▶ I made a Drum’N’Bass song

In my advanced Music Tech course, I like to make the projects along with the students so we can have a collaborative learning experience. Every time I re-do a project with these kids I end up learning something new and it’s fun to share it with them – students can really tell when you’re genuinely excited about something new, and this type of teacher energy is to me much more authentic than giving the same canned inspirational speech each go around.

Anyway, the main things we explored were sampling breaks and creating the Reese bass instrument.

I called it “Peanut Butter Cup” due to the abuse of the Reese bass sound. I’d love to hear some feedback on how to make it better:

Here’s what my tracks and clips looked like in session view:


Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 7.38.25 PM


In outline form, here’s what’s going on:

  1. Drum Group
    1. “2 Audio” – these are sampled funk breaks
    2. “02 Funky D” – a “sliced to MIDI” version of the funky drummer, for playing on the Launchpad
    3. “Drum Rack” – some stronger/layered snare and bass on a drum rack.
  2. Synths Group
    1. “Reese Bass” – an Operator instrument imitating the classic detuned saw waves of “Terrorist” by Master Reese.
    2. “133989_2” – A Simpler containing an air raid siren from freesound.org
    3. “VES2 Synt” – A Simpler containing a canned sample from some CD I had
  3. SFX Group
    1. Various canned uplifters, impacts and a Jamaican guy because it’s DnB



iPad music apps: Korg iElectribe

Hello faithful readers who have saved willkuhn.com on your RSS feed reader. I am back. I have come down from the mountaintop, and in my hand I hold an amazing tablet. But let’s skip all the magic and head right over to the music apps.

For my first look at an iPad music app I’ll take a look at Korg’s iElectribe drum machine, a faithful recreation of their Electribe drum machine of not-so-many years past.

So we have the standard 16 switches for timing, eight sound bank slots, a “transport” area, and a pretty sophisticated effects area.

The “browser” button takes you to the preset sound banks, which do not appear to be editable, and also shows you the preloaded beats, which are of course editable. I wish that Korg would have make the INIT patches a little more accessible than throwing them down all the way at the bottom of this list, but at least there are many blank slots to mess with.

What sets this drum machine apart from many other iPhone/iPad 808-alikes is its ability to record knob turns in realtime. Simply hit the record button, and along with saving all of your pad triggers (and doing some auto-quantizing magic) it will auto-record every knob you turn in the effect section as well. This has its pros and cons, however, as it can be frustrating to think you’re changing the effect, only to have it change back on the next loop through. Once you realize what’s happening, it’s easy to fix, but the effect can be a bit jarring.

The last problem with this app is its inability to export the great sounding drum loops it creates. There is simply no way to get a wav or aiff or anything out of this app outside of hooking it to a line-in jack on something else, which kind of devalues the possibility of using the iPad as a standalone music making device. I’d love to dream up some loops in iElectribe and then export them to Looptastic (more on Looptastic later).

EDIT: a new version of iElectribe allows loop and performance exporting via iTunes file sharing. Woo hoo!

Try it out for yourself on the App Store: Korg iElectribe ($9.99)