Circuit Rhythm: Our favourite beatmakers

To celebrate the launch of Circuit Rhythm, the Novation team have pulled together some of our favourite songs, featuring the best of sampling and beat making.

Sampling has been a cornerstone of modern music making for decades. Be it pop, hip-hop, electronic music or anything in between, the ability to alchemically turn memorable moments from much-loved tracks into new works of art has been the foundation of many genres and developed discographies of countless beatmakers and producers across the globe.

Sampling in its simplest definition is the act of reusing a pre-existing portion of a recording in your own musical composition. Whether it’s a section of a song, or an ingenious use of field recorded sounds, sampling adds a unique element to music composition, and has opened music up to some ground-breaking musical creativity.

Foundational in the creation of hip-hop and electronic music, very notable early examples of sampling in music started in the 1980s, with the introduction of innovative new technology that enabled music and vinyl collectors to take their favourite breaks or vocal runs from classic records and turn them into something new.

Check out our playlist featuring titans of sampling history, as well as innovative new beats from up-and-coming artists. Follow us through the years and listen to how sampling has been used to continuously change the soundscape of music and push the boundaries of song crafting.

Discover our favourite picks in the playlist below.

Novation’s latest addition to the groovebox family, Circuit Rhythm, puts sampling in the spotlight, giving beatmakers the ability to record straight into the device and flip samples in effortless and intuitive ways like never before. Building on the much-loved screenless interface of the original Novation Circuit, and following in the footsteps of Circuit Tracks released earlier this year, Circuit Rhythm provides an intuitive workspace for endless creation, that lets you get lost in your own beat making.

Watch TOKiMONSTA put Circuit Rhythm to work making beats.

Hear from the Novation team on why they picked their tracks:

White Noise / Love Without Sound

Now this one is a big one for me. Probably one of the most influential albums I’ve ever come across, and potentially one of the very first commercial albums to be based around the use of samples; perhaps not sampling in the same way as we’re expecting for this list today. It was born out of a collaboration between David Vorhaus and two Radiophonic workshop heavyweights, Brian Hodgson and the incredible Delia Derbyshire. ’An Electric Storm’ as an album is stunning. The sampling is an example of meticulous tape splicing and the result is an other-worldly collage which, despite keeping a ’60s ‘psychedelic feel’, must have been a crazy glimpse of the future when it was released.

Chris Calcutt

DJ Krome & Mr Time / The Licence

Plenty of genres have been built off the back of sampling, but in my eyes, none went as mad with chopping and warping the source material as jungle did. Krome & Time really went ham on this one – with the nuts chopping of the ‘Amen’ break, pitching it in all sorts of ways, and those mad laser beam snare rolls. I don't think it was as easy to get those sorts of sounds in '94 as it would be today with a DAW, so big love to them for helping push the crazy sounds of sampling just a little bit further!

Adam Able

Fugees & Diamond D / The Score

I find it nearly impossible to select a single track from this album, it’s a classic and easy to jump to as so much of it is built on clever little uses of sampled melodies and sounds. Across the whole album, the Fugees sample themselves, with the opening track featuring either a vocal or musical reference to every other track on the album, probably partly what’s helped the album to become as loved as it is. But, I think the title track ‘The Score’ just wins it for me for being particularly intuitive; amongst other artists, it features at least five or six other samples taken from tracks across the rest of the album, and really helps cement so much of the album together.

Lucy Griffiths

Lupe Fiasco / Kick, Push

Lupe Fiasco’s ‘Kick, Push’ is arguably one of his most iconic songs as it helped make him a national artist upon its release in 2006. It’s a huge personal favourite of mine and it has always found a special spot on my playlists. Lupe samples the jazz-style trumpet from Celeste Legaspi’s ‘Magtaksil Man Ikaw’ and uses it throughout the track to create an infusion of hip-hop and rap that still sounds fresh to this day.

Sam Taylor

Drake & Jay-Z / Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2

Any time two icons work on a track together, you expect nothing but gold. At times, collaborations like these tend to gain some buzz but then die out soon enough. However, the beat in this song is almost iconic in its own way. The hard-hitting drums and eery sampled vocal loops offer a contrast of soft and punchy undertones, which sets the scene beautifully for Drake and Jay-Z to record vocals on.

Khash Zarrin

Listen to how sampling has been used to continuously change the soundscape of music and push the boundaries of song crafting.

Listen to Spotify Playlist