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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Logic PRO 2018 > Dance music build-ups

Dance music build-ups

Logic has a treasure trove of tools to help you get creative with your audio, and where better to put them to use than in the creation of an epic dance music build-up? Alex Holmes prepares to drop…

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With so many people all using the same tools to create electronic music, it’s becoming harder and harder to stand out from the crowd, which is why creativity is your greatest weapon. Whether subtle or extreme, most modern club music favours some form of breakdown, build-up and drop, and it’s here you can let your creativity shine. These sections are often freed from having to fill the frequency spectrum, or from needing a solid, heavy groove to keep people dancing, so you can experiment with extreme processing techniques and rhythmic or melodic tricks. In some cases, DJs will even add further washes of delays and other effects to these sections when they play out, to help whip the crowd into more of a frenzy. Luckily, Logic has a wealth of high-quality native plug-ins and processes that can offer up near-limitless possibilities to the creative mind.


Although not a hard-and-fast rule, you’ll ideally want to have the foundation of your beat, instruments and main hooks in place before working on the build-up section. That way, you can think more carefully about how you can tease or warp certain elements ahead of introducing them in full. The style and genre of your track will have a large bearing on how dynamic you go with your build-up, and will subsequently dictate how far you can stray from what’s come before. Also, the language of standard dance music suggests your biggest drop down or build should occur approximately two-thirds of the way through your track. You might have a similar build-up earlier on, but the main build-up may introduce extra elements on the second drop, or perhaps break down to something more sparse midway through the track, to give the listeners a breather. There are no rules, so build up your track where you like! Space and silence can be incredibly powerful when used well, and it’s much easier to feel a crescendo when you’ve got more distance to travel from the quietest to the loudest part of a track. Most build-ups will play with the listener by holding off providing the full drum or bass riffs, and you’ll probably want to reduce the sub and/or high frequency content just before the drop to help deliver impact when a track kicks in.

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