Whether used to create subtle lifts in tracks or manic searing intensity, each genre incorporates these essential elements in different ways to help create a journey and also, ahem, to cheerlead the dance floor to synchronised and unified beat-drop heaven.
You can slice, dice and time-stretch the excellent selection of ready-made effects available on sample packs or tailor make your own. Here are some basic tips on using them.
Build your own using a synth
The main advantage to this method is the end point of the rise can be in key to the track. You can also make more complex rises or even dips where you choose, as well as gating the effect by putting in different note sequences. Choose any kind of synth with any kind of lead or pad sound you like for this, but just make sure the pitch bend up and down values are set to at least 1 or 2 octaves.
In Picture 1 you can see an 8 bar segment with a 4 bar note rising, changing to a simple sequence for 3 bars and finally holding the note for half a bar before diving into what would be the drop of the track. Under the pitch bend automation you can see a cc1 Modulation wheel automation which could be mapped to something like LFO rate for pitch or cutoff filter modulation to make the sound more dynamic. LFOs that increase to extremely fast rates toward the end like in the example can create a really intense riser.
Using White Noise as a riser
White noise is like a blank canvas on which you can smear effects and get results. Take a chunk as an audio file or generate it from a synth, use fades if necessary and get it to “rise” using a resonant filter sweep or also using time delay effects like automated feedback and rate on a Chorus effect or Phaser. The more stereo processing the better. See Picture 2 for a basic example.
Pitch processing audio
Taking pieces of your track – like beats , vocals, synths or even a bounce of your main mix – and applying post pitch processing on it can create quite a dramatic effect too. If you do a vinyl style pitch shift where timing isn’t preserved you can also get rhythmic effects or sequences to appear to speed up like the famous dub delay effect heard in a lot of tracks these days.
- Using a sidechain effect on risers creates a nice pumping effect and also helps create space in the mix during otherwise congested build ups.
- If you want more impact on your drops , edit and cut the risers to fall silent and create some “hang time” just before. Also avoid reverb to make this more effective.
- All these build ideas can also be used in reverse to create “downlifters” – useful when transitioning into a break.
- Use combinations of all these tips and layer them as you please to create something unique.