Create a sustained chord sequence, render the result as a new audio region, import the file onto a new audio track, then carve out rhythmic holes using your DAW's editing tools, or a gate or chopper plugin. Delay and/or reverb can then help fill these gaps a touch.
This type of gated melody should always be auditioned alongside your drum track, ensuring your track's overall groove flows as one.
Here, we've started with a continuous old-school pad and rhythmically hacked into it in real time using software tools. From here, render the pad to audio and chop up the sound even further.
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Step 1: Begin with a sustained pad sound that's rich in frequency content - in our example, we've layered a basic pad with a sample of tape hiss. We're going to chop up and stutter this pad with plugins, so load a drum loop alongside to keep a sense of rhythm.
Step 2: Chop out sections of the pad to form a basic gated effect. You can manually cut out sections of an audio file directly on your DAW's timeline, or use a volume-modulating device or 'trance gate' plugin. We're using Xfer Records' LFOTool here.
Step 3: Now find a way to further glitch up the pad groove - again, either through audio editing, or via a dedicated buffer/stutter plugin. In this example, we're triggering Vengeance-Sound's Glitch Bitch on and off with automation, adding more chops into the pad.
Step 4: Finally, insert a delay plugin onto the pad's channel - ideally, you'll want something weird and wonderful to add glitchy texture. We've added bubbling, pitchshifted delays an octave above the original signal with SoundToys' Crystallizer. Now render the file and edit even more.