NEW WAVE ELECTRONIC MUSIC

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MUSIC HAS ALWAYS HAD IT'S CUTTING EDGE ~ A STYLE OR FORM IN WHICH ARTISTS ARE CONSTANTLY EXPERIMENTING. TODAY, THIS ENERGY AND INNOVATION IS FOUND IN WHAT IS BROADLY KNOWN AS 'DANCE MUSIC,' AND IT IS EVOLVING AT AN OUTSTANDING RATE! PARTICULARLY POPULAR IN EUROPE, PROGRESSIVE ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC IS A PREEMINENT FORCE IN DEFINING THE NEW MUSICAL STYLES THAT WE WILL BE HEARING INTO THE NEW CENTURY.

DANCE MUSIC IS CREATED PRIMARILY WITH ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. THIS FEEDS THE EXPERIMENTAL NATURE OF THIS MUSICAL FORM BY OFFERING AN UNLIMITED SONIC PALETTE, AND ALLOWS FOR EXTENSIVE EXPLORATION IN THE AREAS OF TEXTURES, SOUNDS AND TECHNIQUES. WHAT WAS ONCE LABELED AS 'MACHINE MUSIC' IS NOW INCREASINGLY BECOMING 'HUMAN,' AS TALENTED PIONEERS FIND NEW WAYS OF MASKING THE GEAR GROOVE, AND MUSICIANS DISCOVER HOW TO TAKE THEIR OWN INSTRUMENTS TO NEW HEIGHTS.

IN AMERICA AS WELL AS IN EUROPE, DANCE MUSIC IS CONSTANTLY GROWING. SUDDENLY DJs AND ELECTRONIC MUSIC ARTISTS ARE FINDING NEW PLACES TO BREATHE LIFE INTO THIS BURGEONING MUSICAL AND CULTURAL SCENE. IN THIS ARTICLE I'M GOING TO DISCUSS SOME OF THE TECNIQUES I'VE PERSONALLY FOUND IN CREATING FAT GROOVES AND ATMOSPHERES THAT SOUND GREAT,.. AND JUST AS IMPORTANT, REALLY MAKE PEOPLE JUMP AROUND.

BEFORE SOUNDS AND PATTERNS, THE MOST IMPORTANT CONCEPT IN DANCE MUSIC IS THE TEMPO! MORE THAN ANY OTHER TYPE OF MUSIC, THE SPECIFIC STYLE YOU ARE WORKING TOWARD (FROM 'TRANCE' TO 'JUNGLE' TO 'TRIP HOP') HAS SPECIFIC TEMPOS ASSOCIATED WITH IT. FOR EXAMPLE A TYPICAL TRANCE TRACK MAY RANGE FROM 120 TO 150 BEATS PER MINUTE (BPM). ACID TRACKS ARE USUALLY A BIT FASTER, ABOUT 150 TO 165 BPM. JUNGLE GOES A BIT FASTER AGAIN AT 160 TO 180,.. AND UP. FINALLY ~ WHEN YOU'RE DOING HARD-CORE GABBER, THEN TEMPO SCREAMS ALONG AT 200+ BPM (OR AS FAST AS YOUR SEQUENCER CAN GO --- OR UNTIL YOUR HEAD EXPLODES)!

HEADING IN THE OTHER DIRECTION ~ HOUSE TRACKS ARE IN THE AREA OF 110 TO 120 BPM. AT THE LOWEST END OF THE SCALE, WE HAVE HIP HOP, TRIP HOP AND AMBIENT, WHICH HAPPEN AROUND 105 DOWN TO ABOUT 60 ~ OR EVEN NO TEMPO AT ALL IN THE CASE OF AMBIENT. EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT GOING FOR A SPECIFIC STYLE, YOU MIGHT USE SOME OF THESE NUMBERS AS A REFERENCE FOR WHAT KIND OF ENERGY YOU WANT TO PUT IN YOUR MUSIC TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS.

