I think it’s very important in electronic music to be extra wary of letting any part repeat without any change for too long. I like to add little variations all over my music. There are thousands of ways to make mini-breakdowns and fills interesting. Here’s a technique I use from time to time that involves hihats and Ableton’s Random plug-in. You can click the image above to enlarge it.
This is a fairly simple trick. In this example, I open a Drum Rack and load in a set of Sequential Circuits Drumtraks samples. You can get the same sample pack free from: http://samples.kb6.de. Next, I click on the Show/Hide Chain List icon to reveal all the samples being used and click/highlight the closed hat. I also click the Show/Hide Devices icon which reveals the closed hat’s waveform. I grab an instance of the Ableton Random plug-in and drag it in-between the waveform and the Drum Rack module. Inside the Random plug-in I set the Chance parameter to 93%, Choices to 12 and the Scale to 1.
Now whenever I want to add a little spice to a fill I drop out the kick, change a few snares, add some more HiHats and automate the Random plug-in to turn ON. Here’s an audio example. Listen to bar 4 and 8:
You can have the Random plug-in effect many different elements including filters, pans, and note lengths. If you keep the Chance Parameter set low you can add a subtle unique mark on your music.
More info about the Sequential Circuits Drumtraks: vintagesynth.com/sci/drumtrx.shtml