While i was preparing this post i was looking for a way to visualize the waveform and add some sort of indication or markers to identify the different parts in the song.
My first idea was to take a screenshot of the waveform and use Gimp to add a couple of lines and some text, similar to the way Soundcloud lets you to add comments to a song as you are listening to it.
I could actually use Soundcloud to do this -and it would simplify things for you guys-, but since it's not my own work this could potentially get me into trouble (yes i know that chances are very very small, but you never know)
Exit Soundcloud, back to to Gimp.
While i was preparing to go the Gimp way i started up Audacity, loaded the song, started playing around with markers and accidentally discovered the 'label track' option.
A 'label track' is a non-audio track that lets you add comments at a specific moment in time, and also allows you to define a time range and give it a name : brilliant !
The result :
2) divide and conquer
If you listen to the song a couple of times, you will hear that there is a nice buildup an you can roughly split up the song into 7 parts:
3) intro breakdown
In the image below i have added markers for all 'events' that occur in the intro:
4) intro drum loop
The arp is the first thing we hear in the intro, but since arps are tempo synced to the beat, i decided to start with the drums.
For the drums we have been using Hydrogen for quite a while so this should be fairly easy to do : select the drum samples that sound right (i usually end up picking samples from several drumkits and layer them on top of each other) and create the loop.
Note: One thing to keep in mind here is that we will be performing this song live so our drummer will either be playing along with the drumtrack, or he will play the complete drumtrack. Most likely we will end up doing something in between. Either way we need a drumtrack to start with, so here we go.
To determine the tempo of a song i usually enable Hydrogen's click, open the song in Audacity and then just play around with the tempo in Hydrogen until i get the tempo just right.
For this song i set the tempo to 133.5 BPM.
Note: for some songs the tempo isn't all that critical, but for other songs it can really make or break it (especially if you are using samples form the original song and you don't want to use too much time stretching) so it's always good to know the original tempo of a song.
The drum loop in the intro is your typical kick-hihat loop with a dry kick and an acoustic hihat.
As mentioned before i usually compose my own drumkit by selecting sounds from various drumkits, so for this loop i selected the TR-707 kick, the 'Snare reg 1c' and the 'HH 1 closed a' from the UltraAcousticKit.
The snare is used to add just a _little_ accent on the 2 and 4.
You can listen to the result here : https://soundcloud.com/thijsvanseveren/synrise-drumloop-intro
Next time we will have a closer look at the arp(s)