EVEN THOUGH I DON'T ALWAYS USE A BEAT TO BEGIN MY COMPOSING, FOR OUR PURPOSE I'LL START FROM THE BOTTOM UP. HERE'S WHERE WE GET INTO SAMPLES. AS YOU MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW, A SAMPLER HAS THE CAPACITY TO STORE LONG SOUNDS FROM ANY RECORDABLE SOURCE AND PLAY THEM BACK IN VARIOUS ALTERED OR UNALTERED STATES. IT PROVIDES THE BASIC BUILDING BLOCKS TO AUGMENT YOUR SYNTH SETUP WITH,.. WELL, BEAT LOOPS, ATMOSPHERIC SOUNDS, VOCALS, SOUND EFFECTS, YOU NAME IT. IF YOU'RE HAVING A LITTLE TROUBLE GETTING YOUR OWN SAMPLES, AS A SPECIAL BONUS ... EUROPEAN SOUND HACKS HAVE A TASTE FOR ALL THINGS FUNKY --- AND THERE's PLENTY TO DRAW FROM.

BEAT LOOPS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR DANCE MUSIC. THEY ADD THE GREASE THAT OILS THE WHOLE TRACK INTO A SMOOTH RUNNING DEVICE. RE-TRIGGER YOUR FAVORITE FUNKY BEAT ON THE DOWN BEAT OF EACH BAR OR CUT UP THE BEATS AND TRIGGER THEM IN A SYNCOPATED FASHION, AS IS COMMON IN THE JUNGLE STYLE.

ONE COMMON TRICK IS TO TRIGGER THE BEAT FIRST ON THE ONE AND THEN AGAIN ON THE "END" OF TWO. UNFORTUNATELY, SOMETIMES THE TEMPO OF YOUR BEAT LOOP IS NOT MATCHED TO THE TEMPO OF YOUR TUNE. FORTUNATELY, THERE ARE WAYS TO COMBAT THIS PROBLEM. EACH SAMPLE CAN HAVE IT'S OWN BPM VALUE AND A MASTER BPM CAN BE SET FOR THE UNIT. NOW ALL SAMPLES CAN LOCK TO YOUR TEMPO. NATURAL AMBIENCE SAMPLES IMPART A GREAT ENVIRONMENT TO YOUR TRACK AND CAN CREATE A SPACE FROM WHICH THE TRACK CAN GROW. WHEN USED IN INTROS AND BREAKDOWNS, YOU'RE INSTANTLY TRANSPORTED INTO THE AMAZON, OR A FOREST AT NIGHT, OR TO THE SEA SHORE,...

... TRAVEL MUSIC! YOU CAN PUT YOUR LISTENERS INTO THE HURRICANE WHILE YOU STAY SAFELY IN ITS CENTER.

CREATING A DANCE TRACK IS NO SMALL TASK, BUT A WELL-PLANNED EVOLUTION THAT CAN GIVE THE DANCER A GREAT RIDE.

SINCE THESE GENRES HAVE NO BOUNDARIES (AND THAT'S THE MOST LIBERATING ASPECT OF THESE FORMS OF MUSIC). PUSH YOUR IMADJINNATION TO THE LIMIT. ALSO, REMEMBER THAT EVEN THOUGH THE EQUIPMENT TODAY LETS ONE PERSON RUN THE WHOLE SHOW, IT'S A GREAT IDEA TO GET FEEDBACK OR COLLABORATE WITH OTHER PEOPLE. BOUNCE IDEAS OFF ONE ANOTHER; TWO HEADS ARE OFTEN BETTER THAN ONE. WHETHER YOU'RE USING OLD OR NEW EQUIPMENT IS REALLY NOT THE ISSUE ~ THERE ARE HIDDEN SECRETS IN EVERY BOX. HOWEVER, HAVING SAID THAT, I'M REALLY HAVING FUN WITH MY ROLAND JV-30 KEYBOARD, ROLAND JV 1080 VOICE MODULE, AKAI S-2000 SAMPLER, MY SOUNDCRAFT MIXER AND MY COMPUTER WITH CAKEWALK ALL THE WAY,... SO, HEY! .... LET'S TAKE THIS SHOW ON THE ROAD!

SEE YA AT THE RAVE !!


The author, Sandy Bose, is featured on this gazette (see "Contents" page)