Aavepyörä audio crafting #1, intelligent drum replacement

For some time I have been thinking about starting to write a series of inspirational journal entries about creative sound design. I assume that you are familiar with all functions of your DAW, as well as other basic sound processing methods. Sometimes you might need also special hardware.

I am mostly working in Linux using the KXStudio distribution and Bitwig, but the principles and mostly software too will be identical to any other OS.

First up: intelligent drum replacement by hand.

Why intelligent? Because it’s you doing all the work, of course :)
If you need to process long recordings with hundreds of individual drum hits, or are working on a schedule, you might be better off using a drum replacement plugin. These, however, struggle to deal with loops with multiple types of percussion sounds, and recordings with melodic instruments. Also, it’s always good to be aware of free ways of doing things. And third, I just enjoy a crafting approach to building sounds, I prefer to do things from ground up by hand.

First choose the beat. I chose a track from Haikara, a Finnish 70 prog band. There’s a nice classic beat, with an instrumental stab on top.

I matched the BPM of the song to hit the grid nicely, just to make things that much more clear. In Bitwig, just place the first beat on beat 0, and tweak the clip tempo until you see the beats fall nicely on the grid.

Beat grid matching

Next, listen to the loop and decide which instruments you want to replace. This beat has only a kick, snare and one hihat, pretty straightforward.
I chose samples I sampled from a SammichSID synthesizer, it’s a great piece of kit that uses real SID chips used famously by the Commodore 64 computer.

Then it’s just basically a matter of dropping the samples to place by hand using the loop as an  guide. Easy! In Bitwig there is an extremely useful “layered editing” option to zoom in the clips and do exactly this kind of surgical work and line up different samples. It’s visually very well thought out, making it a snap to line up samples in different clips. I keep the BPM fairly slow at this point to make it easier to hear what’s going on in the track.

Bitwig layered editor close up

Here you can see all the individual beats lined up in the editor:

Bitwig layered event editor

Here you can hear the sounds mixed with the original track, as well as the dry C64 drums.

So that’s the very simple method, that works in any DAW. But what if you want to afterwards change the sounds? Here too Bitwig comes in real handy, since you can do layered editing also with instrument clips, and choose an audio track as the background.

Bitwig lining up notes to audio

So I created a drum machine with the three samples loaded, and wrote a MIDI track. Remember, you’ll want to work with all snap options disabled the whole time, so you don’t lose the timing of the original beat.

Here is now the finished loop with the hihat track made earlier in the background. And of course now you could trigger a modular synth with these samples by placing square wave samples to use as gates on the slots, use MIDI filtering tools, and whatever you can come up with to spice up those tracks.

Finished drum machine clip

And here you can listen to the dry signal from the drum machine and the original track mixed with the triggered drums :

And of course, now that you have a groove going, you can just use the hihat track as a guide for example to place a bassline, play a lead from they keyboard, picking up the feel of the beat, etc…

That’s it for now. I hope this gave you some inspiration or fresh ideas for your productions!

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Hengen aurinko, the new album is SO REALLY OUT!


There is really nothing more to say, but: enjoy with love!

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Soon, welcome friends old and new in Ukraine to:


Main stage live acts:


+ lots and lots more of nice stuff!

Oh, and the album is ready. More about that hopefully still before June ;)

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Wintertime love

I am back now from Israel, thanks Lau Lau for making my first hardware live with analog electronics happen! Too bad about the police… I still  had a great time. Work on the new album is ongoing, I strongly believe it will be out in the summer at the latest.

I will have to see if I have the courage to fly with the equipment again, now I had some serious damage on the way back, even though everything was packed in a flightcase…



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Autumn, Katso kukka is free to download now.

Not a lot of happening on the surface, but rest assured that I am working on a ton of new music presently!

Katso Kukkaa is now pay-what-you-want on Bandcamp, so you can has it for free also.

Some parties might be coming up as always, and party organisers make note: this winter I will give discounted rates to nice warm places ;) The winter starts to be imminent, and I need to get away for at least a bit…

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Winter’s end

…Is almost at hand, and I’m excitedly waiting if some crazy adventures and parties are to happen this spring & summer again.

First up: Tribal Dance in Moscow, on 28th of March

Lineup on the mainstage is:
Summamutikka (yes, I’ll be playing mostly a goa set and a lot of old material from the early 2000s!)
Spuge User
Renegade Master

There’s also a dark stage, for those who care.


In Finland, on the 14th of March there’s Trancelestial Vortex, an evening of pure goa trance. Very much recommended if you’re around!


Otherwise, what’s up? Well, I quit my job and moved to the countryside to a small house from the mid-19th century, so now I have a lot of time for music. I’m working on new tracks all the time, so everything goes as planned, there will be a ton of new music coming out in the next few years…

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Katso kukkaa, now available in Russia

Copies of the album have been left to Boogie Shop, so altough the album is not listed on the webpage, it should be available from them for 400ryb. So this is over half cheaper than ordering straight from me!


Also, thank you Buddha Project, thank you Walk About Love, thank you Space of Joy for the recent parties! And of course always the brightest rays of love shine on the dancers, who take part in the sharing of energy every time!

Ja Suomessahan Helsingissä levyä saa edelleen Asematunnelin Cyber Shopista 10€ hintaan.

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