Rob Papen’s brand new virtual synthesizer Blade released yesterday. The price is € 99USD 119 (introduction price until end of May) and is available http://www.robpapen.com/blade.html.
The minute I saw teaser videos from NAMM I knew I’d be getting Blade because of it’s fresh immediate and expressive approach to additive synthesis. I became part of the beta team and since January I’ve been helping out by beta testing, making suggestions for features, and also creating new sounds.
While I’ve been releasing patches for various synths via Patchlab for sometime, this is the first time some of my patches made it into the factory library of a commercial synth – woot! The screen shot above is one of my patches called “Nano Swarm Drone” where I flood the XY path with sustained notes using the Strum feature.
After you buy or download the demo, you can checkout my patches by clicking “Manager” then “Find” and enter “ MM”.
There are just tons of great factory patches from Rob and other sound designers as well giving you lots to start with. I encourage you to poke around and reverse engineer some patches. Remember the XY can be both a modulation source and target and can be mapped to a majority of parameters (filter, FX params…) not just the additive synth engine. Also note that he filters , FX (including the new tape effects added to Predator in December) and modulation system are straight out of Predator so they sound great and if you know Predator you’ll feel right at home in Blade.
Unfelds is a series of downloadable field recordings that are free donationware made available under Creative Commons licence. Denver-based sound designer and fellow Ableton Colorado member James Tobin’s work is featured in u. nfields12 “cruzin'. James also contributed a Sounds from a Distant Outpost composition “Subdude's First Excursion To The Outpost” last year. James describes this set of fields recordings:
“these sounds were recorded on a cruise trip from seattle to alaska. when i first learned that my wife and i would be taking this trip i was immediately excited by the opportunity to record such a foreign and strange environment. you see, here in denver we don't have many ships. a few boats, yes, but certainly no ships. the ms oosterdam did not disappoint. she had all kinds of great sounds around. i did run into one little unforeseen difficulty -- traveling with 3,000 people can make it a little hard to capture good, clean recordings, especially when they all want to talk about "that fuzzy thing" with me. nonetheless, i was able to find some time away from the crowds and enjoy the sounds of a ship on my own. i certainly had a fantastic time recording these sounds, and i hope they inspire you to create some fantastic new instruments. happy noise-making!
i used a zoom q3hd stereo recorder to record these sounds at 24 bit/48khz. the sounds that appear here are recorded and unprocessed, aside from dithering down to 16bit/44.1khz and adding metadata.
Visit the unfeld page to download a 99MB zip file with sounds and some great photos by James. There are some cool recordings in the library with my favorite being “unfields12_14_-_whipping_wind”. To support Jame’s work you can also make a donation while there.
Puremagnetik just released a new sound library of high quality multisampled wooden marimba instruments called MalletPak One. This Micropak was created in collaboration with Richard Lainhart. In addition to being an award-winning composer, author, and filmmaker – Richard also spent a number of years as a jazz vibraphonist. Puremagnetik conducted a great interview on the trajectory of Richard’s musical journey which I linked to at the bottom of this post.
I met Richard for the first time earlier this month at Electro-Music 2011 and I also caught his wonderful live performance. When I read that he was involved with this Micropak I reached out to him for some additional information on this library. Richard was kind enough to send me some high-rez photos from the recording session (click the photos to enlarge).
According to Puremagnetik, the vibraphones were “recorded in a reflective room with a pair of Shure KSM32s in an ORTF configuration to capture the wide stereo field of the instrument..”
The Micropack contains a collection of 13 multisampled instruments in Ableton Live Pack, Kontakt, Renoise and Apple Logic formats. There are over 900 high quality samples under the hood and the samples include “multiple mallet types, hit variations and sophisticated velocity.” I’ve embedded the audio samples from Puremagetik’s Soundcloud set below.
I bought the Ableton Live format of the library and I’m really enjoying it. The source samples from Richard are fantastic and the collaboration with Purmagnetik has resulted in an excellent use of Ableton Live racks that I’ve come to expect from Puremagnetik. The macro knobs offer excellent performance articulations of the marimba. Some patches are programmed to take the sound into the synthetic realm with excellent use of AM and FM synthesis and Ableton effects.
Puremagnetik System B Micropaks
This is not the first time Richard has collaborated with Puremagnetik. They have also released two Micropak’s based on Richard’s work with the Buchla 200e modular analog synthesizer. The instruments in these libraries are based on a dense and complex master performance patch that was years in the making by Richard. Here is an excerpt from the interview Puremagnetik conducted with Richard that offers more detail:
The reason I got the Buchla in the first place was to have a flexible modular system that I could perform with, which the Buchla is ideal for because of its patch memory. So, since I've gotten it, I've been developing and adding to one master performance patch, which lets me change its configuration quickly in performance but still allows for the maximum degree of sonic variety. That's the patch you're referring to, and which by now, after a couple of years of work, has gotten pretty dense and complex. The Continuum interfaces with that patch via the Continuum Voltage Convertor, or CVC. The Continuum senses finger position on its surface in three dimensions - horizontal, vertical, and depth or pressure - and the CVC converts the data stream from the Continuum into a set of 12 separate control voltages of three dimensions of control for up to four separate voices. Most of the patches are set up so that the X dimension controls pitch, Y controls filtering, and Z controls amplitude, but there are some patches where the Y dimension controls oscillator waveshaping or timbre modulation,for example, or the Z dimension control modulation index. It all depends on the patch and what I want to be able to control in that particular sound, and the system has a lot of flexibility that way.
