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LAYERS: Piecing Together The Shards Of Tomas Barfod's "Broken Glass"

Here on LAYERS, we’ve dissected all sorts of amalgamations of hip hop and electronic beats, but never before have we had someone that sounds quite like Tomas Barfod. As a member of Whomadewho and Jatoma, as well as on his own, Barfod has traversed a plethora of noun-noun genres such as dance-punk, synth-punk, dance-pop, synth-pop, dance-dance, etc.

Basically, he and his Danish counterparts make what sounds hot and put it together using a variety of live and synthetic instruments. His new single “Broken Glass” is no exception, pulling together all sorts of instrumentation to yield a song that evades a definite category. With several different segments, we felt this would be a perfect track to break down because of its sheer density and shifts in energy. Figured it would be a big one, and it is. “Broken Glass” comprises the most layers we’ve laid out so far.

Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of the single off Tomas Barfod’s brand new album Salton Sea. Get lost in the shuffle.

Drums 1

These drums are actually an old organ-drum loop. It’s sampled and looped, which gives it a certain swing. And besides, the analog origin of the sounds gives a nice soft sound to the whole track.

Drums 2

One of my favorit drum machines is the Roland TR-505. Here it’s distorted and compressed with my favorite plug-in, Transient Shaper, which makes especially drums real punchy.

EFX

Believe it or not, but in 2001 I won a Danish Music Award for Producer of the Year. The award is a strange looking bird-woman with notes as wings and a bell in her legs—that bell is the sound here. Besides that, there are also some Tibetan singing bowls.

Glass

That’s basically just a sample. Easy.

Guitar

The guitar was recorded by my bandmate Jeppe Kjellberg. That particular role was the fundament of the song. When we finally found that, the rest was easy. It’s run through a Echoboy, which, besides echo, gives it the little detune/flanger that makes it sounds so unique.

Bass (synth 1 and outro)

This is actually just simple synth-plug in but it’s compressed hard and run through guitar amp with spring-reverb, which gives it this particular sound.

Horns (full and Outro)

Not so much to tell about them. It’s just a Logic horn sample, since I could neither afford nor find the time to bring in a full horn section on this song.

Outro synth

This sound is also a standard Logic synth, but compressed and side-chained with the drums.

Perc fills

The percussion is heavily distorted and noise-gated. I think most drums-sounds you would play through this would these efx would sound like this.

Percussion

This is a full tom and rim-groove that I played on my drums. It’s a simple setup of two toms and layered with a rim-groove. I like to use real drums on my productions because it gives an ambience, both from overtones in the drums and from the actual room reverb.

Synth 2

I love arpeggios. I use them as much as I can. this one is from the Korg Mono/Poly.

Synth 3

This was created with a simple plugin synth sound. To give it its sound, I sampled it out on three different tracks, each with its own Effectrix programming. This gives some reverse/repeat /shuttering effects.

Tamp

Just tamborim sample. I think it’s from an asian tamborim, if i remember right.

Vox (vocal)

Jeppe sang some lyrics that my wife had send to me in an email. It was kind of random, but made total sense. He only sang one note, but afterwards I programmed the whole melody line in a autotune program. This is what makes the strange robot-sounding voice that’s kind of the signature sound on the song.

Put it all together, and here’s what you get. “Broken Glass” by Tomas Barfod.

Previously: LAYERS: A Sample-By-Sample Breakdown Of SoulKlap’s “King Of NY”

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