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Setting up a goa trance bassline in Reason

Published: 2016-10-12

Welcome back to another reason tutorial. In this tutorial we'll be perfoming a few GOA like trance tracks. And personally I am in favor of the old school Astral Projection, so in this case most of the stuff I will be typing about is that specific style. Case and point would be, GOA trance has different angles, and one thing I would want to get of my chest before getting started: this is one type of angle.

The typical BassDrum

The goa like bassdrum is very 'weird' compared to other genres. House, ACID or Trance like genres would normally use a very low and hard punching type of bassdrum. While GOA Trance does something different. In most of the GOA tracks you will find a high pitched like bassdrum in these type of tracks. And there is a reason why this is. Most of the stuff which is happening in GOA Trance is that is often gets over crowded on the low ends of the sound spectrum. To avoid too much presence on the low ends, goa uses a short picked bassdrum that goes "pock"... and nothing more. It usually ends with a very low oooomph at the end which focusses around the 120Hz and below. Very rare will you find bassdrums that use a wider range on the frequencies around 120Hz till 320Hz since most of the stuff is crowded with bassline stuff there.

Download RNS File: goa-bassdrum-synth.rns
Download RNS File: goa-bassdrum-sample.rns

As you might start to notice that the presence tone is very short and runs on the low ends very fast.

Setting up a bassline in Goa Trance

A bassline within GOA trance is usually very straight forward for the first layer. It usually goes like du du dum, du du dum and repeats the cycle very often. In a quick notation one could write it down as: C3 1/16th, C3 1/16th, C3 1/8th and repeat the cycle. Something similar as the followin setup could work:

Goa Bassline in the works

Download RNS File: Goa Bassline Mono

In the end, this will start to become very 'boring' and dull. To make the transition a bit more interesting, we could use different notes up, or down in to make certain transition. In this case we could use a middle note from C to D or G to make it more like an C major (where C major would be CEG). In this case it would look or sound like the following:

Goa Bassline in the works

Download RNS File: Goa Bassline Mono

This makes the arrangement sound a bit more interesting, even while its just looping the same things over and over again. One could start altering notes here and there (like I have done with the above example). Since somewhere down the line a G# is played rather then sticking with just CDG all the time. That one time that the note kicks in makes the difference here with basslines like these.

So thats a short trick on how we are able to start with a basic Bassline sequence. Now lets look at the sound itself. For the last 2 examples I have been using a subtractor synth. In most cases you will probably stick with most of the analog wave forms (which are Sine, Triangle, Saw and Square). Since these wave forms will work pretty well for bassline and other then that they are easy to manipulate (using for instance distortions and filters).

Goa Bassline in the works

In most cases the cut off frequence if very low when using low pass filters. Its also recommended to make basslines with band pass (BP) filters, however keep in mind that they will usually have a lot of presence in tonation when using a bandpass filter setup. Every change within the subtractor filter settings (such as envelope amount, filter amount and so on) can have a large difference on the impact of the bassline. Just as a reference, in the next example I have been adding more resonance on the filter, reduced the filter amount. Shown as followed:

Goa Bassline in the works

Download RNS File: Goa Bassline Mono

Setting up a second pair of balls

When it comes to creating psy goa or perhaps any form of goa, the main trick and idea here is to layer your basslines in different ways. In a simple context, if you would have a 16 step loop playing the same basslines over and over again, it would become rather dull and boring. However, when you are creating a bassline (or more), it makes perfect sense that you would start off with a 8 bar loop and take it from there. While you are doing this, you will become aware of the little subtle changes from the first bassline. While making changes to the next one you will even push the envelope a bit further.

So the idea here is to work you way on the first bassline, while adding a second one in a later stage. You will probably notice very soon which parts would fit, and which wouldn't since you'll become aware of that single 8 bar loop that constantly repeats itself and repeats itself over and over again.

However by doing it like this (relistening to the same loops and making minor adjustments) you will eventually start to learn your ways in to what makes that bassline tick. So the next time you would start a second track you will probably throw in the synths and basslines a little bit faster. While the next time you almost already know exactly which settings to push and which not.

Goa Bassline in the works

Arps

Arps, or arpeggios is something which is very common inside of old school psy goa trance. And usually if there is one thing that comes to mind when listening to GOA then there is one sound which would probably come to mind: the TB303 and some heavy distortion on top of that. While reason by default does not have a Rebirth module enabled, we can still get some descent analog gear into play to make similar sounds or effects with the subtractor, malstrom (if you like) or thor (probably ideal).

Lets start of with creating a Thor patch, set the whole thing to initialize patch (right click, initialize patch) add a second analog oscillator, use a tiny bit of AM (OSC2 -> OSC1 AM located left of OSC1) and throw in a Low pass ladder filter or Bandpass (in the next example I am using a Bandpass filter). To top it all off, use a Scream 4 unit as an insert effect with the Damage type on Scream. Parameter 1 (Tone) can be high (64 and above) and the Parameter 2 (Frequency) goes very low (0). Eventually we'll be reshaping the tone using the frequency knob... but we'll get back to that one later on.

Goa Bassline in the works

Download RNS File: Goa Arp mono

Setting up some distortion

Now that have an initial arp setup, we can start playing around with some 'cool' features. One would be, in this perticular setup, using the filter frequency to reshape the sounds cut off. One method in this approach would be using parameter 2 to open up the frequency. What will happen in this perticular setup is that the distortion changes over the frequencies we are triggering. Its a bit hard to explain in just a few words, its probably easier to present this inside an RNS example file.

Download RNS File: Goa Arp mono

Of course one could use the same basslines that we discussed in the earlier parts of this tutorial. Something as followed might work.

Download RNS File: Goa Arp mono 2

Anyways, this part concludes some piece of information on how get started with setting up Goa Basslines and some parts to setup an arp (which is often an important part in the world in GOA), depending on the type of comments, questions or feedback I might add a second parter in the world of GOA trance. Happy reasoning.

Published on Reason Experts
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Published on Reason Experts
Published: 2016-10-12

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