CREATING PERCUSSION FOR FUTURE HOUSE IN SPIRE

CREATING A "FUTURE HOUSE"-STYLE PERCUSSION LOOP IN SPIRE

One of the currently most prominent commercial EDM sub-genres is, by a large margin, Future House. This relatively new permutation of the mainstream house sound has seen a major rise in popularity during the last couple of years and was well received by the new generation of young party goers, producers and DJs.

Further popularized by Top Charts on music/soundware portals such as Beatport, this new genre can be distinguished by its dirty, edgy and uncharacteristically “adventurous” synth and bassline riffs, shuffly percussion, boomy beats and massively intense drops.

In today's article, we will explore Spire's internal sequencer and see how to create a tweak-able percussion sequence/loop typical of this genre. We will first create a percussion sound and then program a “shuffly” pattern to be played by pressing a key on the keyboard controller (or triggered by your main sequencer). Such a percussion loop can then be used as a lead percussion element to go throughout the track and/or be placed on a drop and tweaked to add suspense.

1) As a start, choose the Initl patch and select a monophonic mode (MONO 1)

2) Now go to the first oscillator and put the “WT MIX” knob to the maximum value (1000).

 

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This will create a standard sine wave for us which we'll use as a basis for our percussion sound.
Simple electronic percussion are usually made of two components: sine wave and noise. We will use this approach today and expand on it a little.

3) Increase the volume of the second oscillator to 500 now and go to its tab. Then choose the “Noise” mode and put the ctrlA up to the value of 500+ in order to select the hipass noise mode.

 

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4) We now have two oscillators active, each representing one of the needed layers/components. The next step is to shape our sound and then adjust the rest of the parameters.

ENV1 controls the volume by default, so we will use it to create a typically short percussion shape for our (currently flat and sustained) patch.

Decrease the SUS to zero, and put the DEC to 218.

 

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5) As you can hear, this adjustment created a short an plucky percussion shape right away, but it is a bit quiet, so we'll compensate by increasing the volume of both oscillators to the max (1000).

 

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Now also increase the synth's main volume and velocity to the max, put the compressor to the value of 100 and switch on the “warm” and “boost” mode on the display.

 

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At this point, our patch is loud, but dynamic and playable and should sound like this: 

In order to get a somewhat punchier attack, we will first adjust the phase of the first oscillator and add some saturation with the Shaper effect module, so set the parameters as follows.

OSC1 Phase: 530

Shaper: drive: 40
low cut: 505
hi cut: 985
dry/wet: 355

 

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6) Now that we have a basic sound for our percussion loop defined, it is time to activate Spire's arpeggiator and create a loop sequence. Click on the ARP tab and open Arpeggiator's main window.

First switch it on, then choose the “Step” mode and “Step+Key” for the velocity.

If you press a key on your MIDI controller now, you will notice that Spire now plays a flat sequence and should sound like this:

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7) Now put the Swing to 750 and adjust the volume faders for each hit to approximately resemble this pattern:

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At this point, our sequence should sound like this:

8) We will now make our percussion sound a bit more interesting by adding an overtone with the third oscillator. First, pump up the volume of the OSC3 to 425, then go to the oscillator page and put the WT MIX knob all the way to the right again, to create another sine wave.

But this time, shift its pitch 2 octaves and 7 semitones up. Then choose a 3-voice unison mode and spread the width with the WIDE knob to the value of 770.

 

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9) Now we'll add some pitch modulation with the envelope.

Go to the ENV4, choose the Osc1 Pitch as the destination and increase the amount to 900.

Now decrease the envelope sustain to zero and increase the decay to 69.

 

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This gave our sound zappy character with a more pronounced electronic flavor.

Tip: Put the pitch bender range to 36 and automate pitch rising sweeps on drops and breakdowns.

10) Finally, let's add a filter and adjust its envelope. Choose the “Scorpio RedLP4”, put the cutoff to zero and the resonance up to 360.

Now go to the filter envelope (ENV3) and decrease the decay to 276. This will soften up the sound a bit, but also make it a bit more tamed and percussive.

Once done, adjust the filter's main cutoff knob again, to the value of 300.

 

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Our patch is now basically done.

With some added reverb, it now sounds like this:

In the context of a future house groove: 

Tip: Try experimenting with automating the pitchbender and the ENV3 cutoff amount to create sweeps and risers, or add some reverb, delay or phaser to taste. Additionally, add some more drive to the Shaper effect and make it all more dirty.

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