We delve into the unique production style of a dark R&B pioneer, Illangelo With a career marked by collaboration with The Weekend, Illangelo’s distinctive sound is a captivating blend of complexity and simplicity. In this article, we unravel the intricacies of his production techniques, offering insights into crafting the elusive dark R&B vibe.

Creating Atmospheric Beats with Illangelo

Illangelo’s approach centers around using sounds to build an atmosphere rather than relying on complicated music theory. A prime example is the track “Pulling Up” by Meek Mill featuring The Weekend. The entire beat revolves around smooth synth chords, showcasing Illangelo’s preference for simplicity with a purpose.

Texture Addition

To add depth, we follow Illangelo’s footsteps by incorporating textures. Taking cues from “Alone Again,” we introduce a soft bell playing a dark melody. The key is to use techniques like quarter note delay with a pitch switch for a nuanced conversation between the initial performance and the delay.

Vocal Integration

Inspired by Post Malone’s “I Fall Apart,” we emphasize vocal textures. Chopping up a vocal loop and applying reverb, EQ, and delay, we achieve a glossy sound reminiscent of distant echoes. This technique adds a layer of complexity to the overall production.

Crafting Illangelo’s Signature Arrangement

One of Illangelo’s strengths lies in the arrangement, where he takes the listener on a journey with each beat. To replicate this, we gradually introduce high-frequency elements, providing a sense of progression. Impactful transitions, such as dark vibes and distorted bass, further enhance the arrangement.

Synth Riser for the Drop

Illangelo’s drops are marked by unique synth risers with glitchy textures. Automating pitch, adding distortion, reverb, and an auto chroma, we recreate this signature sound. The result is a build-up that leads seamlessly into the hook.

Stripping Down for Vocal Emphasis

In Illangelo’s approach, once the track is built up, he strips away elements to spotlight vocals. Mimicking this, we simplify the hook, leaving room for vocals with minimal drums and synths. This minimalist approach highlights Illangelo’s ability to balance complexity and simplicity.

Diversifying with Soulful Undertones

While much of Illangelo’s work is synth-based and dark, some tracks, like “Losers” and “Tell Your Friends,” showcase a more soulful side. These songs incorporate chord progressions and guitar elements, offering a distinct vibe. The key is to blend synth textures seamlessly, as exemplified in the chorus of “Losers.”

Vintage Acoustic Drums

Taking inspiration from “Tell Your Friends,” we introduce vintage acoustic drums. Crunchy and distorted, with multiple reverbs, these drums create an atmospheric backdrop. This combination of complex drum arrangements and melodic instruments adds depth to the overall production.

The Art of Simplicity: Illangelo’s Unique Sound

Illangelo’s ability to balance complexity and simplicity sets him apart. His sound design and selection outweigh the need for intricate music theory. Aspiring producers can draw inspiration from Illangelo by experimenting with reverbs, automations, and EQs to craft their own dark R&B soundscapes.

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