Quick review and notes of Lag's Rhythm masterclass on Home of Sound
Published on: May 27, 2023 by Joona Tuunanen
I recently saw a little promo for Lag’s rhythm masterclass on Reddit. I’ve known and listened to some of his music few years back, but I didn’t get it then as I was too early on my techno journey.
Well, now I get it.
So after seeing he has this masterclass, taking it was a no-brainer as the cost wasn’t too bad (I paid £35). If you want an example what kind of tracks he produces, just listen to the one below:
I highly encourage you to dig deeper into his discography.
What’s the main point of the course?
The course is basically about rhythm and groove and how you can inject that into your music in some obvious and non-obvious ways. Lag says:
What we seek is to increase the amount of fun that the listener will have
Lag splits rhythm into 3 overlapping components:
He explores these components through good examples and shares how he thinks about each of those components and their relation to each other.
My main takeaways
Below my main notes or takeaways from the course, mostly meant as a reminder for myself, but if you end up benefiting from them, even better:
- An easy way to add drive is to move some instruments forward in time, ie ahead of the grid. The opposite applies as well. If a sound is lagging, it might add swing/groove to the track and make the overall composition better and more driving in a weird way.
- Not all elements add to the drive. In order to add drive, the element needs to be meaningful enough.
- If everything is on the grid, it’s probably doesn’t sound very exciting.
- So many ways to add complexity to your tracks: loudness vs quietness (velocity), smooth vs abrasive, distorted vs clean, dry vs wet, long sounds vs short sounds, low vs high frequencies and so on.
- You can add complexity just by adding extra elements assuming they use some of the things mentioned above.
- One of the classic examples of complexity people like is the typical four on the floor kick with offbeat hihat, where the complexity comes from different frequencies (low vs high).
- When constructing a loop it makes sense to consider how long it takes for the pattern to repeat. For example four on the floor kick repeats itself every 4th quarter note making the pattern basically only 4 long.
- But if you have a random sound for example on 11/16 your pattern is actually 16 long because otherwise you’re going to alter its place in the composition.
- And if something hits on positions 5 and 13 out of 16, then the pattern length is basically 8 as the second half is redundant (unless there’s some variation like velocity).
- When messing up with pattern lengths, everything shouldn’t be unique as chaos ensues.
- It’s of course possible to use polymeters and polyrhythms, but you need to be careful with them.
- To increase groove you can use grid offset, velocity variation or movement.
- You’ll probably need to have at least a few elements sticking to the grid to not make it too complex and chaotic for the human brain to understand.
- Groove is all about the small or subtle adjustments that build up on each other.
- It’s the “imperfections” that matter.
I really liked the course and found it to be worth the money and time investment (only a few hours to watch all the videos).
If I’d have to give a grade, it would be 4/5. Would have been 5/5 if there would have been a demo how Lag starts to make a groove out of nothing while commenting his thought process.
That being said, he does stream every now and then so you can see more of his process there.