I know, I know. There’s been a serious lack of loop postings recently. This isn’t because I haven’t been keeping busy in the studio. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. For the past month or so, I’ve been burning the midnight oil, cranking away at something so big, so revolutionary, that it needs its own URL. It’s a project that’s been a plan of mine for years and finally, technology has caught up to my vision, enabling me to pull it all off. More details to be released soon. Stay tuned.
And for whatever reason, I’ve recently found myself watching a lot of the trainwreck-on-tv known as “The Jersey Shore”. I can’t really tell you how or why I started to tune into this hugely entertaining yet morally, ethically, and intellectually inept MTV series (can I blame it on my wife?), but regardless, I find it fascinating. My favorite part of the show is when the cast goes out clubbing (which is apparently every night), the house music starts thumping, and the guys start fist pumping to the beat.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you already know how I feel about dance music. Perhaps The Jersey Shore is starting to change my stance? Nah, it isn’t. But from watching some serious fist pumping on a weekly basis, I’ve been inspired to record another beat suitable for the Snooki in everyone.
Before using today’s loop, make sure you get juiced-up, hit the gym, spend at least 25 minutes in a tanning bed, put on your favorite Ed Hardy t-shirt, and apply at least 7 oz of hair product to your dome. My pumped-up house beats will take care of the rest.
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).
I first became a fan of Phoenix after hearing their track, “Too Young”, in the 2003 movie, “Lost in Translation”. I was struck by how tastefully this French band combined dance grooves, rock guitars and pop melodies. Typically, this blending of genres is a recipe for disaster (apologies to The Bravery) but Phoenix pulls it all together in a very refreshing and musical manner. Perhaps it’s all of the coq au vin and Bordeaux?
Today’s loop is heavily inspired by Phoenix and their approach to combining a pulsing, dance beat along with the grittiness of a rock groove. To achieve this sound, I used a lot of gating on the individual tracks, some sub bass on the kick, and an amp simulator on the overheads.
That’s all I’ve got today. My right hand is still gimped up and I’m in the middle of upgrading my studio with more RAM.
On this loop, I was going for a sampled, dance vibe (but on a live kit… with one hand). To achieve this, I cranked up my 6 1/2″ x 14″ brass snare and taped one of my LP jingle sticks to the batter head. I loosened the heads on my 22″ kick as low as they’d go (without wrinkling) to obtain as much attack and low end as possible. I placed a Shure SM57 in the far corner of the room and combined this track with a bit-crusher to add some dirt. I then gated and compressed each individual drum track until some club kids with glow sticks started to knock at my door.