To put this in more concrete terms, checkout this fantastic video of Oraison, composed by Olivier Messiaen in 1937 for six Ondes Martenot, transcribed for Buchla 200e synthesizer and Haken Continuum Fingerboard controller and performed by Richard in 2009.
B-System Basses and Leads Features: A richly programmed library of Buchla leads & basses from the synth arsenal of Richard Lainhart.
• Over 1000 24-bit Buchla 200e samples
• 20 expertly programmed multisampled instruments
• 30 Ableton Live Clips with integrated Macros and effects
• 30 Apple SIAL loops
• Custom Kontakt KSP GUI and native Kontakt effects
B-System Percussives Features: A unique sonic adventure through 10 electronic drum kits and 40 rhythmic loops recorded from an original Buchla 200e modular synthesizer.
• Over 650 24-bit electronic percussion samples • 10 expertly programmed kit menus • 40 Ableton Live Clips with integrated Macros and effects • 40 Apple SIAL loops • Custom Kontakt KSP GUI and native Kontakt effects
Again, both of these Micropaks are simply excellent and highly recommended. I especially like the “Morphopox” instrument in Basses and Leads and the “Voltog” kit in Percussives.
Get the Micropaks Note that MalletPak One is the current Micropak so you need to be a subscriber to get this today. Subscribers pay $5.75 a month or $60 per year. B-System Micropaks are available to those with an “All Access Pass” or for a $12 fee for everyone else.
More on Richard’s Work Watch for a future “Music Monday” post featuring some of Richard’s Releases. Till then use the social links below to explore his work. I think we’ll also see some future collaborations between Richard and Puremagnetik in the future so watch for those Micrpaks as well.
Note: I'm updating this soundset so it's currently offline.
On December 17th, 2010 I released the Sounds from a Distant Outpost FREE Live Pack. Now, a little over a month later there have been over 1,000 downloads! Update on 6/13/2011: Just about to hit 2,000 downloads :^).
The most exciting thing for me is that a two people have REALLY dug into the 12 instruments in the Live Pack and have taken the time to compose tracks using ONLY instruments from this pack.
I’ve attached their two songs plus a third I created below. It’s pretty fantastic that while we didn’t directly collaborate all the works are quite different yet sound they all sound like they are telling stories from the same universe.
I think it would be pretty cool to create an album or score a film with multiple composers sharing the same custom yet limited instrument palette like this.
“Subdude's First Excursion To The Outpost” First up is an awesome offering by James Tobin (aka Subdude), Denver, USA - www.jamestobin.info.
I’ve finished programming the racks for the upcoming sound library. I’m going through each instrument and tuning any samples that have pitch to concert pitch. I like doing a first pass by ear which requires a reference pitch.
A quick way to do this generate a fixed pitch for reference is to use Ableton Operator.
Click the Fixed button for Oscillar A
Turn the Freq knob to the desired pitch. Mouse over the number below the knob and type in the frequency you need.
I then create a midi clip that plays a note. I start the clip, then can navigate away to other tracks.
I used Absynth and Ableton Live to create this sound scape which made up of synthesis, and real-time processing of audio from field recordings. The first recording is a Morse code key I recorded at a train museum in Cape Cod. The second is a recording I made of crowd noise at a University of Colorado basketball game.
I wanted to mention that Absynth 1 was the first virtual synth I bought back in the day. I’ve kept up with it all these years and upgraded to 5 right away when it came out (see this vid showing off some Absynth 5 features). It’s still one of my most used synths so I’m happy to see that it’s winning in the readers poll.
PRODUCTION NOTES I created a custom patch in Absynth 5. I'm sending MIDI notes from an Ableton Live clip to Absynth. This causes Oscillator A to play a fractalized waveform that is morphed by a stepping envelope.
Oscillator B is set to "Audio In" and I'm routing field recording samples playing in Live audio clips to this Oscillator.
Oscillator C is a single hybrid waveform. This oscillator's Amp, Pitch and Morph params are modulated live audio signals routing through Oscillator B using "Audio Mod". The first audio clip is the field recording of the Morse code key. The second clip is the crowd sound. The pulsing nature of the sound during the crowd section is a result of AMP envelope on Oscillator B.
Mark Mosher VLOG–2010 Holiday Soundpack Session #1
In this video I’m working on an instrument rack that will end up in Ableton Live 8 Livepack format so anyone with any edition of Live 8 will be able to access the patch. The sound in the video start with found sound which I resysnthesize with an additive synth, then resample back into Ableton Sampler. Then lots of programming.
I will then use the same samples to create a version of the patch in either Absynth 5, Alchemy, or Blofeld depending on the results of the reader poll.
Why did I pick Absynth5/Alchemy/Blofeld for potentials in addition to Livepack? They all support using your own samples as OSC source and every patch I'm working is rooted in found sound, or re-synthesis/resampling so harmonic content is original.