To begin this piece I used a simple 4/4 drum loop I'd created in a project. I decided to make the task an exercise in rhythmic annihilation; I realised I'd rarely gone further in production than constructing a simple drum loop and repeating it. So often my compositions rely upon melodic developments to inform the rhythmic decisions I make so this task was revolutionary in the sense it forced me to consider how I could make rhythmic elements evolve!
I knew at one point I wanted to apply the technique of metric modulation. I shifted the hi-hats from an 8th note pattern to a triplet 8th note pattern, but placed the snare on the 3rd and 7th 8th note triplets of each bar:
To make this change have the desired effect I maintained a hi-hat on the quarter notes of each bar. The drum loop that plays at the start sets an understanding of the piece and creates the expectation that the snare will lie on the 3rd beat of each bar, so when the modulation occurs underneath already established 8th note hat-pattern the listener is used to, the disorienting effect is more pronounced.
Minimal processing was applied to the samples used, with the most frequent effect being a transient shaper. Distortion/saturation as well as echo and reverb were used in addition, though the focus was not on processing the audio. Automation was infrequently used as well, with the only automation curve being the wet/dry mix of Echoboy on the snare towards the end of the piece.
In building the piece I deliberately placed elements randomly, intentionally rejecting intuition when composing different parts. I did a large amount of production "blind"; not listening to entire 8-16 bar sections until they were established on the timeline. I wanted to completely reject my understanding of rhythmic principles to create a varied and lucid composition. I found it refreshing to force myself to compose with the elements I already had, completely atonally.
I processed the mix through Ozone 9 Elements, using the master assistant to achieve an output volume of -1.0dB. The creation of this piece was a valuable exploration of the rhythmic devices I have at my disposal to create an arc within a piece of music, as well as a reminder to focus on the core elements on a piece without getting caught up in sound design or automation.