TimeCop1983 is one of the most revered synthwave producers of the last decade. I’ve analyzed dozens of his tracks to find out what makes him so successful. Here are 5 of his production techniques you can apply in your synthwave tracks today:
Technique 1: Simple Drums
TimeCop1983 ‘s drums are typically very simple
- The same groove from beginning to end
- Kick on the 1 & 3 (with 8th/16th notes for flavor) or four to the floor
- Snare on the 2 & 4
- Simple hi hats (often he doesn’t use any)
Technique 2: 8th or 16th Note Bass Lines
TimeCop1983’s bass lines are typically very simple
- For slow to mid tempos, he favors continuous 16th note lines
- For mid to fast tempos, he favors continuous 8th note lines
- He uses root notes in his bass lines predominantly
Technique 3: 16-Bar Sections
TimeCop1983 often arranges his tracks in 16-bar sections
- 3-4 sections with the same drums and bass
- Main lead + harmonic accompaniment for each section
- The vertical stack of his sections typically has no more than 4-5 voices
Technique 4: Gradual Introduction of Voices
He has a strong tendency to introduce voices gradually with filters
- Filters a voice and opens it up towards the middle of a section
- Uses filters in his intros
- Closes filters when dropping a voice from a section
Technique 5: Simple 4-Bar Chord Progressions
Timecop1983 uses mostly diatonic chords and 4-bar progressions. He seldom uses borrowed or chromatic chords. Simple chords from the major or minor scale are enough for him (and his listeners worldwide).
- Simple chords from major or minor keys
- 3-4 chords in his progressions and often only 2
- Most progressions are 4 bars long
- Arranges 4-bar progressions into 16-bar sections
If you'd like to watch a tutorial of TimeCop1983's bass line techniques, here's one for you:
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