Friday, December 19, 2008

When Beat-Slicing Goes Wrong

For nearly 15 years (holy crap, can it be that long?!), Propellerhead's REX (and subsequent REX 2) format has been the industry standard for chopping up drum loops. The files, created in the company's ReCycle software automatically detects attack transients in a sound file and uses that as the basis for cutting the loop up into its individual hits. It can also automatically create a MIDI file for you to import into your DAW of choice to play the sliced loop back perfectly. As you might imagine, this MIDI data is totally editable, which means you can edit and twist the beats into totally new variations that nature never intended.

What's cool about this, is that the MIDI file is in no way 'married' to the original beat. So one method of coming up with interesting 'happy accidents' is to use the MIDI file from one beat, to trigger the slices of a completely different beat. The results are totally unpredictable, so it takes a lot of trial and error before you're likely to find something that works well, but that's half the fun. Have a go at it, and you might come up with a killer new loop that inspires you to finish that track you've been putting off finishing.


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