Since discovering the genre I’ve wanted to make a Glitch Hop song, but wasn’t sure where to start.
And since Boyinaband is sponsored by the awesome Primeloops, I offered to do a review for their Glitch Hop sample packs, since the demos on their site sounded frickin’ ace.
As will become customary with my reviews, I believe the best way to show how good a sample pack is is to make a song with it. So here it is: My first ever glitch hop song, made with the Glitch Cuts sample pack and the Glitch Hop Drum Loops sample pack.
I suggest playing the song, then reading through the review. The song is called “How the mighty have fallen” and I’ve put it on my solo project “Trikkaan“, since this genre has inspired me to make a Glitch Hop project of my own.
Oh, and there are a few samples from the Primeloops “Minimal Synthesis” sample pack too, which has some amazing soundscapes, but I’ll review that properly another time.
I think the best way to start this review is by saying that as a direct result of the Glitch Cuts sample pack, I was inspired enough to dedicate a week of boyinaband blogs to Glitch Hop. I find this genre is more powerful, interesting and cooler than anything I’ve heard in years. I even prefer it to Dubstep – and I frickin’ love my Dubstep.
After my review of the Dubstep Producer Sample Pack last week, I have learned a bit more about using samples in Reason. Layering in NN-XT has been a big part of making this track, with sometimes 3 separate samples making a sound (such as that painful yet awesome synth just before the chorus cuts in.)
This time, I decided to use a few synths as well to back it up, which I feel now is the best way to work. Though in this song, for every lead synth sound you’ll find the main texture of the sound has come from a sample in the Glitch Cuts sample pack, sometimes combined with a bit of Thor.
I’ve rewired Reason 4 into Sonar 8, which is what I used to record and process my vocals.
This is a review for two sample packs – the first one I’ll discuss in depth is the Glitch Hop Drum Loops pack – this contains 77 drum loops, all with a glitchy edge to them. But by no means are they repetitive.
I get the feeling I’ll be saying this about most of Primeloops’ sample packs; I adore the variety.
There are some seriously funky loops, some crazily heavy ones, some dark and evil ones, several which made me actually say “wooooah!” out loud at how ridiculously gangstuh they were, some that are glitched up to the max so they don’t even sound like drums any more, some with an old school hip hop vibe, some with an electro aura about them and one or two that actually sound like regular drum loops.
Listen out in the song I made at the start of the second verse – those two loops are chopped versions of some of the drum loops in the pack. How ridiculously cool are they? They sound so *professional*, it’s ace. I thought to myself “I want something different here” and opened up this sample pack and literally a few minutes later I had found inspiration for making that part of the song more interesting. It seriously helps your workflow having good loops to hand.
Now onto the second sample pack, “Glitch Cuts” – Starting off on the “Electronics” folder. There are 34 of what they call complex loops, and 42 sequencer loops. There are some AWESOME sounds here, both percussive and melodic – they stand out to me as ideal fills for your glitch hop tracks, or sounds to cut up and turn into percussive elements if you were feeling creative. Though scrolling through the sequencer loops I can hear some amazing Glitch hop songs just crying out to be made from them.
Christ on a bike there are a lot of samples here. I used loads of them in the song above. The categories encompass 8bit, clicks, distortions, guitar fx, hisses, klangs, lfo fx, lo fi fx, mechanical fx, mod fx, noise fx, other fx (Some weeeird sounds in the other fx one!), pitched fx, trigger fx and voice fx. There are HUNDREDS of samples in this pack.
I used one of the guitar fx to make most of the gritty lead synth in the song above. I used a sample from the Mechanical fx in the painful (I tend to use the word “painful” in a good context quite a lot with this pack) fill that kicks in half way through both verses. The noise and 8bit samples are dotted around there too. They are just so *useable*.
There are some really cool voice fx in there for people who want to make something a bit less vocal-heavy than the track I made, but still want a memorable phrase or two in there for people to latch on and remember the song. Some amazing old school robot voices saying cool robot-y things like “resistance”, “computer” and I’m pretty sure one said “Mahjong”. A lot of them are cool vocal-sounding glitches though, which are sweet, they could even be used as percussion.
My second favourite part of the pack. There are so many weird and wonderful sounds in here that I don’t even know where to start. So the beginning would be logical – 56 bass drums, 48 claps, 36 hats, 50 snares, and 43 percussion samples (these tend to be hits with a metallic edge or blips), but treat the labels with a grain of salt – I could imagine a bunch of the snares as bass drums, the bass drums as snares and the percussion as lead synths if used correctly!
