I started out with a simple drum pattern layout using Kong drum designer. I used Kong because I enjoy how you can modulate the parameters of the device to get different sounding drums and kicks to flow more nicely with the mix. creating a crisp punchy kick and i usually find it best to layer the drum patterns including snares and hi hats to get a more organic sound in your drums. Reducing or increasing the drum pitch creates a more punchy attack, but not too high otherwise all the sub will be taken out the kick. my kicks tend to gear towards more full on psychedelic trance kind of feel towards the mix, so the have a shorter decay and a punchier pitch and tone and what i did was layer one more kick to give it more room as i added a reverb on this kick but made the size of the room just big enough in order to feel the “spacyness” of the kick.
To make the bass sound i used the Subtractor synthesizer because it produces a very bass like sound and the parameters of the device is great for tweaking the bass sound to get it to sound the way i wanted it to. Generally a “Psy” bass is made of a Sawtooth wave transposed 1 or 2 octaves down to give it more of a sub feeling. I generally layer my bass with a square waveform to give it a bit more lighter or funky feel to the bass, giving it a more driving groove to it. to build my bass i had a saw and square wave at low octaves, the square a bit higher than the saw. I added a low pass filter and lowered the cutoff frequency to cut away all the high frequencies, getting the fuller deep sound of the bass. Sidechain compression is important in making the kick and bass sit tightly together without any low frequencies overpowering one another. Sidechaining is when you take a frequency from one input and squash it when another sound from a different input hits. Meaning every time the kick hits the compressor will compress the volume of the bass. This helps create that driving bassline feel and eliminates all the messiness.
I like Reason for only one reason and that’s the plugins they provide you with because you can come up with extremely creative and intricate sounds, however the fact that no third party plugins are allowed, which makes it more difficult learning how to use the provided vsts. I generally enjoy using thor because it has many interesting parameters that can be used to create quality analog or digital sounds. I create my melodies and sound fx using thor and maelstorm, maelstorm produces very atmospheric sounds which i do appreciate using to give the mix more fullness or openness giving the track more breathing room. Using reverbs is a great way of creating airiness in the specific sound. DR octo rex is a great way of chopping up samples of different sounds creating a whole new sound, i adjust the lfo settings usually, LFO means low frequency oscillator, the effect is the sweeping sound you can creating by adding it to the filter, making it move from low frequencies to high frequencies, almost like automation but not as controlled. LFOs are great in creating “wobble” like sounds, examples are in dubstep basslines generally. But lfo on certain sounds and destinations add beautiful effects to the sound sometimes, and could be a great way of creating a unique sounding melody.
Creating sweeping noises is a great way of suggesting transitions in the mix and a great way of channelling the sounds into certain patterns. These could be white noise rises and sweeps or even pitch modulation sweeps, these sound like rising electricity sounds. A great way of boosting the energy of the mix in a certain area. “Psy” has a lot of those, very intense and dramatic build ups to a simple yet effective drop of bass and kick. song structure is a very sketchy thing that Im still trying to learn and especially with “Psy” as it has minimal or no song structure compared to genres like techno where the structure of the song is not so much free-form and certain sounds or drops need to be done in a certain way to make the track more exciting. With “Psy” it has a basic beginning middle and end, there will be a long intro filled with atmospheric sounds and then the first drop followed by and break down into more atmospheric sounds usually followed by samples of voices talking about life and the the build up and then the drop, this usually happens about 3 times in the space of about 8 minutes, the key is to be extremely creative with the sounds and the placing of them. Ive learnt through just producing this style of music that it works in 1/16 notes on a basic 4×4 beat structure, and the more innovative you are in the 1/16 note space the better the song will sound or it will to seem to be more interesting. I find this genre very fun and creative to make because there is literally no boundaries to what you can come up with, from very slow to extremely fast paced songs.
Automation is a vital element in creating interesting movement within the mix, as it is used to modulate a certain parameter of the synth sound during the mix, for example i automate the filter cutoff of a synth sound to move it from a lower frequency to a higher frequency, creating a rising sweep effect. Mapping the synth to a keyboard controller is a easier way of getting the automation to work more in your favour. you can automate all sorts of parameters including panning of a certain channel, for example the hi hats could be panned left and right by being automated creating that sort of ping pong effect.
Adding effects is a great way of getting the sound to seem fuller such as using delay, i use alot of delay in my melodic sounds creating a very trance like atmosphere, i think with psytrance in important to create a lot of atmosphere in your mix but also making sure to pay close attention in controlling the atmosphere, so it doesn’t lose control and seem to all over the place. Quantising beats is an interesting way of making the beats sound ordered. Quantising means snapping each note to a certain formation such as a 4×4 or 16th note order, so the note snaps to each 16th note. quantising does however make the sound more robotic and less organic because a human very rarely can hit a note at the exact same time with each hit. Groove templates pretty much do the opposite as quantising and adds a bit more of a groove to the notes making them hit at different times but at the same time making it feel ordered but not robotic.
I struggle a lot with sequencing and Im still learning the correct way In sequencing and layering my melodies. In reason you have the edit mode which opens the piano roll of the selected sound. This allows you to sequence the notes in the way you want to, it allows you to adjust the length of the midi clip as well as the velocity of the note. Audio however is unable to be edited like this unless you run the audio through a sequencer tool, this chops up the audio and breaks it down into midi. This is great at times for audio sounds like arpeggiated riff or melodies that you would like to recreate to your own specific taste.