Creating The Sounds of FKA Twigs 02

We Show You How To Sound Like FKA Twigs


In this latest 'Creating the Sounds of' article, we jump back into the world of FKA Twigs, Arca and Bjork. Referencing our 'Electric Nights' sample pack, we break down some of its arrangements and secrets in Ableton Live 11.




Use Spectral Blur For Abstract Spaces


When trying to create ambient and abstract spaces in our tracks, it can be tempting to load up a reverb, throw the dry/wet and decay levels up and leave it there. 'Spectral Blur' (part of Ableton's 'Creative Extensions' collection) however, can give you a unique 'reverb-like' sound. The two frequency pots in the plugin control the low and high pass levels of the input signal.



Note: We have a sound with a relatively small input frequency here. Experiment with larger sounds to really dial-in different frequency amounts.


Building Pads Using Vocals

First explored in our 'Pads From Vocal Samples' blog, we've created a rich and human sounding pad sound from a vocal sample inside the pack. Running the sample through various amounts of 'Hybrid Reverb', 'Chorus-Ensemble', Auto Pan', 'Erosion and 'Pitch Hack' has given it an other-worldly timbre. 'Pitch hack' kicks in at the end of the phrase, playing the sample backwards and an octave higher. When automated in it can act as a fresh, unusual riser without the need to introduce a new sound into the session! 



Note: Using 'Pitch Hack' to create interest and transitions shouldn't be restricted to only musical sounds. Try the same technique on drums and percussion!


If you want to jump into the session in the video yourself, they're all included in our 'Electric Nights' sample pack! 



Manipulate Pitch & Width With Chorus 


Once again, the mighty 'Chorus-Ensemble' makes an appearance, but for good reason! As shown in the video, it can give us an analogue/ tape style quality with a few simple moves. (Something explored further in our 'How To Make Your Synths Sound More Analogue' blog). The first instance of 'Chorus -Ensemble' adds width with the 'Ensemble Deep' preset, and the 'Vibrato Subtle' preset can add subtle (or dramatic) pitch wobble.



Note: There are many other plugins that add colourful, tape style effects to your sounds. Try 'Soundtoys - EchoBoy' or 'Aberrant DSP - Sketch Cassette 2'


Build Syncopated Hats With Ease 


Sometimes the simplest approach can be the best! On our drum channel, we can hear a delay between the kick and hi-hat sound. But rather than using actual delay, We've simply duplicated the MIDI of the kick pattern onto the hi-hat track, and pushed it along the grid. Same rhythm, but a new pattern.



Create Organic Bells Using Wavetable 

Let's create a sound with a bell like quality using Wavetable. Starting with the 'harmonics' sounds within Wavetable, We've chosen 'Spectral 2' (although there are many other options to choose from). The macros we've assigned in the video control simple parameters like 'Cutoff', 'ADSR', 'Pulse Width' and where we are on the wavetable itself. Beyond that, we're using 'Phaser-Flanger' to add a healthy amount of Phaser effect to the sound, keeping it striking and otherworldly. 




Looking for more FKA Twigs style samples? Check out our 'Fluidity' sample pack!