Rubba Dub-Dubstep

Lets try some dubstep shall we? 

So I managed to get my hands on a nice little sample kit called ‘Killa Dubstep and for the first time in my musical existence and possibly my I thought I’d try my hand at a bit Dubstep. If you want to name it something longer like post processed audio fuzz wangler then please be my guest but for the sake of labels I’m going to stick with Dubstep. Now i’m neither up nor down about Dubstep; I’ll happily enjoy a bit of it at The Bongo Club though it isn’t exactly my first choice. And to be honest the way the song has come out I quite like it – in my eyes the build up reminds me of this ‘Magnetic Man song. Even furthermore when I’m looking at the way I’ve structured the ‘light’ string sections and ‘dirty’ processed parts its making me think that ‘Muse’ may have influenced me when arranging this with their attempt at dubstep in their song Unsustainable.

In addition to this I used samples taken from two awesome ‘Nine Inch Nails’ songs ‘My Violent’ for the vocal lines (taken out of key) and ‘The Hand that Feed’ for the synth melody which I have further processed and manually glitched to make a solo at the last section of this track. Both of the tracks can be found on the remix page of the ‘Nine Inch Nails homepage.

So using the collection of loops I had available to me I arranged them into an A B A B structure for the purpose of this exercise (this may change if I come back to it at a later date).

Aside from simple automating volume and plugins here and there; on the string stabs with a pitch corrector to make it dive out and the synth arpeggio at the end to with a subtle wah automated in and out into out this is what the track sounded like to start with;

SupaGlitchy Synth

It the start of the song as the vocals start to play this synth sample plays in the back ground glitching in reverse. From previously doing this by hand attempting to recreate sounds that ‘BT’  seemed to do so musically I knew how hard this would be. I then however, came across a FREE, yes a FREE, also simple to use plugin designed for glitching audio calledSupaTrigger

after trying out a few of the presets to see what the plugin was capable of.

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 17.23.37

I then set the plugin to glitch in 8th notes (shown above). The plugin also had a button that said reverse audio. You guessed it, I pressed this button and hey presto I was met with a completely new sound. A sound that I preferred over the original glitching.

Here are both audio from the arcada synth;

Examples of this glitching technique can be seen very clearly in the spoken parts of ‘The 2nd Law: Unsustainable at 1:00 and throughout the ‘BT – Simply being loved song in a more creative melodic sense in the song 

Trent Edits

The song seemed a little lost without vocals and despite my worries of tarnishing Trent Reznors vocals in one of my favorite songs, I chose to sample his vocals lines over Adel, MJ and the Beachboys. My reasoning behind this was that I felt that the uneffected dry vocals within ‘My Violent Heart would lend itself well to being processed. Also the angst in the vocals in the chorus line I felt was fitting the piece.

Stage one of three; Before I could even begin to process the track had to make the region in a loop then sort the key from Amajor to Dminor this raised Trents vocal up in pitch as well as the breath sounds.

As you will hear when listening to the first of the three examples is that the vocals are quite quiet and they did get lost within the mix. So the second stage would be to make the audio louder. This was done quite simply with EQ give increasing the gain by 12.5db. 

Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 00.02.28

As a trial I put the vocals through the ‘AVerb’ reverb plug in testing at the presets where the ‘plexi resonator’ stood out sounding almost unnatural, like the original track had be recorded in a small empty steel storage container. The plugin settings can be seen below;

Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 00.04.08

All the settings were at default apart from the mix level which was default to “50%”. raising the mix in my head increased the size of the container. In the end a settled for 24% in an attempt to convey an almost robotic angst.

The final stage for the vocals is to polish it off to fit the whole track.

This is how I did it I added a automated vocal transformer plugin to synchronise the vocals with the string part the drops down in pitch (shown below). I also mark a 0 semitones node where the last word of the verse was.

Screen Shot 2012-12-05 at 23.49.07

As well as this an echo plugin has been automated using the touch feature on the echo plugins bypass (shown below) so that the last word (marked with a 0 in the region) of the verse which echoes on through the song at the new pitch. 

Screen Shot 2012-12-05 at 23.55.17


Here is Trent Reznors vocals as it has progressed through the three stages;

Glitchy Synth

As you know and for those who don’t this is what a full audio region looks like;

Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 00.25.27

and through a laborious process of zooming right into the region chopping up the region and rearranging it using my trusty scissors tool ended up looking like this;

Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 00.22.14

Okay, maybe I went a little over the top, however it does the job in the mix (i think). Believe it or not but both region images shown in this section are exactly the same file though the second is in the wrong key. 

After learning how to use ‘Apple loops utility’ with the help of this ‘manual I ended up with this

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 17.52.42

my own apple loop of a glitching synth. Which I then inserted into my track and it changed itself into the correct key of Dm. 

Here is the solo synth from ‘The Hand That Feeds’ before and after glitching;

Finally to mastering. I’m not the greatest at mastering i’ll admit that but I tried my best;

Adding an soft limiter to stop the track clipping.
An exciter to add some extra sparkle to the top end.
Subbass plugin to boost the bass then I used Multipress to raise the level of a certain frequencies compressing others. This was all done with the native plugins I had available in Logic.

I am quite happy with the end result. And within seconds I had my first like on soundcloud which was very much surprising.

Here is the final track produced, and mastered to the best of my ability;

I’d have like to have used some outboard effects for doing this ‘Koass Pad Quad just to give it more of a live feel and my ‘new’ movement controlledAlesis air (which unfortunately comes tomorrow). All in all it proves my previous post ‘The Box is Mightier than the Building.

Eventually this is going to be the future of music.


Whilst doing this I also found this article really interesting about BT in Soundonsound especially the ’embracing the future’ section summarising how he got started with creating sounds.

One response to “Rubba Dub-Dubstep

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