoid hearing.

    And if you were just trolling for flames from dance music enthusiasts, well played.

    BTW this sounds more like a standard rock beat, and 118 is kinda slow for all but the slowest beatdown house music.

  2. You’ll have to pardon my delayed reply. I went out last night to some clubs in an attempt to find some good dance music, only to have someone slip a roofie in my $14 gin and tonic. I woke up this morning in a dumpster on Landsdowne St. So much for research.

    When reading my blog, one needs to keep in mind that it is powered 10% by WordPress and 90% by Sarcasm. I don’t really hate dance music… or kitten DJs. It’s more so the club scene that is associated with it. The velvet ropes, the insane cover charges, the aforementioned $14 drinks.

    So, my apologies if I offended any dance producers out there. You need to take everything I say on my blog with a grain (or a few pounds) of salt. I do, however, like to get people talking and thinking about ways to push the sonic boundaries that many genres of music tend to be confined by. It seems to happen more and more as everyone gravitates towards using the same DAWs, samples and production techniques. We need to keep things from getting homogenized.

    That said, I would love for you (and anyone else out there) to recommend some quality dance music to check out. I use this blog to learn just as much as I do to sling silly insults and make fun of Dave Weckl.


  3. The cat picture is fantastic.

    Your drum beat? Meh. It’s fine. However would sound awful in dance music. You yourself admit you don’t like dance music, so it’s doubtful you truly understand what electronic music fans are looking for.

    As a fan and a long time professional producer, the drums in many styles of electronic are simple for a reason. And do you know why I don’t mic up a kit and play my drum tracks? Because acoustic drum kits sound weak and lame with electronic basslines, synths and FX. The best sound engineer in the world couldn’t mangle an acoustic drum recording into something you would sound appropriate in a dance track. (Or course there are most likely a few exceptions, but not many)

    It is very rare to hear 808 samples (at least in isolation) in dance music tracks these days. They may be present as one layer in several, but it is very rare to hear them on their own…. simply because they sound weak and over done to death. Most dance drum tracks are constructed from a kick made from a minimun of two kicks, usually one with punch and one with low end, and compression etc. applied. The same goes for snares.

    The traditional 4/4, break and dnb break that make up most of popular electronic music are used because they work. If you listen to more than just what you hear in popular media or at the mall, you will hear some fantastically detailed percussion programming.

    As for “canned” drum beats, most producers worth their ilk are cosntucting custom kits, and doing quite a bit of subtle arrangement and post-processing to get their sounds…. I know quite a few drummers and sound engineers who spend about one quarter the time I do laying down and finishing a drum part.

    I personally find the tired and cliched drum beats played by the majority of rock drummers to be boring. That’s a matter of personal taste. John Bonham did it all anyway.

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