Relentless Beats

Feel the Tension Rise: Celebrating the Underrated Art of Buildups

One of the reasons why I love electronic music is its endless possibilities. Artists aren’t limited to just one instrument or even a group of instruments on a stage. With electronic music, you control everything, essentially becoming an artist creating new sounds. One of the most underrated parts of a song is the buildup. While the drop may be more exciting, the buildup can be excellently crafted, and I wanted to show appreciation for five songs that I truly believe have incredible buildups. I hope you enjoy!

“Drop In” (first drop) by GRiZ

While I may be biased, I genuinely believe that GRiZ has some of the best buildups in the entire music industry. You can clearly see an example of this in “Drop In.” This song is one of the standout tracks on his recent Ouroboros EP. The buildup begins at the 30-second mark, gradually intensifying with wavy bass notes fluttering in the background. As the tempo increases, funky beats enter, leading to a complex downward-facing rhythm that extends over several measures, showcasing masterful craftsmanship. At the drop, a flurry of distortion erupts, seamlessly transitioning into a wavey, funky dubstep drop. While it’s hard to make comparisons, if you’re a GRiZ fan, you’ll absolutely adore this song.

“Headband (Flip)” (second drop) by Subtronics, Chee, Ganja White Night

Already a legendary collaboration, Subtronics and Chee have managed to create a flip that truly blows people’s minds. The buildup begins at the 45-second mark, characterized by the melody of the original song. As the sound continues to escalate, excitement grows along with it, and as the tempo increases, the melody persists until the iconic “VIP” sample at the 1:05 mark. At this point, the melody carries on, but halfway through, a deep, gnarly dubstep countermelody enters, perfectly complementing the song. The drop bursts open with high-pitched trap dubstep, making it a piece for the ages. This song is perfect for vibing in a forest.

“Lord & Master” (first drop) by Apashe

Apashe, with his emphasis on orchestral and brass ensemble sounds, has the potential to create truly magnificent orchestra-like buildups, and he flawlessly achieves this in this song. The buildup commences at the 40-second mark with a flute carrying the melody, accompanied by other brass instruments joining in. As more and more instruments come together to create beautiful harmonies, the buildup culminates at the 1:05 mark with a delightful choral harmony. Then, the buildup transitions to heavy bass notes, steadily rising until it bursts into robust, powerful chords leading into a dubstep drop, which contrasts the orchestra sounds. If you have a penchant for dubstep and a love for orchestral elements, this song is tailor-made for you!

“Good Things Fall Apart – Slander Remix” (first drop) by Slander, Illenium, Jon Bellion

In my opinion, Slander delivers one of the best buildups in the world with their remix of “Good Things Fall Apart.” While this song is renowned for its powerful vocals, Slander has truly excelled in adding their electronic flair to it. The song opens with the iconic melody, and the buildup begins at the 1:15 mark. Almost a Slander signature at this point, the buildup starts with slow, powerful bass drops that quickly pick up pace, accompanied by beautiful vocal accents. At the 1:45 mark, you hear the words “good things fall apart,” and then the buildup opens up with absolutely mind-blowing chords. At this point, it feels like you’re floating, and with a rapid bass buildup, it drops into a stunning future trap drop that promises to blow your mind. This song is perfect for watching the sunset.

“Glitch Fight” (first drop) by Subtronics

One of my favorite Subtronics songs, I would argue that “Glitch Fight” hits harder than “Scream Saver”. The buildup begins at the 25-second mark with a standard bass buildup, but it becomes particularly interesting at the 33-second mark. Characterized by fast-paced, high-pitched sounds – Subtronics’ signature style – the sound quickly descends, then repeats itself, with robust, well-built bass notes emphasizing the new measure. This leads to a heavy dubstep drop that will surely get you moving. If you’re a fan of bass music, this song is a must-have on any playlist!

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