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64 Digital Nation
Being a perfectionist can be a disadvantage as a will tell you it’s important to take regular breaks,
producer. If your standards are too high, it’s more your ears need time to adjust and recover. But taking
than likely you’ll never finish a tune. Hours can breaks is also essential from a creative point of view.
be wasted searching for that perfect, elusive sample It gives you a chance to step back from the intricate
that will complete a half-done track. Days can be details of a track and see the song as a whole.
lost EQing a single snare sound. The end result is a
string of unfinished tunes and a lot of frustration. In a genre that is as dependent on technical skill
as drum & bass, it’s all too easy to get bogged
That’s why I’ve recently started imposing a strict down in the detail. It’s easy to become obsessive
regime when making tunes. Before I sit down to about individual elements (do the cymbals sound
start work I set myself some kind of time limit, right? Is there enough compression on the
perhaps four hours from when I begin. If by that kick?). But, no matter how great those elements
time I’ve got a final version that I’m fairly happy are, no one will want to hear them unless you
with, I produce a mixdown, send the tune via finish your tune. That’s why I’m forcing myself to
AIM to a couple of friends, and leave the room. stick to deadlines and take breaks even though I
If I’m not happy with what I’ve done, I stop haven’t finished my tracks. This is the best way of
working and do my best to forget that I’ve got a ensuring that my tunes actually get finished and
half-finished tune sitting on my hard drive. my stuff gets heard.
Any experienced producer or mastering engineer Check out GLP’s music at
Each month we take a different break from the
drum & bass producer’s repertoire. We ask who
recorded the original tune and who first used
the break. Most importantly, we ask what makes
the break a ‘classic’. This issue, Dennis Coffey
& The Detroit Guitar Band – Scorpio.
D&B 4 THE HEADZ Guitarist Dennis Coffey was a session musician
Developer: from Detroit who played on his first record at
Digital Redux the tender age of 15. He went on to play guitar
Price: £19.57 from on countless Motown releases, from Edwin
Time & Space: Starr’s ‘War’ to The Supremes’ ‘Someday, We’ll be Together’. With each recording Coffey
brought a funky, innovative style – he was the
first Motown artist to use the wah-wah guitar
This packed DVD contains 2.44GB of sound, later popularised by Jimi Hendrix.
drum breaks and percussion hits, as well as
a satisfying range of samples from old- With a band of fellow session players, Coffey
school rave stabs to atmospheric pads and recorded the 1971 album ‘Evolution’. Initial
strings. Created by “one of the drum & bass sales of the album were poor. However,
scene’s leading producers” (unnamed), this audiences eventually came to appreciate track
sample pack offers great value for money. If four, ‘Scorpio’, which became a huge hit,
you’re new to making D&B, this could well reaching number six in the US Billboard chart
be the one for you. and winning a gold disc.
One of the features of D&B 4 The Headz is ‘Scorpio’ is an electrifying fusion of funk and
that the sample set is built around ten so- psychedelia. The track kicks in with a screeching
called “construction tracks” – sections of guitar riff that Coffey reportedly recorded by
a full tune with each element included as a overdubbing nine guitar parts spread over three
separate file. This could be especially useful octaves. The track then drops down to a solid
for new producers keen to understand how groove before, at around 1.20, the guitar and
MASSIVE to piece together a coherent track. Perhaps bass drop out entirely leaving drummers Uriel
Massive is a great tool for creating basslines and the best feature of the DVD are the stabs Jones and Richard “Pistol” Allen to hammer
leads, I recommend it to anyone making dance and atmospheric samples, which call to out a stiff, funky break with an instantly
music. mind classic hardcore tunes by the likes of recognisable fill.
the Prodigy.
WAVES RENAISSANCE COMPRESSOR The beauty of Scorpio is that the break just
I mainly use the Renaissance Compressor on The collection of breaks contains some keeps going. First, Eddie “Bongo” Brown joins
beats. It has this warm vintage feel that breathes real gems. Fans of the more techy, artificial in on congas, followed by Jack Ashford on
into sounds and beats. D&B style will enjoy the fact that many of tambourine. The four percussionists hold the
the loops sound as though they’ve been track for nearly a minute before the bass rejoins
IMPOSCAR created using single hits, rather than the tune.
It’s so easy to use and it’s got a great sound to it recorded live, and have an electronic vibe.
… just like the original! I will always be fond of What really stands out about the Scorpio
this synth as it was my introduction to sound- The beats and samples on the DVD come break are the hi hats, which have a thickness
shaping synthesis. in .wav, .aiff and .rex formats. The same and crunch that gives a raw, fat sound to any
files are also arranged in a Refill folder for tune that uses the break. The later sections,
STYLUS RMX the convenience of Reason users. There’s with conga and tambourine, are also rich in
Very easy user interface and a great library of also a folder of ‘Extras’, which include percussive tone and effortlessly groovy.
sounds, beats and breaks. It’s one of my most construction tracks and samples for some
called-upon plug-ins. demo hip-hop, house and electro tracks. Scorpio has been used countless times in drum
and bass. To hear a relatively faithful rendering
LOGIC STUDIO 8 COMPRESSOR of the break, check out the sublime ‘Share the
This plug-in and its side-chaining options are Fall’ released in 1997 by Roni Size / Reprazent.
what make my subs go mmmmmmmmmmmmm
and my kick go thump.
K62-65_DigitalNation.indd 64 19/3/09 14:53:37
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