Make Acid Bass with Bitwig
29 Mar 2016
Back at the beginning of the month I read an update from bitwig.com wishing electronic music makers a happy 303 day.
Taking encouragement from the update, I decided to try my hand at making a 303-inspired track in Bitwig. So I loaded the arpeggiator device into an instrument track, added a step modulator, dropped in a polysynth and got right to it.
The result is Acid Choo Choo, just about 3 minutes and 03 seconds of non-stop acid bass action.
Below are some details about how I put the track together.
1) The Bass
The raison d'etre is, of course, the bass. I used the Acido preset from Bitwig's polysynth instrument. The polysynth is loaded into the fx slot of a step modulator.
An arpeggiator device precedes the step modulator and starts the device chain for the bass track. (So the full chain is arpgeggiator > step mod > polysynth.)
I decided the track should have some cowbell. It didn't seem right to limit the use of arpeggiators and step modulators to just the bass track. So I added them to the cowbell track for good measure.
Here's what the arpeggiated, step modulated, and distorted cowbell sounds like. (Not really anything resembling an actual cowbell!)
3) Compositional Approach
I tried something new with Acid Choo Choo and used both the clip launcher and arranger sequencers to put the track together. I started by experimenting with some building block material and improvising using the clip launcher. (I trigger clips using a control script I wrote for Korg's nanoPAD2 controller.) Once I had the basic flow laid out as scenes I recorded several takes launching scenes, manipulating parameters, and recording the results to the arranger.
With a good take recorded into the arranger timeline I began experimenting with layering in additional sounds. I added a couple supporting tracks during this phase.
And the result is a short, 303-ish bass track that I had a bunch of fun making. Thanks for the idea, Team Bitwig!