Although hits by The Prodigy like „Firestarter“, „Smack My Bitch Up“ and „Omen“ rely on drum & bass typical breakbeats, they move at a tempo between 130 and 140 BPM. For our big beat track, we create a new project at 136 BPM. We‘ll start with the groove. The XLN Audio XO plug-in comes with a suitable preset called „Detonator“.
2 Voodoo beats
So that we can change the groove in the DAW, we export the beat in the form of MIDI data. The bass drum plays on eighth-note beats 1 and 4 and the snare on 3 and 8. By playing snare beats more softly (ghost notes) on sixteenth-note beats 8, 10, 11, 12 and 14, we give our pattern the breakbeat-typical character.
3 Drive and dirt
The hi-hat provides the desired drive by interspersing sixteenth-note bursts. The beat is given more punch by parallel compression with the Goodhertz Vulf Compressor plug-in, which is ideal for giving drums a dirtier sound. Programmed beats like this can sound livelier by layering with drum loops.
We use a beat from the „Loopmasters Dread Recordings Vol 1: Titan“ sample package. To adapt the 174 BPM loop to the project tempo as artifact-free as possible, the REX2 format is suitable. So that the beat also fits rhythmically to the programmed groove, we shift the slices accordingly.
5 Bass 1
Layering is also the order of the day for the bass. Here we combine two sounds from the Model 1978 soundset. To do this, load Zampler// RX in your DAW and then click on Load Bank. Now select the file „Zampler Model 1978.fxb“. For a driving bassline we use patch 005: BS Degraded. Deactivate the arpeggiator, as well as the delay effect.
6 Bass 2
For a more mid-range and present sound, we run the bass through the d16 Devastor 2 distortion plug-in. The bassline shown here provides a driving groove in combination with the beat. Preset 014: BS Jimminy is used as a supporting second bass. In the eight-bar pattern, the first quarter note is always emphasized.
7 Lead sound
Furthermore, the bass plays every other quarter note in every odd bar, as well as on the last eighth note of the third bar. The Prodigy like to use screeching lead sounds to loosen up grooves. Preset 034: LD Let Loose provides a good foundation for this. First, we activate the Mono playback mode.
8 Smack my pitch up
Also, set the Pitch Bend intensity (Bend Up / Down) to 12. Furthermore, make the assignments shown in rows 5 and 7 of the Modulation Matrix. We increase the Rate of LFO 2 to 8.0 Hz. Play held notes with this sound, making use of the Pitchbend control. Aftertouch controls the vibrato
The NI Replika XT and IK Multimedia TR5 CSR reverb effects add more spatiality to the sound. Now, how about a striking riff? For this task, we bring Patch 029: LD Guitar Hero into play and reduce the Glide value to 38%. The riff shown here, with vibrato on the longer notes, only really sounds spacious with a delay.
10 Funky shit
NI Replika X delivers a hypnotic pingpong delay with a dotted eighth note as the delay time. Want some organic accents? For this purpose, we‘ll use a few instrument loops from the Freshtone „Lost Tapes“ series of sample packs . For example, a wah-wah guitar riff with muted notes adds a touch of funk.
11 Lead sound 2
We automatically adjust the tempo of the loop to the project tempo using Cubase‘s Time Stretching feature. We also add a Wah-Wah lick, transposing it so that it harmonizes with our bass line. In the break of the track, the lead sound 045: LD Sober sets the chord changes. The sound in our riff follows this.
12 Break variety
Individual notes in the riff are highlighted by patch 06 LD Retrologic, for which we activate Mono mode. Preset 07 PD Flashing, on the other hand, creates accents with pulsating sustained notes. We increase the Attack time of the volume envelope to 85% and activate the Zampler//RX reverb effect for an atmospheric sound.
13 The drop
The break transitions into a driving part. Here, the established bass sound 014: BS Jimminy also follows the chord changes. We replace our first bass sound 005: BS Degraded with another sound that plays a bassline with distinctive pitch bends. Load the preset 016: BS Metropolis and deactivate the Mono playback mode.
Set each Bend value to 12 and reduce Cutoff to 50% and Reso to 0% for a muddier sound. Also, reduce the modulation intensity of the first entry in the matrix to 0, so that the velocity does not affect the filter frequency. The eight-bar bass line shown sounds very dynamic, especially with the pitch bends.
With a shaker loop from the Freshtone library, the final part of the track also increases rhythmically. Additional spice is provided using targeted vocal samples from Singomakers and Native Instruments. The shouts „Hey, hey, hey“ evoke memories of The Prodigy‘s „Firestarter“. We wish you continued fun with „fire starting“!
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