How to create uplifting liquid DnB chords

Extended chords - such as major sevenths and minor ninths - work well for a bit of uplifting (‘liquid’) DnB.

Let’s program a progression and hear how they sound...

Step 1: After importing a drum track, we’ve programmed an eight-bar bassline, using Enzyme CM’s BASS Incendiary preset. We’re using notes from the key of A minor - A, C, E, A, F, E - with one new note every three eighth-notes.  

Step 2: Over this, we’re going to use the piano chords Am9, Cmaj7, Em7, Am9, Cmaj7sus4/F, E. To begin with, we just insert a new chord on the downbeat of each bar. Notice how Am9 and Cmaj7 are basically the same chord (C-E-G-B), but playing these four notes over a C bass rather than A effectively transforms Am9 into Cmaj7.  

Step 3: With the changes blocked out, we can start to introduce some melodic movement by adding extra, incidental chords that just slightly alter the top notes of the existing chords. By rounding off with an E major instead of the expected Em7 (stealing a trick from Deadmau5), we’ve added an optimistic, upbeat ending to our minor progression.  

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