The main beat in the song is composed with samples from here. Again, versatility is key, more so than usual in this pack – you could make drum beats for just about any genre of music from the samples available in here, as well as some which pertain more to glitch hop. This pack is absolutely FANTASTIC for layering samples, meaning you can always get that perfect percussive sound you’re looking for.
Now we get to my favourite part of the pack – these shots are awesome. By shots they mean one-shot samples, though I found the best use for a lot of them was actually in synths. They add a professional touch to otherwise generic synth sounds, so combining these with thor can make for some awesome sounds.
Examples in the song – Check out the arpeggiated melodic synth in the intro, that’s made from a synth shot combined with a bit of thor magic. The hollow-sounding pad in the first verse is derived from an awesome soundscape shot (they’ve really covered all bases here – soundscapes, synths, hits, buzzes, basses and more. Did i mention this pack is stupidly massive?).
These tend to be the more melodic hits, whereas the FX category is mostly percussive. The quality is so good and again, if you’re stuck in songwriting, a few clicks and you’ll be freshly inspired just because of the amount of interesting sounds in here.
Here I started with the Glitch Hop Drum Loops pack, picking a sweet loop to build a beat around with the Glitch Kit – this means the beat is more unique and also more powerful, since the Glitch Kit in the Glitch Cuts pack has some really good kicks and snares.
After making that, I made the guitar fx/thor combined lead synth riff, which I used to build the rest of the track around. I wanted to get the dark, powerful feeling going on, so I added some hollow sounding pads – one over the chorus with a simple thor synth and another over the verse with a soundscape shot (I LOVE this sound, I don’t know how they got it sounding so hollow, that’s the beauty of these samples – most of them I wouldn’t know how to go about replicating from scratch, but it’s so good being able to use them.)
Once the basic song structure was put together, I started adding more synths – the painful one that comes in every 4 bars of the chorus, which is comprised of 3 soundscapes from the “minimal synthesis” pack (just goes to show the big ambient sounds don’t need to be used in an ambient context!) and the arp synth to fill out the beat with a bit of dark melody.
At this point I added the vocals – as I said, this was done in Sonar 8, then I stuttered the hell out of them and added a stupid amount of effects. Cutting, timestretching, filtering, flanging and distortion were the orders of the day.
Once the vocals were down, I went back through, adding in drops to emphasise certain vocal lines, a couple more drum loops from the Glitch Hop Drum Loops pack and another redrum instance just for glitches. There are so many amazing percussive glitches that I had to add an extra instance of ReDrum for them all. I also learned a cool technique – linking the mod CV from a malstrom instance to the pitch of a redrum channel means you can make samples’ pitch dynamically follow an LFO, giving a cool, breathing kind of effect when combined with the right samples (which this pack has.)
Lastly I went through taking away a lot of the overlapping percussion (There used to be even more going on in the song, I had to take out some of the glitches since it’s so tempting to add in a million of them in one go that you tend to ignore the fact that it’s difficult to pick out individual parts!)
Lets go for the Glitch Hop Drum Loops sample pack first.
An inspiring, varied and generally frickin’ cool collection of glitch hop loops. Going through these, there were at least 20 standout loops where I stopped and thought “I actually really want to make a song with this.” – I’d say that is a good indication that the loops are good. There are some *amazing* sounds in the loops that I really want to cut up for use as hits. Definitely worth it for any aspiring glitch hop or hip hop producer. I could also see Electro producers getting a kick out of this one.
Then there’s the Glitch Cuts sample pack.
I think the biggest thing about this pack that I haven’t already mentioned (Variety, quantity, quality) is the value. There are over 1000 samples in here. And it’s, at time of writing, £13. That’s 1.3p per sample. 1.3p for a sound that will make your songs feel so much more interesting and professional. I’d think this would still be good value even if it had half the amount of samples. Maybe it’s ’cause Glitch Hop is a relatively new and evolving genre?
I can’t imagine anyone buying this being disappointed with the samples in it, because there are simply so many; chances are you will find one that will fit what you want. I never once found myself lacking inspiration at all while making this song.
All in all this is my favourite sample pack at the moment. I can see myself coming back to it time and again, for glitch hop and hip hop tracks sure, but also for other genres – after I’ve written the body of a song I’d poke through to add in some of those amazing shots and FX to just add that perfect cherry on top.
Have you tried the Glitch Cuts or Glitch Hop Drum Beats Sample Packs out? What did you think? Leave a comment below!