We've all heard those stop-choppy spliced audio sections in Electro House and Dubstep tracks. The concept is that no two sounds ever hit together, as the song cuts abruptly back and forth between contrasting sounds.This technique is quite difficult to accomplish in Logic with traditional editing tools like the scissor, marquee and eraser. In this article I'm going to show you a quick and creative way to sequence these type of edits using Take Folders.
One way to utilize this technique is while working on an existing track; when there's an area in your song that needs some kind of change. Alternatively, just dragging in Apple Loops is an amazing and fun way to inspire a new track.
Step 1: First let's do this with Apple Loops. Create a new Logic Project, then press 'O' on the keyboard: The Loops browser will open. Before you start dragging in loops, grab a decent beat you like, so you have a quick foundation to edit your splices against. You can (and should) go back and build your own drum groove later!
Step 2: Start dragging loops to the arrange window, and place each one under the other. Be creative with your choices and don't be afraid of picking ones that might not seem complementary at first. They don't need to be complex parts, just ones with plenty of contrast like deep basses, higher ranged chords, mid-toned melodies, and rhythm synths/guitars. They do, on the other hand, have to be 'blue Apple Loops' (audio-only loops) since Quick Swipe comping is still not available for MIDI.
If they're not all the same length, cut the longer regions to the same length as the shorter ones, or Option-click and drag the shorter ones to copy them. Tracks that have copies of smaller length regions should be merged so there's one solid loop stretching the length of the longest loop you picked. You can merge regions from the local region menu, or use the key command: Control - =.
Step 3: Now select each loop while holding Shift so they're all selected at once, and from the Region menu, choose Folder > Pack Take Folder. Your loops will now be neatly contained inside of a Take Folder! Yes, this is the same type of folder that is created when you record audio while in cycle mode.
Step 4: Before you start quick swipe comping inside the folder, make sure to choose the right division setting on the Transport bar. You can stick with the default 16th note, or try a 12th or 24th note division if your track has triplets (this is common in Dubstep music).
Step 5: Open the take folder (if it isn't already) by clicking the disclosure triangle next to the region's name, and zoom so you can clearly see the different takes. Zoom in even further if you need to clearly see the division, and start swiping. Simply click with the arrow tool and watch that your 'swipes' are lined up to the division.
As you're comping, keep an eye on the division line at the top of the region. As of Logic version 9.1.6, swipes still can't be snapped to the beat. Even when 'Snap Automation' is turned on. I'm guessing (hoping!) that Apple will add a '˜Snap Comps' option in the Snap menu in a future version. This is far from a deal breaker in my opinion, since it's still quite easy to line up your swipes perfectly, and the cool sounding results speak for themselves.
If you want a perfect uncomped version of the Take Folder, Option-click and drag it to make a copy, and set it aside before you start swiping. This way you can edit it differently in other parts of the song.
Step 6: Once you've created a cool pattern, select all the takes by putting a box around them with the Arrow tool. Right click (or Control-click) one of the takes, and select Trim to Active Comp Sections. This will delete all the empty spaces.
Step 7: Now from the Take Folder's right corner arrow, select Unpack to New Tracks. Now each sound can have separate effects applied to them! Mute the cross-faded original at the top, and try different things like short, long or backward reverbs, distortions, and filters.
If you feel like your cuts aren't perfectly placed on a division value, you can quantize the start position of the individual regions! Yes, it actually is possible. Marquee select all the regions you'd like to quantize, then press the 'E' key to bring up the Event window. Choose a quantization value from the quantization drop down menu. The starts of each selected region will be quantized to the value you choose!
Step 1: Now let's do this in an existing song: First, open the unsuspecting track and start bouncing soloed loops from individual sounds. There are many ways of doing this. I prefer actually bouncing, this way you can solo more than one sound at a time, or sounds output to buses.
Remember to check the Add to Audio Bin box so you can find them easily. Try making variations of the same part with different effects (e.g. Lowpass, Bandpass and Highpass filters).
Step 2: Now, go to the bar where you want to add the Take Folder Splice Editor, and create a loop starting at that point for as long as you'd like the part to be (8 bars in the image below).
From the local Edit menu, select Insert Silence Between Locators from the Cut/Insert Time submenu. Keep your drums rolling through the section by pulling the loop length out (top right corner of the region).
Step 3: Hit 'B' to open the Audio Bin. If you created the loops within the project they'll be here if you chose Add to Audio Bin when you bounced or exported the loops. If you're using loops from a different project you can drag them from the Finder to the Bin window.
Step 4: Position the timeline precisely on the bar where the empty space begins. The < and > keys allow you to move the timeline bar by bar. Command-click each loop to select them all, then Right-click and select Add to Arrange. Logic will ask you if you'd like to create new tracks. Select Yes. You can now use the existing steps from the Quick Swipe Splice Edits with Apple Loops above to complete the process.
Here's a quick sample of what I came up with in a song I just started: