Producing With Beat Kangz Beat Thang Part 2
Submitted by: Darius Van Rhuehl
In the first article of this series we mentioned that the Beat Thang music-production workstation has been long anticipated, possibly arriving too late. Nonsense. A solid, well-thought-out instrument is always useful to producers and musicians. Not useful in the long term are budget drum machines, groove boxes, and beat-makers rushed to the marketplace. The fact that Beat Kangz took their time to get Beat Thang right the first time speaks volumes to me.
So let s look at Beat Thang in terms of how its features address music production, live performance, and most important, creativity.
Getting your mind right
Let s talk about creativity first, since it s the underlying component of all music production, whether it s orchestral, rap beats, hip-hop-beats, or rock. With music production, particularly computer recording, creativity is at a disadvantage due to the sheer number of features buried in menus, sub-menus, and controls that need to be accessed via mouse or controller.
All of these functions engage the left side of the brain. The left-brain is your mind s accountant. It likes numbers and lists. The right brain is the creative side.
Music production requires that you stay in the creative side of the brain without interruption as long as possible. Shifting back and forth makes you drop ideas, not beats. Top producers avoid time-sucking, creativity-killing tools and procedures to keep the right brain engaged.
Looking at the top panel of Beat Thang, the music production experience of its designers is obvious. All functions are accessible at one button press. The simplicity of Beat Thang is a double bonus, insofar as it makes it easy for beginners to get started in music production, and gives professionals the focus where they want it: on creativity.
It s all about the bling
One button in particular caught my attention: Blang. No, it doesn t relate to music production. It controls the backlighting of the top panel and front grille. To some, Beat Thang may look a little too Tron. If you don t like the lights, Blang lets you turn them off (just the active button lights) to save batteries, or dim them to see what you re doing onstage.
In keeping with the performance aspect of Beat Thang, its 13 velocity-sensing trigger pads mimic the layout of a piano.
The pads are labeled with note names and accidentals, making it easy to play melodic lines. Plus, you can shift through all eight octaves. Or, you can connect to a MIDI keyboard via its five-pin MIDI port and have access to all eight octaves.
Beat-making while you wait
In the previous segment, we said we were going to challenge Beat Thang s 15-minute music production guarantee. It s a challenge you can t lose. And yes, within 15 minutes, I was dropping beats like an ugly baby, and creating some very complex, layered, film-score style electronica.
Can you make professional-sounding beats with just Beat Thang and a set of headphones? Quite simply, yes. Now beatmakers, stay tuned for music production tips used in hit-making beats courtesy of The Beat Kangz.
About the Author: Darius Van Rhuehl is the owner of Backhouse Productions and also a producer of pop, rap beats, hip-hop beats, and R&B beats for TV. He attended the Juilliard School of Music and has studied music production from multi-platinum producer Michael Wagener.To learn more about Beat Thang, go to