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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Jan 18 > HOUSE & TECHNO PERCUSSION IN LOGIC PRO X


Percussion has long been an essential part of house and techno, but how can you go beyond a simple bongo loop? Alex Holmes joins the drum circle…

Because house, techno and its many variants are based on a simple 4/4 kick, it allows plenty of space to be playful using additional percussion to build up more intricate grooves. There are no hard and fast rules, but at its most basic level, the emphasis in house tends to centre around the off-beat hat, with more familiar, live-sounding percussion loops. In contrast, techno is often more electronic, industrial and experimental, with more use of syncopation and short, hypnotic loops.

Whatever the genre, though, the first thing to consider is whether you’re going to program in your pattern or use a loop. Although individual sample or synth hits can provide easier control over placement, velocities and envelopes, using a wellperformed percussion loop will give you natural details and variations that can help make a beat feel more organic and alive. If you can, it’s a good idea to try and perform your hits in live, using a controller, and if you’re going for sparser, larger sounds such as toms or conga hits, then try and place these in the spaces around your other drum elements.


Using loops doesn’t have to be a drag, drop and forget experience. If you like the sound of a certain loop, but the placement is wrong, try simply shifting the loop left or right in 16th- or 8th-note increments to get a completely different feel. If the beat is sounding too cluttered, then chop out and mute individual hits, especially those that are clashing with your other drums and getting lost. You could also try rearranging regions, copying and pasting, and using different sections or loops for the end of the 4th or 8th bars to build up longer patterns.

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About MusicTech

2017 has been an exciting, innovative year for new music-making technology, from machine-learning plug-ins to laser-guided microphones and from scientifically crafted, point-source monitors to boutique synthesisers, the past 12 months has offered up new variations on classic gear and inventive new creative tools for making and recording music. We pay tribute to the best gear of the year in our roundup, with our winners compiled by a fusion of reader votes and our expert panel. Elsewhere this issue, we have the second part of our new A-Z series with Gear4Music, chat to MPG Award-winning mastering engineer Mandy Parnell and Grammy-winning producer and engineer Mark Rankin, and cast of our eye to the future with tutorial content in the latest iterations of Live and Reason. Additionally, you’ll find all the latest reviews from the likes of Toontrack, Dynaudio, Sonokinetic and more.It's been an excellent year for the music-technology industry, and MusicTech as a magazine. Here’s hoping 2018 will be equally as fruitful… enjoy the issue.