I’ve enjoyed using the Frozen WastelandQuad Algorithmic Rhythm Generator a lot for drums, modulating the accents, pads, offset, and/or steps can keep things pretty interesting. I often use Psi Op, Hora’s Hi Hat, and Vult Knock. The new Kickbaba module seems pretty good too.
Lapsus from Vult is also pretty nice for a reasonable amount of variation. The Vult Mysteries collection is $10, but worth it I think. Another commercial option is the Entrian Drum set, which is pretty powerful although I haven’t had time to properly explore it yet.
weird patterns: try to have a recognisable pattern within the weird pattern, so that it doesn’t sound too much out there.
regular/straight patterns: spice these up with swing and there where applicable different pattern lengths, so they become less “boring”.
Depending on whether you synthesized the drums yourself, or whether you chosen any of the fantastic drum modules that can be found in the several of plugins (Hora drums / Vult / Prok / Psi Op) And there are a couple of others that are sample based i think.
Most of them have a good starting point set, but it all really depends on what you are trying to achieve (type of sound/genre of music).
Post processing of the drum sound will take your drum/percussion sound a long way further, ranging from just EQ to distortion-gain / compression and/or delay-verb / saturation / frequency shifter / bit crusher.
Any combination of these in a creative way can have interesting results. Also remember to use switches on the effects to actually turn on/off the effect so they only get applied at the right moment when you really want it there.
A technique I like to use if a drum pattern is too weird: reset the sequence with a divided clock. For example, even the weirdest sequence won’t be weird at all if you reset it every 4 steps. Try resetting it at 8 steps, 16 steps, 32 steps, (or in between but I think most of us are used to music that repeats in multiples of 4 so that will probably be considered the least weird) and dial in to your desired weirdness level.
I do that often with eugene. Just dial in some weirdness and then use some divided clock to reset at 8 or 16 clicks. Other than all the already mentioned tips, I strongly recommend using dynamics and ghost notes. Sequence a VCA for each channel to get dynamics and use random muted short sounds as ghost notes. Maybe try using gate-delays on different channels to change the feel to a more laid-back groove as well.
for kick drums Palette can be pretty nice with 2 voices on the kick drum voice and then i’ll usually use Host fx and a distortion or saturator plus some eq. Rackwindows Tape, Felher Fabrik “Chi” or Vult Decline can be nice on drums too.
have you tried Hora’s new Deep? i have only used the premium version but its not bad. to me it can sound similar to the kicks on my Xbase09. the Hora 808 isnt bad either but it can have an inconsistent attack if you are trying to get that heavy slap.
like @Eurikon mentioned, post processing drums definitely helps a lot.
When it comes to drum sequencing, you generally are going to want something pretty internally consistent that creates structure for your patch. The role of percussion in music is generally to establish a consistent rhythmic backbone for the piece, so too much variance in the sequence will leave your piece feeling kind of aimless and unformed. Sequential switches that allow you to progress through different preestablished patterns at regular (or controlled random) intervals are a good way to create movement in a patch without sacrificing form, as are modulation of the sound design parameters of the drum elements themselves.
I second this question. I am unsatisfied by the “dry robotic” feel of the clocked swing. I know there is a micro time tool by orange line, but I rarely take the time to dial in a perfect swing with that. Any other options???
Agree with the importance of form here. On top of using switches to go through set patterns like you mentioned, I like to send extra triggers in those in-between moments left empty by the backbone structure and make 'em go through a Bernoulli gate so that they only hit occasionally.
And maybe it’s been brought up already, but slightly changing the amplitude of your percussive hits can add some life to your drums. And while modulating volume, why not take this further and modulate other parameters along the way (ex: the release value from your ADSR, the cutoff value from your VCF, etc.)