Techno arrangement tricks...

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Re: Techno arrangement tricks...

Post by tone-def » Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:52 pm

blizt wrote:
bkm1978 wrote:Everyone has made great suggestions. But, if you are making tunes for Djs to play, dont ignore the conventional 16,32,64 bar sections. You may not have to adhere to them strictly, but dont ignore them, or the DJs will ignore you.
Yes and no. I mean a DJ that know what he's doing should be able to pull out mixes with very complicated song structures. But yeah as the art of mixing seema to be forgotten every day more and more you shouldnt confuse too much the DJ nor the dancers and stay predictable so they can get it. So for who are you making the music? To satisfy your inner expression or to rock the beatport charts. It's difficult I know. My advice try to combine both. Oh and I definetly enjoy using really odd time signatures for the less obvious sounds in the tracks, background stuff, etc. And like someone said, if the groove is killer then you need little arrangement really.
i would say the obvious song structures is more for the traditional vinyl DJ's than those who shop at beatport. beatport DJ's can hack the sh!t out of tracks live, loop a bar here, loop half a bar there... doesn't really matter. the 16 bars thing has been around longer than house music, it's just completely natural for the flow of 4/4 music.

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Re: Techno arrangement tricks...

Post by bkm1978 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:26 am

For sure. Dont get me wrong, I'm not saying write everything according to what lazy Djs will only buy. I've written almost entire tunes in dotted patterns.
it is about balance though and when you discover all these new tricks etc its all to easy to get lost in it all. Its not about money, its about expression, its about being heard and if Dj's aint buyin it, then Djs aint playin it and if they aint playin it, then no one really hears it. Thats the way the record spins.
And digital Djs dont take more risks in what they play, in the time signature of the tracks they play etc. No way no how. 99 out of 100 of Traktor Techno Djs are looking for stuff easy to mix so as to throw it into a 4 deck mix plus maschine and not make horrible mistakes. This goes ESPECIALLY for some big name dudes who get paid mega $$$ to not trainwreck synced mixes. Think about it.

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Re: Techno arrangement tricks...

Post by NoAffiliation » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:28 am

think in 12's

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Re: Techno arrangement tricks...

Post by Anton » Sat May 16, 2015 9:22 am

This is such an awesome thread. Thanks every1 for sharing your experience, that's valuable to me.

I want to ask you in detail how you guys arrange the track through "playing it live". In my techno project I've got a kick, some base lines, som pads, a bunch of hats and snares and signature noises (alarm horns and such). It's because I couldn't arrange the track through placing midi clips on the time line and drawing automations that I came here. I'd much rather play it live. But HOW? I was thinking about letting everything play simultaneously (firing all the guns from 0:00), then map the main tracks or busses to an 8 fader midi controller, map some filters and fx to some knobs, and then start improvising.

Is the strategy described above similar to how you guys are "performing the track"?

p.s. ableton user

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Re: Techno arrangement tricks...

Post by MagpieIndustries » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:23 pm

That's one way to do it. It's very common to map some buttons to mute/unmute parts. If you watch guys doing hardware based sets like with an electribe you'll see how they can squeeze several minutes of a track out of a single 4 or 8 bar pattern just by muting and unmuting parts. For instance imagine you have a single kick pounding away. At the end of 8 bars you could just mute the very last kick, which makes for a mini transition, and then you can unmute a hihat track which gets your song started. After 8 more bars you can unmute the snare track, and so on. Just being creative with the mutes can stretch out the arrangement a huge amount. Being able to play a single kick or snare by punching a button can also add a lot of life. It doesnt take much to keep a tune rolling along like this.

For more ideas, get yourself lots of knobs and faders and buttons and XY pads and all that kinda stuff. As many as you can, it's very important. Map the knobs to fx and such like you said, you are on the right track. Use buttons or your keyboard to start and stop clips.

It's really all about two things; the first is having lots of controls at your fingertips, so if you get an idea you just twist a knob or fade stuff in and out. Decide on some controls and practice so you know what they do without thinking about it. You want it spontaneous and simple without ever having to consider the technical wiring behind what you are doing, and you just jam and jam and you'll discover tons of creative ways to do this. If you have toi look up something about midi mapping in the middle of jamming you are doing it wrong. You'd learn a lot by watching people play and improvise on electribes and such. That is why they are so popular, plus the controls are fixed so you dont end up worrying about midi mapping, just getting on with the performance... The second thing to think about is preparing your source clips so that they are easily mixable and mutatable by the controls. This, I think, is harder and more personal. You'll need organization and workflow methods so that your material is predictable and quickly accessible. Nothing will break your flow more than having to hunt around for a particular clip, or having to check to see what the length of a particular bit is or what it actually contains. Im not an ableton user so i cant say too much on that.

Note that the traditional way of jamming stuff out on hardware is usually to have a single pattern with your material in it, like 8 bars or whatever, with all the tracks playing from the start, but some muted, and simply messing around with mutes and fx knobs. Possibly also a transition pattern or two with some more complex programmed fills. This is enough to arrange and perform a whole tune, just jumping between those patterns and messing with the mutes. Ableton gives you a bit more flexibility in that the clips can all be different lengths, and the follow actions can program mini sequences of clips, and scenes let you launch multiple clips at once etc. IMHO this is all very nice but might be a bit confusing to start with; people have been making killer tracks without this complexity for decades, so I'd strongly recommend looking into how tracks are arranged and performed on classic x0x machines, electribes, rm1x, the new roland aira, etc There are unlimited amounts of such stuff on youtube, and reading about how tracks are arranged and performed on them will be quite educational I think. Then you can start to see where the limitations are and what abletons features are building upon. Buy yourself an emx or something if you have the cash, well worth it :)

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Re: Techno arrangement tricks...

Post by redtraces » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:41 pm

Great thread!

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Re: Techno arrangement tricks...

Post by ISTILLFEELIT » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:30 am

Finding tracks with similar elements and vibe, and borrowing the arrangement style is another good way to first start out. It's a study all on it's own. Also it's important to note that the top producers are for the most part creating for the dance floor and if you don't have access to clubs that are playing the music, recreating their arrangements is a good bet to create a proper arrangement for the club.

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