Looking for advice at composing glitch-hop tracks

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Looking for advice at composing glitch-hop tracks

Postby hipsterponyravenhorn » 17 Sep 2015 03:05

Hi, I've been a long time admirer of Pony music, and have always wanted to break into it myself. But I could never find anything that I could really latch onto in regards of genre that I wanted to try to break into, something that had been advised to me in the past. Now I have some composition knowledge, having taken college level music theory courses, and I have plenty of editing experience. However, I still find it extremely hard to produce music, especially the genre that I really want to break into Glitch-hop. I'm having a really hard time understanding how to work with this music, so any help would be appreciated. I'm sorry if this was ramblely, writing this was extremely nerve wrecking for me, since I sometimes worry that I'm wasting people's time when I ask these things. Thank you in advance.
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Re: Looking for advice at composing glitch-hop tracks

Postby ExoBassTix » 17 Sep 2015 05:30

Hey there hprh! Welcome to MLR :)

I can't really say I have much in-depth experience with the 'standards' of the Glitch-Hop genre, but I can still help get you on your route to discovery. You weren't very precise on what part of producing Glitch-Hop is hard for you, so I'm gonna go ahead and assume you meant most everything in general. This tip should apply to anything you're struggling with.

Listen to some of your favorite tracks, and start dissecting them, analyzing them, and seeing why certain elements sound so good. Try to mimic it, practice ways to get close to what they did, see how you can build from that, improvise and find new ways to develop your thing from what they did.

See for yourself if this works for you :)
And really, don't worry about wasting our time. A large part of the purpose of this forum is people helping people learn about music, and the production thereof. I won't sugarcoat that this place has grown into quite the close-knit group that mostly socialize together and share music and stuff in inner circles, but we're still a friendly bunch of people at the core, most of us willing to help out in any case, when they can.

Also, if you're planning to hang around, I suggest you introduce yourself over at the Introduction Thread so we can get to know you?
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Re: Looking for advice at composing glitch-hop tracks

Postby Viricide Filly » 30 Sep 2015 07:07

I've been producing glitch hop among other genres for quite a while now.
I think it's best to ask what kind of glitch hop you want. Do you want the oldschool early 2000s hip-hop + glitch like Prefuse 73, or do you want to make stuff like Mr. Bill, KOAN sound etc, with the only "hip-hop" part being the tempo and the slightly swingy drumbeats in some tracks?

If it's the former, you'll want to start with a solid catchy beat, and probably a bunch of samples that fit together. Then you'll want to glitch and chop the heck out of it all, but not beyond recognition. I mean, basically listen to hip-hop, and then glitch, then combine the two. But this kinda stuff is WAY different from the stuff kids nowadays call glitch hop.

If it's the latter then it's a bit more in-depth and stuff. You'll really need a proper DAW to work in (for the purposes of this explanation I'll be referencing FL Studio, alongside the NI Massive, Harmor etc plugins) and pretty decent drum samples. I use rhythm lab vinyl drumkit samples personally, but everyone loves to start with Vengeance samples which in my opinion suck, but hey, who am I to judge a lack of exploration?
Modern glitch hop is all about the catchiness and the hook, IMO. You'll need an intro that grabs the listener's attention, whether it be from a bad-ass bass line, a catchy melody, or some otherworldly sound or pad that fades in along to an arp that changes with each bar. You'll really need to have some unique sounds in there or else you won't get very far, with people tossing words at you such as "generic" or "le Nexus presets!!!" (Which are valid criticisms really)
You'll need a decent idea. Personally, I always start with a drum loop and a bass-line or a hook, then build the song around that. I always like to build how the drop sounds in my head, stuff like "BM wawa PCCHH vrrroorp BM wawa PCHH vra vra" etc. Also, as a small tip to help save time and cut some corners, if you're using FL, check the pattern window, there should be a bar thing at the top right with a slider that says "swing". Put that baby exactly halfway up and make a simple drum-loop (not in the piano roll though) and watch the magic happen.

By the way, you won't get ANYWHERE without inspirations tbh. I refuse to believe anyone made their magnum opus without even looking at other tracks in exemplar. It doesn't happen. Ever. Your track will sound bland and uninspired. I find that thoughts such as "Okay so I want a really dirty sounding bass, really gritty. I know that the artists Mouldy Soul and Savant have some tracks with bass like I want, so I'll give their stuff a listen to prepare for my own track" can really help.

Watching tutorials on plugins such as Harmor and Massive (If you really want I can piece together some kind of tut on image line's Harmor since it's my favourite VST) tends to help. If you have a solid idea on what you want your sound to be like but don't know how to use the programs, you're gonna get frustrated and then give up. Lots of people also recommend FM Synthesis for glitch hop sounds, so plugins like Sytrus and FM8 can help there (but I don't really know how to use those yet)

You need a decent structure. Imagine a track that's a cool intro, but then teeters off into this drop that goes on and on for two minutes. Yawn. Decent track structures can imply things like Intro, Drop, Bridge, Drop, Outro, or stuff like that. Have high points (think of crescendos in classical music. Climactic drops in glitch hop tend to really pump people up) and low, soft points, like calms before the storm. Or if you like, have the track be a banger the whole way through, but for that, you'll need something really catchy so it doesn't bore people. Repetition is good if there is something worth being repeated.

I'm sure EVERYTHING I just said was confusing and awful, but eh. I tried :D

Hope this helps!
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Re: Looking for advice at composing glitch-hop tracks

Postby hipsterponyravenhorn » 07 Oct 2015 05:28

Thank you so much for the help! It's really informative. I am looking more towards the latter example you were mentioning, though the former also sounds really appealing. I'm also wondering if you can point me in the way of some good artists to listen to and study. So far part of my problem with studying glitch hop has been I've only been able to find compilations and rarely individual songs, since most of the compilation videos rarely share the songs along side them. As for DAWs and Plugins, I have FL Studio, and I think I have an old version of Massive that a friend acquired for me, but I feel really guilty using it. Thank you so much for being so helpful!
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Re: Looking for advice at composing glitch-hop tracks

Postby Viricide Filly » 07 Oct 2015 05:51

Check out Mr Bill, CloZee, KOAN sound, Otist Reading, some of Savant's stuff is glitch hop (Starfish is a pretty good track)
And you can check out channels like glitchhopcommunity, GlitchGroove and Funky Panda.
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