Theory

The 4 principles of techno minimalism by Underdog

1. Subtle motifs

Two elements bouncing at each other

Ensure something is going on in the lows, in the mids & the highs. Choose a phrase length & design it to create a simple groove.

2. Movement

Too little is boring, too much is distracting

Create movement in the timbre of your elements. Use modulating effects, tweak filters, change envelope lengths, LFOs or automation to create movement.

3. Polymeters

Slightly unstable, but exciting in moderation

Simple grooves become endlesly listenable when you add 1 or 2 polymeters to them. During breaks polymeters make it hard to guess where the ‘1’ of the groove is, which is satisfying, when resolved.

4. Tension and release

Make the audience wait

Evolve the global story of the track to build up tension and then release that tension. Make them want it, tease them, drive them crazy! Use contrast (busy vs sparse). Use reversed reverb tails as buildups.