House is still the big daddy that towers over the dance music skyline, and the past few years have seen more bass-driven, '90s-influenced house styles rising from dubstep's ashes to once again dominate dancefloors the world over.
Here, in the video above and the step-by-step below, we show you how to construct one of the most important parts of any classic house tune: a tight, tension building transition to lead the listener in to your main drop.
For a full guide to building a house track - from intro to beat, bassline and mixing down - check out the Autumn issue of Computer Music (CM196), which is on sale now.
Step 1: Here we have a 16-bar beat and intro section that are building towards a drop. We want to maximise the effect of the buildup, so we remove four bars of the kick drum at the end of our 16-bar section. This removes the sidechaining effect applied to the musical parts and also leaves a handy gap for a white noise whoosh to fill. For added suspense, delete all the percussion in the final bar completely.
Step 2: Another way to tease the dancefloor and signify a drop is by progressively filtering your intro instruments. Philta CM's dual low- and high-pass filters are perfect for this job, so add an instance on the intro group. We're going to automate the Lowpass filter to fall over the final four or five bars, and then the Highpass to rise in the last bar. Take time to experiment and find the sweetest progression here.
Step 3: We want to end with a cool vocal snippet. Drag and drop VoxDrop.wav (right click and Save As to download) onto a new audio track, and place it on the final beat before the drop. To give this mini vocal hook a more distorted character, we add AmplifikationCM and select the Init preset. Turn its Master down to around 1.5, and delete the last beat of the rise to leave a gap for the vocal