Tutorials

How to Record Retrowave with Reason 10

Posted June 17, 2018, 2:06 p.m.

With influences ranging from 1970s and '80s film soundtracks to artists like Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and John Carpenter, Retrowave is a genre of driving, synth-based music that has surged in popularity thanks to retro-inspired shows and movies like Stranger Things and Blade Runner 2049. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to record a Retrowave track in Reason 10 using a palette of lush synthesizers, punchy drum machines, and spacey effects.

The foundation of Retrowave starts with a classic arpeggiated synth track. Retrowave relies on the iconic sounds of popular '70s and '80s keyboards—so open up Reason’s browser and try out some analog subtractive synths and early-digital FM devices. Once you've dialed up a patch you like, plug it into the RPG-8 Monophonic Arpeggiator at 80-150 BPM to create the robotic pulse that will form the backbone of your track. Select an Up, Down, or Up+Down pattern and try out some chords until you find the right groove.

Now that you have a solid bassline or chord progression looping on the arpeggiator, take advantage of ReDrum’s authentic drum machine interface to program a simple, minimal and driving beat. Look for an electronic kit with a punchy kick and snare and tunable toms for the occasional tom fill. For a modern, danceable sound, sidechain the kick to one or more synths.

Now we’re ready to flesh out the song by layering sounds and arranging tracks. You can double your chord progression with a lush pad, program a dreamy synth drone with filter-sweeping automation, or add some soaring leads with a portamento synth or live guitar through the “lead” setting on the Softube Amp. To bring a more epic sound to your synth leads, add a healthy dose of delay or chorus.

Once you have the structure of your song laid out, it's time to fine-tune the mix and add a glossy sheen of effects. For an iconic 80’s sound, thicken up your synths with the CF-101 chorus and throw some gated reverb from the RV7000 on the drums. If things are sounding a little robotic, modulating filters with the Synchronous Effects Modulator can give your synths some extra life.  Finally, try the “Tape” or “VHS” settings on the Audiomatic Retro Transformer for an authentic lo-fi filter before rounding everything out with Reason's MClass Mastering Suite.

Now that you know how to record a Retrowave track in Reason 10, it’s time to create your own sci-fi dreamscape! Start your free trial of Reason 10 today.

Tutorials

Beatmaking and production with Reason & AKAI controllers

Posted April 17, 2018, 11:48 a.m.


 
In part 2 of his beat making videos, producer Justen Williams is back to share his music making process when he's got access to his full size AKAI controllers. Much like part one, which if you haven't seen it is worth the watch, Justen uses a keyboard controller and a pad controller to their fullest advantages.
 
We'll also see how he taps into the music community at Allihoopa to get some stems and samples for his beat. If you make music by clicking with your mouse and wonder what opportunities might await a switch to a controller based workflow, you'll definitely want to check this out.
 

Download
     Download Justen Williams' 808 bass patch for Europa here!

 

Reason Lite is available for free with the purchase of the following Akai hardware products:

• MPD218, MPD226, MPD232
• MPK225, MPK249, MPK261
• MPK mini mk2
• LPK25 Wireless, LPD8 Wireless
 
Current owners of these products can simply log in to their user account at http://www.akaipro.com to get their free Reason Lite license.

Watch part one in Justen Williams' AKAI beatmaking series!
 
For more information on Reason:
http://www.propellerheads.se
 
For more information on AKAI controllers:
http://www.akaipro.com

 

Tutorials

Beatmaking on the go with Reason and AKAI controllers

Posted April 16, 2018, 12:08 p.m.


 
Like many people, Justen Williams often finds himself making music on the go. And when he does, he wants to be just as creative and prolific as he is at home. To make that happen, Justen travels with AKAI portable controllers to help his fingers work as fast as his mind thinks in the rush of inspiration.
 
In this beat making walk-through, Justen shows us how and when he uses each of his controllers and offers a couple tips on making his small controllers work beyond their apparent size and range.

Reason Lite is available for free with the purchase of the following Akai hardware products:

• MPD218, MPD226, MPD232
• MPK225, MPK249, MPK261
• MPK mini mk2
• LPK25 Wireless, LPD8 Wireless
 
Current owners of these products can simply log in to their user account at http://www.akaipro.com to get their free Reason Lite license.

