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Deconstruction: Justin Bieber – ‘Intentions’ in Ableton Live

We’re back with another deconstruction, this time with David Harrow – a music industry legend and lead Point Blank LA instructor.

For this deconstruction, we’re pulling back the curtain on Justin Bieber’s infectious track ‘Intentions’. ‘Intentions’ was released as the second single from his fifth studio album Changes and features Migos’ Quavo. The track itself was produced by Poo Bear and ‎The Audibles and is a stripped-back melodic trap beat which revolves around a hooky arp. ‘Intentions’ peaked at no.1 in Bieber’s home country Canada as well as no.8 in the UK Singles Chart.

If you’re new here and not familiar with what a deconstruction entails, it’s where we take a well-known track, break it down to its core elements and recreate it before your very eyes. Want to learn how to deconstruct tracks yourself as well as anything and everything music-making related? Then check out our courses in London, LA and Online. Plus, we’re currently offering 25% off our selected online and LA courses until December 31st using the codes ONLINE25 and LA25 when enrolling.

To kick off the deconstruction, David Harrow runs through some of the song’s music theory noting that ‘Intentions’ features a three-chord pattern in A Major. He then lays down the drums for the track punching in a simplistic beat consisting of hi-hats, a snare and a bass drum. To play in the arpeggiated melody, he slows down the track before showing how you can find any melody using Ableton’s “Convert Melody to MIDI Track” function. Last but not least, he beefs up the track with an 808 bass shot.

David Harrow has been working in the industry for a lengthy amount of time amassing a wealth of envious credits. From his beginnings in the post-punk scene in the 80s, he has been present in groundbreaking sounds from New Wave to Neue Deutsche Welle. He dabbled in punk-dub and out-there experimentalism with On-U Sound, San-Fran Disco with giants like Sylvester, Ambient voyaging with The Orb and grubby raves with the king of chuggers Andrew Weatherall. His name even pops up in drum & bass, trance, and west-coast bass music and he landed a pop smash with Billy Ray Martin. Today his output hovers between widescreen soundscapes and percussive soundtracks, but suffice it to say there isn’t much worth knowing that David Harrow hasn’t been involved with in some way.

These deconstructions are a tool we use frequently to teach elements of composition and arrangement but to get the full picture we recommend you study with us. The most comprehensive study we offer is our flagship degree programme, the BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering (also available online). We’ve also recently launched a brand new degree – the BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ PracticeGet in touch to find out more.

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