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: DJ Clap.
"Flash (Part 2)" is one of my favorite songs as it is really aggressive and powerful, full of lush layers and emotion which is all carried by a sort of unrelenting rhythm of triplets, half-time bits, speedy hi-hats and rimshots that flow between every section. Reverband filters tug and push the listener throughout.
The track starts out with a few poundings of the bass drum and a dusty electronic swiping, then adds a deeper, more rounded, and fast-paced hammering of a single sample. Hi-hats form into triplets, lagging and catching their breath to keep up with the rest of the team as the piece begins its transformation into an almost call-and-response between samples that are tuned up and down.
After the filter enters and exits–squeezing the sound down and releasing it out in a 4x4 rhythm–the section really drives itself forward with a simple snare drum, bass drum, and open hats. The samples are structured identically, but multi-layered between pitches and arranged by taking the pitch up a little higher, down slightly and then to its peak.
After this initial showcase, the main samples keep the same basic structure but the sweet cake-like layers on top change in succession with one another and more vocal sounds and cuts. The sound then switches up quickly: a few bars of complexity prepare the listener and give them something to grab on to. Then it hits: pummeling bass drums are arranged in sections of three measures with rimshots moving up and down. Claps slap their way across the beat with hi-hats tripling themselves, getting the ear ready for the brief half-time show before the reverb effects take over. The reverb blurs the distance between the listener and the sound, creating a hollow metallic space that is instantly shortened without warning.
The following section switches out the vocal layers for more sharp jabbing electronics thanks to a tasty and juicy synth. The drums are simple, constant, and fast and push the sound along. The beat drops out and the hi-hats come back with a super saiyan vengeance, trying to force as much of themselves into one space as possible. The samples maintain themselves but seem to have an electric horn-like quality to them that is both percussive and decayed. This section allows the voice samples to come back in for a moment along with the main footwork-style drumming before finally...
The bass drum and hi-hats (both closed and open) play a little game with each other: coming in, forgetting to kick at the start of the measure or opening at an irregular moment, pulling back and forth ever so briefly and maybe too fast to recognize. The piece brings the listener back to the vocal samples–one repeating "Ahh, ahh, ahh" and the others repeating "Ohh ohh ohh"–almost asking the others for something, anything, to which they reply "Yeah, yeah" and "Gah gah gah." Another sample with a breathy and blurred vocal structure maintains a tonal whisper between the rest. The piece says its goodbyes as the beat drops off and a filter rolls in to suck it all away, only to leave a slight echo in its departure.
Put all the STEMS together and here's what you get: "Flash (Part 2)" by DJ Clap.