Back by popular demand, Astrophonica label owner DJ Fracture returns with a brand new course for Native Instrument’s Maschine, uncovering the secrets behind producing his distinctive style of Drum & Bass Production. Focussing mainly on the hardware, the tutorials go through the creation of each rhythmic and melodic part within a track, using a range of pad modes and techniques, before concluding with lessons that focus on the newer aspects of the Maschine version 2 software, like the drum synth and mixer section.
With production expertise that spans the last 13 years, having released on renowned labels like Metalheadz, Hospital and Droppin’ Science, and having a passion for teaching and sharing knowledge, DJ Fracture has proven to be a welcome addition to the skilled team of Producertech tutors. As a follow up to his hugely inspiring Ableton Live course from last year, this latest endeavour into the world of online learning focuses on one of the more recent additions to his studio, Maschine.
In the first few lengthy lessons, Fracture focuses on the main elements of the track, demonstrating how the all important groove is constructed. Using a combination of step sequencing and playing live, patterns are developed, and sounds are carefully mixed and processed, with every action being carried out from the hardware control surface. After the main break is made from layered and compressed samples, sliced and resequenced loops, and sub and tops layers, catchy elements like pitched percussion and musical pad phrases are added to the arrangement, helping create a cohesive flow and add interest and originality to the track.
Once the bulk of the arrangement has been laid out, almost entirely without the use of the mouse, Fracture moves over to the software, taking a look at some of the newer features in Maschine version 2, such as how to beef up drums with the Drum Synth and numerous techniques for refining and polishing the mix. As with all Producertech courses, the final project made throughout the lessons is supplied as a download, along with 200MB of additional rude Drum and Bass samples from the extensive Loopmasters collection.
Track produced on the course
1. Creating the Beats
Fracture begins by showing how a fat DnB break is made, first by step sequencing and playing in sounds from a Maschine kit to create the main rhythm, and then embellishing the pattern with an additional group, containing a sliced and resequenced loop. Drums are processed individually and together to help beef up and unify the break.
2. Creating the Bass Part
The main bassline is created, by slicing a loop and then programming a new pattern, which is then processed with various effects, to produce the sub group. Two additional upper bass layer groups are then made, which are modulated with envelopes and different send effects to create two contrasting main groove sections.
3. Building the Arrangement
Taking the basic building blocks made in the previous 2 lessons, Fracture begins to lay out the track, starting by making a 16-bar section in the Scenes area. Patterns are duplicated and edited, and various automation applied to create interludes and turnarounds. Additional percussion parts are then applied to the next 16-bar section, to create more movement and interest, as well as a mini sub bass impact effect.
4. Making an Intro and Breakdown
Melodic parts such as pads and leads are created and programmed, then developed and woven with new drum patterns to form intro and breakdown sections, which are edited and processed with different insert and send effects.
5. Adding SFX
Numerous sound effects are added to the arrangement, to create atmosphere, smooth transitions, build tension, apply emphasis, fill out the mix and unify the track.
6. Fattening up the drums with Drum Synth
Fracture uses multiple instances of Drum Synth to layer up all the main drums, creating a much fuller sound.
7. Mixing and Mastering the Track
The new mixer section in Maschine version 2 is utilised in full as Fracture demonstrates pro tips for refining and tweaking the mix, including balancing, fine tuning compressors, EQs and other effects, then processing the output bus to create the final mastered track.
SAMPLE MODULE – Excerpt from Module 7 on Mixing. This movie is the first half of lesson 2 on creating beats.