002 – breaking things

In my mind, one of the primary ways electronic production sets itself apart from acoustic writing is the glutton of choice and possibility when it comes to destroying sounds. I also use certain effects in a way that maybe wasn’t intended. In future posts, I will go into effect and plugin specific techniques, but for now, this will be a brief look at a few of my methods.

The effects can also be added on top of each other in a more subtle way, by using only a little amount of wet signal, bouncing the audio out, and processing again. But that also takes far too much time to be included in a regular workflow.

A simple way to create some noticeable grit and pique some interest is with Ableton’s Warping Modes. This effect can again be consolidated and broken up again. But even without consolidating, it’s still a strong way to break up sounds and change them into something completely different. Simply by changing the bpm by a large amount, and scrolling through the warp modes, adjusting the parameters to extremes will often leave you with a result entirely different from the initial sound. The bpm can be returned to the original later if desired but make sure to consolidate beforehand. This effect is not nearly as powerful when the clip is played back at or very near the original speed.

One effects chain I go back to again and again is made with various instances of a complex delay device, often Hysteresis or Convex from Glitch Machines. This is a great way to add subtle or very apparent glitches and artifacts to a sound, and a great way to fill and spread out a track. A key here is to have a different effect panned hard to each side. This can be a subtle difference or an entirely different patch, it depends on the sound I want and what the track needs. This can be intensive on CPU resources, but with Ableton’s ability to save entire tracks as files, it’s very easy to work around. The processed audio can be flattened and the original track can be saved so adjustments can be made later in the process.

One last thought for this week. Using an analog-modelled delay can create some interesting pitch shifts when the feedback time is adjusted in real time. This is useful for calling attention to sounds echoing out, or simply adding a further dimension into the mix.

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