For more information on Reason:
http://www.propellerheads.se
 
For more information on AKAI controllers:
http://www.akaipro.com

Tutorials

Making a Jazzy Boom Bap Beat in Reason 10

Posted Feb. 15, 2018, 10:44 a.m.

The world of hip-hop music production is full of genres and sub-genres, each with its own unique history and style. Take Boom Bap hip-hop for example. The central elements are a hard-hitting sampled kick drum (boom) and snare drum (bap), typically with the snare on two and four and the MC rapping on the beat.

Boom Bap developed out of the 1980s New York City breakbeat scene, and hit peak popularity in the 1990s, when artists like Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Jay-Z, Nas and A Tribe Called Quest made Boom Bap one of the defining sounds of hip hop. Hip hop production has evolved a great deal since then, with the snare sound frequently replaced with a hand clap or other sample. Still, Boom Bap remains a popular, albeit retro technique that’s sometimes incorporated into other types of hip hop.

One such variation is Jazzy Hip Hop, which is related to the electronica subgenre Chill Hop. It features a mellow, jazzy groove made up of Boom Bap drums and short chordal samples taken from jazz records that typically provide much of the harmonic content.

Reason 10 provides the perfect toolset for creating Boom Bap and Jazzy Hip Hop beats, among many other styles. With myriad instruments and sample players, a massive effects collection, and powerful recording, editing and mixing features, all you need to add is your creativity.

In this video, producer, musician and educator Stefan Guy (stefanguyaudio.com) takes you step-by-step through the creation and production of a Boom Bap/Jazzy Hip Hop beat using Reason 10. He deploys Reason instruments such as Kong Drum Designer, NN-XT Advanced Sampler, and the brand-new Humana Vocal Ensemble—along with effects like Audiomatic Retro Transformer (which he uses for vinyl emulation)—showing you lots of cool production tricks along the way.

Follow Stefan Guy on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Make a Boom Bap track yourself with a free trial of Reason 10!

Tutorials

Polyrhythms

Posted Nov. 11, 2015, 1:57 p.m.

 

I own LOTS of hardware. I like hardware. But when you're programming patterns and loops in hardware, you generally find you're looking at a XOXOX style row of 16 triggers. If you stick to laying out triggers in groups of 16, it's fairly easy for things to get pretty stale and repetitive. I use a number of tricks to try and avoid this, and I wanted to see if they could be replicated in Reason. The first of these is using repeated patterns of differing lengths to create polyrhythms.

Let's start with a fairly simple pattern using the kick, clap and hihat:

The kick and clap here are playing a pattern that repeats itself every bar -  that is every 16 steps (where a step is a 16th note).

Let's add another voice to the pattern, but instead of a pattern that repeats every 16 steps, lets add a shorter pattern that begins again after only 6 steps. We can create a clip on the sequencer track that's just 6 steps (six 16th notes) long.

Hear how - even though it's at the same tempo - it slides out of sync with the original kick and clap pattern?

So now we have two patterns running alongside each other; one that's a bar long and one that's just a little under half a bar. It'll be three bars before these two patterns catch up with each other and start in sync again.

Now let's add another voice. This time I'm using a pattern that's 15 steps long.

Now my pattern won't start to repeat itself until after an entire 15 bars.

Let's add a last voice, this time using a pattern that repeats itself every eighteen steps.

Lay this on top of the original pattern, and now we have a lilting, rolling pattern that, while still being perfectly in time, is varied in such a way that it will only repeat itself after 45 bars!

Try creating polyrhythms yourself by building patterns for Kong or the ReDrum using clips that don't all start and end in the same place. Experiment with different lengths, and then go back and edit the parts if you want - perhaps you want to delete two voices that are triggered at the same time, for example.

And by all means, take the piece I've been using for an example here and add your ideas in Reason or Take. Here it is in its entirety - all 45 bars of it!

 

djanDownload a picture of the grid

By request, here's a picture of the grid for this pattern - I've coloured the different voices in using their clip colours, and added boxes at the beginning of the pattern to show where each clip starts and ends.

- craig

Posted Nov. 11, 2015, 1:57 p.m.