Post ambient percussion production techniques

Hi, I’ve been listening to lots of experimental and post ambient stuff lately and I noticed many artists doing very intricate percussion that also has a very distinct and beautiful sound. Do you guys know how this kind of sound can be achieved? I’ve tried doing that by manual programming, but can’t really take it to that level so far.

My 2 main challenges are:

  • finding similar samples or designing similar sounds
  • crafting intricate, not-obvious 4 to the floor, rhythms

So I started to wonder: is this generated with some soft or hardware generators? Or with other generative techniques? OR maybe it’s sampled from synth demos from youtube? (quite a lot of these people are literally broke and don’t have resources to buy gear).

Here are a few examples of what I mean exactly:

Percussive sounds like here (for example the ones at the very beginning): Dream Resumption ft. PS | PVAS | Isla

Percussion like here: Precise device | DJ ojo | Blank Mind

I’d really appreciate any techniques OR gear and plugin suggestions OR sample packs OR tutorials OR anything basically. Thank you!


First of all thanks for the examples, some really nice tracks that you posted!

First example sounds very much like synthesised drums, kinda like high pitched sine waves.
The second example instead sounds more like recorded samples, with a lot of fx like reverb and resonators.

Regarding the techniques, I would recommend definitely everything that Fors releases, but especially Opal (of course) and their reverbs, which in my opinion really let the drums shine (Romb, Box [inside Kit], Void [inside Opal]).
Another general advice would be to start with very dry and short samples, and then experiment a lot with different FX (compression, delays with short delay time, reverbs, resonators, chorus, flanger, granulizers)


Oh wow, that Opal thing looks and sounds awesome! Thank you very much, didn’t know that. I’ll definitely dig more into that.


I just gave it a quick listen via laptop speakers, but I’d start with an envelope filter and pitch envelope if I wanted to emulate this one.


Please excuse the kind of stupid question, but what is post-ambient?
The examples you posted, sound like stuff that would have been released on warp (or similar labels) in the mid 90s.

The first track sounds like filtered drum sounds with fast envelopes and some delays.

The second examples just sounds like regular samples arranged in a more syncopated way than you’d usually do with a four to the floor beat. Use reverb, delay and modulation effects on the samples themselves not the entire output of the drum track.


I bet that all of these sounds (delays and reverbs included) and sequences can be cloned in one Elektron Syntakt


There’s a thread on the subject here:

Edited to add: there are no stupid questions!


I don’t know if it is officially post-ambient, but I was so struck by the percussive fizzes and pops on Donnacha Costello’s Slowly Sinking In | Donnacha Costello (also examples across the rest of that album) that I’ve made a few Max patches called things like “fizz_purr” to emulate that sort of percussion. Those can then morph readily into more erratic, geiger-counter-y territory when I feel like it.


In this territory, I really love some of the early múm records, and Hood.


Just shot a few seconds of video for you that might be useful. It’s pretty rough & ready, but illustrates the concept of keeping a beat moving by modulating things while it’s running. In this instance, I’m messing with the pitch of some of the samples I’m using (sound sources are one-shots I’ve made with synths) :blush:


Thank you very much for all the answers! I already have a few ideas of what to test and try, thanks.

@yghartsyrt I was referring exactly to the thread mentioned already here: Post Ambient - assuming that it might be telling anything to anyone (it’s just one of the multitude of terms created by the media to refer to quite a broad range of that chill new electronica). But hey, nevermind the genre, I don’t even like this term myself :smile:

@Ivan any thoughts on the Syntakt by the way? I own a Digitone and I’m loving it.


@sandettie nice one, what did you use to create your max patches? Were you using, for example, the sequencers that come with Ableton Suite?

The first one sounds good, thanks!

@hightowersdeepwells cool technique, thank you very much!


Goddamn I love this múm record


Great to see Hood shared.


Just thought to place the video about Opal here


i love the trend in “post ambient” towards very muted + naturalistic percussion. i’ve been chasing this specific percussion sound for years: it sounds like the softest xylophone with all the tonal information removed, yet it’s still so organic and lush! if anyone has any tips on what this could be + how to make it…


Upping that.

Yeah, I’m hearing lots of this type of percussion as well. I wonder if these might be chopped + filtered + resequenced organic percussion loops?

And oh man, I’m loving this track by Ulla (and the whole album is just beautiful).

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I bet you can get similar results with reference tracks also with Digitone as well.
From my experience, old Machinedrum is the best from Elektron (and it could help too)

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you are basically asking 5 things at the same time and it should be possible to offer a plethora of answers regarding music theory, rythm composing, sound design, stock audio products, patching synthesizers and filters, dynamics processing and so on.

i want to answer it differently. i think what you mainly want to do is

  • invest a reasonable period of time into creating, compilating, choosing sounds

  • find your very own way how to do this, and end up with your very own sound

rather than buying the same eurorack filter module and using the same MPC shuffling preset than in example 1 bar 13 beat 1.

because in my experience this won´t you bring very close to the example or original anyway.


@donnachacostello is on llllllll…

Also, while not at all electronic, the percussion on this Bill Frisell record feels a bit post ambient to me…

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