Being a huge big room, electro and progressive house fan, I love finding patterns and themes in tracks To the unfamiliar ear, most songs of Big Room and house in general sound same – an intro, the rising action, the break and THE DROPPP 🙂 (it’s become all we listen to nowadays, seriously). Rinse. Shower. Repeat(rather Eat Sleep Rave Repeat 😉 )for producers , DJs and fans alike.
But all drops are different. Whether they are unusually long – Higher Places – Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike (Bassjackers Remix), minimal – Akufen – Skidoos and Coldplay – Fix It(Datsik Remix), meta and self-referential drops – [Drop It Like Drop It Like Drop It] Like That – Bassjackers or even every single siren-swept Martin Garrix drop, each drop has infused in it, the style of the producer which unfortunately leads many to think that all, say Armin van Buuren songs are the same. . I think that while exploring new genres and artists in in EDM, consistency in terms of song structure is by no means the only criterion and a crowd-satisfying and assured euphoric drop is definitely something producers need to always keep in mind. In the below video, DJs Mashd N Kutcher, bored of playing drop after drop(really? how is that even possible?), to see crowds going crazy regardless of whether they liked the song or not, … well, I’ll let you see it.
I can really feel the frustration and crushed hearts after that underhand swap-out. I mean they’ve paid for a rave and their night has literally just been ruined.
Anyway, I digressed a bit over there. Being a huge +X fan, I had this intriguing idea of swapping drops among songs. After surfing on YouTube, I found several people who’ve done something similar – play several of Martijn’s songs together, aligned drop-wise.
A cursory listening makes it look like the drops are swappable, but the basslines would sound weird, the style unnatural, and moreover a rude shock. All of them playing together sounds like a mess. Even if it showed the futility of such an action, at least we confirmed that consistency and repetition in sounds are still cornerstones of a great house track.
A few other observations, if I may. Many Big Room and Electro House tracks have this 8 or 16 bar synth variation after the intro, followed by a 8 bar bridge usually with the low pass filter opened way up. This seems to help in filling up the sound spectrum and to prepare for the drop. The bridge is also the time for a siren or wobble bass to be slowly introduced that serves as a complement to the bassline after the drop. In several “In The Studio” videos, such as those by Future Music and the like, producers comment that using particular EQing techniques and other quality improving effects and specific sample packs such as Vengeance for this purpose keeps the recording from becoming too loose and from disintegrating in the ears of listeners.
Another thing producers have been doing is creating a short section of their signature loop or an effect which they use in every song. This helps in standing out from the arguably crowded community of producers. It’s often a very enticing hook, such as a few synth blasts, wobble basses, air horns, repeated snare rolls, or even just a chant. I find that these characteristic riffs work wonders in pulling new listeners and in retaining old followers. This often results in the branding of a track and a style of producing.
I hope you learned something new, got some food for thought and started appreciating this splendid genre more!
Cheerio and as always, keep “Getting Your, Getting Your Hands Up”!
The endless classification debate rages on…(Seattle EDM on Pinterest, retrieved from http://www.pinterest.com/pin/573364596280631530/)
Mau5heads rock! (quickmeme, retrieved from http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/352xhy)