Reason 6 Alligator: Changing Tones into Grooves

Reason 6's new device, Alligator, can transform even the most uniform of pads into a twisted, rhythmic groove. GW Childs sinks his teeth into this one.  

If you're familiar with electronic music at all, especially within the last several years, you'll probably have picked up on the fact that a lot of this music begins with simple tones.

For example: An artist will either sustain a note, or play a simple melody in 1/2 notes, or 1/4 notes as they begin a song, or just to introduce a frequency. From there, through modulation, the artist will take a simple tone, and then turn this tone in to a very complex arrangement through modulation. 

This is most commonly heard with the simple side-chaining of a kick drum and a low oscillator tone. When the kick drum hits, it causes the bass to drop out. This makes it sound like the bass is pulsing in and out. 

Other artists in the Dubstep genre will use LFO modulation to create what sounds like extremely complex synth parts. In actuality they are just playing 1/4 or 1/2 notes as well. And really, what's not to like about this style of doing things? You simply lay out your ideas, and then go back and customize later making them groovier and more interesting. 

Well, Reason has a device I'd like to tell you about now that makes this approach much, much easier... and the end result is something that is more than astounding. The Alligator, the focus of this tutorial, takes simple tones, and spits out 3-part arrangements that leave many of us scratching our heads. 

In this article, I'd like to guide you through making a very simple melody, and then creating a very complex part from simplicity, using the Alligator.


Step 1 - Make a Melody

In Reason, I'm actually going to draw in a 2-measure melody using a pencil, with a grid value of 1/4 notes.

2 measure melody




I'm generating my sound with a simple Subtractor patch, shown below. Feel free to copy the melody above and the patch. The tempo is 80 bpm.

A simple Alligator patch


As you can hear, the melody is more suited as a bass part, so I'm going to approach it as one as I engineer it. The biggest thing to know is that we need movement, something that's more

Sound Designer, Musician, Author... G.W. Childs has worn many hats. Beginning in the U.S. Army back in 1991, at the age of 18, G.W. began learning electronics, communications and then ultimately audio and video editing from the Department of Defense. Upon leaving the military G.W. went on to work for many exciting companies like Lu... Read More

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