Not the ‘live’ sounding album track but the house-styled single and video remix, which is a classic example of one of the most famous presets of the modern era.
The sound you’re hearing is ‘Solid Bass’ from the Yamaha DX21 and TX81Z rack synth. Another prime example where it’s left even higher and dryer is Chime by Orbital (already in our top 40 for its twittering 303 line). Saturday Night by Whigfield and Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum) by the Cheeky Girls are among many others that rely on this dull thud as the backbone to their groove.
Listen: Madonna - Express Yourself
How to get the sound
The ‘Solid Bass’ preset sound uses Yamaha’s FM synthesis. ‘Solid Bass’ is great on the dancefloor because it is essentially two FM sounds combined - one giving you the attack of the sound and the other adding the weight.
The first sound is one sine wave in a feedback loop giving it a little bite. The other sound is two operators linked together, the first modulating the second, each playing the same pitch but an octave lower. The bite component has a fast attack (3ms) and short decay, around 300ms. The weight component also has a fast attack but longer decay, so we have time to feel those low frequencies.