Back to Top

Just Hold On

by Louis Tomlinson & Steve Aoki

The methods EDM productions use to pump the gain of various arrangement layers in response to the kick drum is a subject of much discussion amongst aficionados. However, what’s rarely mentioned is that stereo width regularly plays a role in this effect too, because if you strongly duck all your stereo synths then the breadth of the mix’s panorama effectively pulses in rhythm, narrowing suddenly with each kick and then widening progressively in the gaps between hits. During the hook sections of this production, though, the width-pulsing effect is particularly striking, creating a very powerful subjective sense of kick-related movement in the track. And if you compare the Mid and Sides components of the stereo signal for one of those sections (the last hook, at 2:32, is probably best), you can see why — the gain-pumping of the synths in the Sides signal sounds clearly more prominent to me than their pumping in the Middle signal. So much so, in fact, that I’d hazard a guess that there might be a special Sides-only synth signal in there to achieve this, or that some kind of triggered M-S dynamics process might be responsible.