by Chal Ravens

Sketches is back – who do
YOU want to hear?

A new cast of boundary-pushing artists lines up
for our quick-fire creative challenge.

First thought, best thought: it’s a saying that underpins some of the most influential art of the last hundred years – and for creative minds, it still rings true. The poet Allan Ginsberg used it to explain his spontaneous workflow and why it always delivered him the best, and most unexpected, results. In fact, he thought it was better to leave a poem unfinished than to try and complete it with unnecessary words. That same ideal is at the core of Native Sketches: what happens when the inner critic is silenced and instinct takes over?

Next week, Sketches returns with a new series of exclusive works-in-progress made by some of the most exciting electronic producers from around the world. Armed only with instruments and effects from Native Instruments, they challenge themselves to create a quickfire sketch – fast, spontaneous and intuitive – before breaking down their creative process and sharing their unique stems with the world. It’s your opportunity to get inside the tracks and reassemble, remix, and repurpose them as you please.

In seasons one and two, we learned how Ikonika layers arpeggios to give her beats enough bounce and how Sega Bodega makes a cutting-edge club beat using only kicks and snares. We turned the spotlight on game-changing young club producers like Shy One, Coucou Chloe and Mechatok, and picked up pro tips from trailblazers like The Knife’s Olof Dreijer, Aïsha Devi and DJ NA of Nguzunguzu.

We also heard moody hip-hop from OVO affiliate Prezident Jeff, video game inspirations from Meltycanon, and spooky music for a lost civilization by Beijing’s Jason Hou. LA’s schwarzmodul dunked us in dub techno, while Erased Tapes composer Ben Lukas Boysen made just a handful of KONTAKT and REAKTOR presets sound completely cinematic.

And now, Sketches is going serial – that means regular doses of sonic inspiration, right here on the blog. Beginning next week, we’ll introduce you to a new generation of international artists creating everything from martial techno to ambient landscapes, from eerie UK bass to hyperkinetic electro. Every two weeks, one artist will present their finished sketch and stems while providing studio-level insights into the way they work: how to select the best presets, build the perfect drum kit in a flash, or add just the right amount of space, bass, grit and texture to a track.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll go behind the scenes with artists like Beijing vanguard Howie Lee, who explores Indian drones and African drums, and classical-industrial icon Zola Jesus, who heaves Japanese taiko drums into the mix. Other artists coming up include braindance innovator object blue, PAN affiliate Flora Yin Wong, orchestral manipulator Christina Vantzou and modern junglist Sully.

But we also want to know who YOU would like to see on Native Sketches next – who is making the most exciting electronic music right now? Who’s got the hardest snares and the dreamiest FM synths? Whose setup have you always wanted to peek into? Send us your best suggestions via Twitter, and we’ll get your dream tutor onboard.

Until then, dig into our playlist of all 49 sketches so far, featuring a high-pressure drum workout from Jlin, Throwing Shade’s sun-dappled chords and a slab of slow-burning ambient from WIFE, among tons of inspiring mini-masterpieces. Check back in the coming weeks to hear the latest tracks as they’re unveiled by our next round of producers.

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