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Sluggish hi-hats and the thickest bass

Deconstructed: Boris Brejcha - Sad but true

Published 10:00 am on Wednesday 28th April 2021 by Beat Magazine

1 The four elements

We roughly divide the groove recipe of his track “Sad but true” into four elements: a crisp kick, sluggish hi-hats (in a positive sense), a whipping snare and a simple but lively grooving bassline. We‘ll program all four and start with a relatively shallow drum kit from Acidlab‘s 808 clone Miami.

2 Sluggish hi-hat

The Miami_BD1.wav comes on every quarter, Miami_Snare3.wav on every second. The Miami_Ohh1.wav comes into the off, but already with a special feature of Boris: it is pushed forward by 1/64. To do this, we set the attack to 130 ms, with which the hi-hat starts to drag pleasantly. We also load a 1/8 delay and mix it in quietly.

3 Crisp kick

Briefly back to the kick: It lacks a bit of punch. So let‘s put it back into the sampler, where we activate a pitch envelope, with decay at around 90 ms and an intensity of seven semitones. And all of a sudden it’s cracking nicely. By the way, this also works wonderfully for percussion, especially with a slightly turned up attack. Let‘s continue with the snare.

4 Whipping snare

This one sounds true to 808, so it‘s subtle and shallow. In the sampler, we move the start point of the sample back by about 100 ms. The snare then starts directly with the noise floor. Using the high-pass filter at 1.6 kHz, we add bite. So let’s go to the bassline. We know from an interview with Boris that the FabFilter One is his to-go synth.

5 Bassline

Alternatively, the freeware synth Tyrell Nexus 6 will also do, although the One delivers more punch in a direct comparison. With the Tyrell, it is therefore advisable to add a tape saturator or minimal distortion. An essential element of Boris‘ basslines are square waveforms with pulse width modulation. They ensure the lively overall picture.

6 Bass design

So we choose the appropriate waveform, turn CUTOFF to 11 o‘clock for a bassier sound and PEAK to 12 o‘clock for more fullness. For minimal filter movement, we set MG for FILTER MODULATION to 8 o‘clock and EG to 11 o‘clock. As with the hi-hat before, according to Boris’ style we move a note back 1/64 here and there on the bassline.


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