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STEMS: Breaking Down The Sprockets of Walden's "Machine Land"

Each week on STEMS, we ask an artist to break one of their tracks down into its stems and reveal how they created each sound. This week: Walden.

Each week on STEMS, we ask an artist to break one of their tracks down into its stems and reveal how they created each sound, shedding light on every nuance of the production. This week: Walden's "Machine Land."

[Detuned Reverb]

Using a plugin called Harmless, I heavily detuned a saw and added some slight chorus effect and a tiny bit of distortion, then used Fruity Reverb 2 to control the reverb. I then exported the sound into Audio, allowing me to edit it (reverse, cutting and rearranging bits and pieces etc.) however i needed to.


[Top Percussion Layer]

For this one I had 3 sets of sounds:
Hi-hats - Very basic, chose a Vengeance sample that I liked, cut of the tail of the hi-hat a little bit, then removed all of the low end from a frequency of about 500 down.
Vox percussion - I used a tiny part of a Vox Sample and notated the rhythm of the sample in the Piano Roll - I then used Fruity Delay 2 and put the timer up REALLY fast to give it that robotic, almost reverberated sound. I'd automated the pitch in certain parts to add as an extra layer for the buildups i.e. the pitch of the sample rises gradually alongside other rising and build up synths before the drop.
Zip - I used a zip sound from a sample pack, cut off most of the tail from the sample and then pitched down until it was in key with the rest of the track.


It's made up of three samples, two top kicks and a sub, all each going into a channel of their own. I used a lot of EQ to bring out particular frequencies that I wanted from each individual kick. I've also used Maximus (compressor) to control the punch of the kicks and add some slight compression and coloring. For the sub rhythm, I used the same sub sample, then cut of most of the tail and pitched the sample down so that it was in key. I then drew the rhythm in and side chained it so that it wouldn't conflict with the kick sub.

[Bass Wobbles]

Used a Harmless synth, put the res up to 100% and turned the ofs all the way down, then added Maximus compression, Distortion and EQ (didn't want too much lower end conflicting with the subs) then used the Cutoff to control the wobbles.


[Snare Drums]

Altered, layered and compressed a number of snare samples together (three channels for three different sections of snares), then bussed into one channel to control EQing for overall effect Automated Delay and Pitching in Certain parts, also used Filter as a way to smooth out the transition of the snares when entering certain sections of the song.


Very simple layer, used Harmor for Detuned Saw and Square Rises, some slight compression and EQ cutoffs, used these as extra layers to add to the intensity of each buildup and also as a tool for transitions e.g. near the end of a beat section, when you hear the rising synth (pitching up or down) you can tell that the track is about to enter into its next section.

[Boom & Noise FX's]

I used a selection of "Boom" samples and added EQ to edit which frequencies I wanted, dropping out some of the higher freqs and bringing up the volume levels slightly to emphasize a little more of the lower ends. Used some clap samples (added delay) and a 3xOSC for White Noise to add some extra impact to the build ups and drops.

[Distorted Detuned]

Used Harmless for this and put the Cutoff midway, turned the res up 3/4 , ofs down 100%. Then added distortion, some slight chorus and compression. Layered a reverberated White noise over the top to give the sound a little more brightness and top end. Wanted the higher frequencies of this layer to stand out in the mix.


I tried to keep each sound as separate and clean as possible, hence why added very little processing to the Bus channels - i would rather have full control over each sound in their own individual channels, to avoid muddying the mix e.g. over saturation and/or compression. I've also kept volume levels low for mastering purposes, I think it's important to have AT LEAST -4/5 db headroom in the final mix.

Put all the STEMS together and here's what you get: "Machine Land" by Walden.

You can buy Walden- "Machine Land" on Beatport here.