I have been recently following the LA Beat scene (Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, etc.) and am trying to figure out what methods they use to create their unique sound. What effects (reverb, sidechaining, compression, EQ settings, etc.) do you suggest I use?

I'm sorry if this question is written awkwardly; I can try to clarify details if you ask them in the comments.

The two works I have in mind are:

Cosmogramma - Flying Lotus

Drift - Nosaj Thing

  • Can you provide an example song via Grooveshark or some other similar music service? – Donn Felker Dec 8 '10 at 20:58
  • "Clock Catcher" by Flying Lotus is a prime example of the sound I'm trying to make. Alternately, "Dance of the Pseudo Nymph" by Flying Lotus. (I can't access Grooveshark from where I'm typing). – Nick H Dec 8 '10 at 21:03
  • Dance of the Pseudo Nymph: hypem.com/track/1116074 – Donn Felker Dec 8 '10 at 21:08
  • That's the one! – Nick H Dec 8 '10 at 21:12

This answers if based upon my listening to "Dance of the Pseudo Nymph" just now.

There are various instruments in the song, ranging from shakers to hi-hats to flat bass lines and much much more - even some ambient pad sounds it seems in the background. Some of the bass tones have some bit grunging happening (MPC users this term quite a bit) while some of the other sounds (hi hat,sharker) are very crisp. This seems to be "their style" or the new style of music that is coming from the LA Beat Scene.

To best replicate it I would advise finding the BPM and laying down a simple hi-hat to match it. Then find another instrument, such as a bass line and then playing with it until you reach the desired outcome. Continue doing that, adjusting various sounds to figure out what filters/vsts/effects they use to create their sound. I know this is probably not the answer you want, but discovering what makes a musician/band sound the way they do is completely their own style. Its natural to them, which is why they're unique.

A lot of people want to make beats like Dr. Dre, Just Blaze, or the Roots, but when it comes down to it, it's not that easy. You can practice to replicate it, and in during that process you'll learn what they did, and how they did it (and more).

Will it take a long time? Yes. Will You learn a lot? Yes. Will it be fun? Yes. I advise you take the time on a rainy day and just have fun with it. I'm sure you'll find something close (while it may not be the same sample) and you'll learn what they did.

Playing music is the best way to learn it.

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