Dude, I'm reading your words and seeing a lot of self deprecating. Drum and bass is such a hard genre to do right, don't be mean to yourself! I faked it for so many years, I still have no idea what I'm doing. Instead of writing a normal review I'll just type for a minute as if this was one of my own songs.
First thing I'd do is side chain that huge pad that fades in about a minute into the song. That pad has some nice quality to it but if you don't side-chain it will over power the drums like crazy. Drums always go up front in a dnb mix. Use the drums (or sometimes just the bass drum) to side chain the bass. I'm not sure if Ableton has a different word for it but look up side chaining if your not familiar. In short it lets you control the level of one instrument with the levels of another. Every time a bass drum hits, the bass guitar will de-amplify to make room for the drum. So good, sometimes I side chain everything cause I have no chill.
Not sure if your using a compressor but the drums need to be compressed stupid in drum and bass (unless your going for a liquid/idm vibe.) Compression takes a lot of practice so just slap a compressor on something and play with it until you can get sex out of it. It's going to diminish the difference between an instruments lowest lows and highest highs and flatten the sound to create something that sounds paradoxically louder. It's magic.
Hi hats are usually kind of like pads, further in the back of a dnb track but still important. Actually, turning them down just a little might be all they need. I'd screw with a pitch knob on that hat for like three hours until it's a pitch I agree with but that's just me. Some producers will say all the drums need to be in the key of the track but fuck that, it needs to SOUND right. Drums are a relatively atonal instrument and the texture of a voice is actually more important than the pitch when dealing with drums. Most my dnb drums are actually a layer of three to four different snares which combined makes a fat, atonal noise. LAYERING!
I made it this far without mentioning layering somehow. Find a few good drum samples and layer them up to make new drums! Let your snare drums all hit different areas of the spectrum. Play with the pitch knobs, volume, EQ and stuff for a few hours until your snare drums all work together. Drums are an infinite thing to play with. Be happy with them at some point but I'm not going to lie. You haven't written drum and bass until you've spent days just fucking a tone knob on one snare. And some producers say "match the pitch on your drum to the pitch of the track." LOL. Do what makes you happy. I have 4 snares, 3 bass kicks, and 5 hi hats to tune. I'd rather not worry about pitch when tone is the real battle.
I'll get into self deprecating now. It has its function as a learning tool of sorts but quality dnb takes so much self deprecating it get's suffocating after a while. I'm glad to see you're writing other genres too. Keep yourself busy and find happiness in your work to avoid suffocation! Find lots of inspiration. Don't be afraid to do anything.
I really like a lot of what I'm hearing! Sorry if you knew any of that already or if this review was boring <3
I know you may be completely baffled as to why I am giving you a 9/10 for this song. To cut to the chase, this song is not brilliant, but it has done something other songs cannot. This song has reminded me of my roots. I have been making music for 5 years come february 1st next year. Everyone started out like this. Seriously: my first song was Georgem124 - Virtual Reality - you can find that on youtube. it is absolutely BALLS. But if you keep at it, and it becomes a passion, one day you will end up just like me (:
Trippy, I found it interesting to listen too. :P
Well, thanks. However, I would've liked something a bit more substantial.