Power Tool Percussion

Today I decided to record my electric drill. It was on a list of “things i need to record”. Power tools make some great sounds with all sorts of textures and frequencies. I captured the sound of the drill in stereo at a variety of speeds. I also got the sound of switching the drill from forward to reverse. Afterward I chopped it up into a percussive loop and ran it through beat repeat to get a nice mechanical loop going.

Beat repeat has pitch decay setting that incrementally lowers the pitch of repeated slices, which you can hear in the piece. I also maximized the chance settings to increase the likelihood of repeats happening and the variation setting to vary the length of the slices used in the repetition.

Power Tool Percussion

Hybridized Beat Repeat

In my last post I explained how I rein in random processing behaviors to get the results I’m after. A good processor for randomizing audio is Ableton Live’s Beat Repeat. Beat Repeat effortlessly duplicates the once tedious process of repeating small chunks of a sample to get stuttering effects, but also has parameters to randomize the repetitions in a variety of ways.

For the Rhodes solo in “Six Weeks” I wanted to scramble my performance in some way to match the “broken” drum programming. Beat Repeat was the ticket, but I couldn’t get a complete take that fit well with the rest of the piece. If you look at the image you can see that the solo is made up of fifteen separate regions of audio. These are all abstracted from specific renders of the performance through Beat Repeat. After rendering the audio several times I selected specific phrases and organized them in a way that enhanced the dynamics of the piece, creating a hybrid. Listen to the solo by itself and then to hear it in context play the full track at 2:54.

Six Weeks (solo) – Hybrid Beat Repeat Solo

Six Weeks (full track) – One Day to Save All Life