Having hard time breaking rhythm

Discussion in 'Working with Sound' started by SomebodyIsHere, Feb 3, 2020.

  1. SomebodyIsHere

    SomebodyIsHere Member

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    Guys I have hard time breaking the grid in my arrangements. I cannot break the rhythm and make a flow which carries the song. Some guys recommend to turn off the grid and produce but when you turn off the grid it does not get you too far and you might face problems related to timing both in arrangement and mixing with plugins. I hear electronic artists producing drum tracks which flow, exponential rhythms with real drums(!) like the drum rises up in tempo and goes down in a way that you don't even notice but does not make your ear tired. I have tried tempo automation but the drum envelope does not always keep the groove and it gets messy.
    I don't want my listener to feel the grid. That's all pro producers do somehow. Don't tell me it is ears since these producers get perfect timing EVERY TIME.
    Just give me a workflow to achieve this goal.
     
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  3. HappyFork

    HappyFork Ultrasonic

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    All DAWs and most drum programming software allows you to create a "swing" which gives a more natural and groovy feel by replacing the midi notes on the grid a couple ms.
    Then there are mostly options to replace the moment when a sound is played after trigger as well, wether you want to release the sound before the actual midi note is triggered or after, which is important because when for example a kick and a clap play 1:1 at the same moment, the frequencies of both can kill each other or make things messy, so just by that you dont wanna have things 100% on the grid.

    Ofc then you can play with the velocity, and pronaunce certain sounds at a certain moment, Studio One has a quick feature for that, very handy...and then ofc you can sidechain drums as well, just as you can do with your bass, which makes the drums more groovy but also opens space for your kick or what ever you wanna create space for.

    Last but not least, you gotta practice, just create 1 drum groove a day and try to make it as interesting as possible and use different features of your daw or drum machine, play with the swing
     
  4. pht23

    pht23 Noisemaker

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    i sincerely think this does not apply to any project besides multitracking a band or demos of such playing with a drummer without "click".
    Just think about how hard it would be to mix such tracks with classic turntables/cdjs, you would have to adjust pitch at any given time, horrible!

    IMO most good breaks deal with a combination of tight, mostly "on-grid" sample work (think of basic kick/snare/hihats) and some well mixed but rythmically untidy audio-loops which in itself have drastic shuffling going on. Having this loops contained in a strict 4bar pattern though fits them right into your grid though so that youve got somewhat of a pressure thing going on, i.e. the loop pushes syncopation and/or phrasing in one direction and as it gets more closing in on breaking the grid it eventually repeats itself on the next pattern which happens to be exactly onto your, rightly saying so -, robotic "static-bpm"-grid. this is what creates momentum.
    (this applies to more than just 4bar patterns, can be every fraction of any given partial of your groove and so on, think modular here)

    Of course you can work without loops too and try to emulate real drumming techniques.
    (this is what spectrasonics engine has pretty enjoyable options for - just try some stylusrmx)
    To achieve this manually would mean to take considerably amount of singlehandedly shifting individual hits before and after their initial placement because not one sample has the exact same location of its transients like the other so to get just the right timing on different drum components you have to do micro-shifts which just do that, in addition to listen out -, and adjusting for occasional phasing problems which sadly occur more often than not so even multi-layering just one kick of lets say four kick-samples can become cumbersome very fast. (for your own interest, placing samples gridless in ableton you need to press alt- + mousclick)
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
  5. Smoove Grooves

    Smoove Grooves Audiosexual

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    Okay. This is genre dependent. But the first thing you can try is to be playing around with things that groove on a per-bar basis: first snare on it, second snare a few ticks behind. Then maybe add a hihat part that is 4 bars long, but with similar additions on a per bar basis.
    This will emulate when we used to use the MPC when creating early Hip-Hop and House. House in particular used to work like this; I don't know about nowadays. This carried over when we stared using daws, so the MPCs had their 'every other beat late'ness borrowed and put into MIDI files.
    Get hold of the MPC MIDI files/groove templates and analyse them for what I'm saying.
    Imo, stay away from 'Swing' of your daw, and especially 'Humanize', if your daw has it. We never needed it decades ago!
    Also, you can offset your hihat part so that the whole track happens a few ticks late.
    Also, a lot of commercial tracks did used to automate the project tempo up a bpm or so when the chorus comes.
    Also, have your bass happen slightly late/behind the kick drum.
    When things are this subtle, you'll realise how inportant EQ is, to really make these things groove.

    Given! From 30+ years of sequencing.
     
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  6. Smoove Grooves

    Smoove Grooves Audiosexual

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  7. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    Are you talking about subdivisions or actual rubato/accelerando/ritardando/tempo automations? I'm confused.

    To make something groove, some elements are dragging and some are ahead. Try to find a balance of things that are just a little late and things that come in a little stressed and urges things forward.
    Also look into ghost-notes, humanization (both MIDI and audio), varying timbres, velocity-controlled envelopes, etc.
     
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