The mbira (aka kalimba aka thumb piano) has a peculiar sound all of its own. I think they tend to sound pretty cool, with a distinctive tone that is reminiscent of some other types of instruments but not quite exactly like anything else.
But what’s this? The Array Mbira? It has four octaves, you say? Including multiple copies of the notes? Well, then. That’s sure nifty.
Madeleine Bloom, whose Ableton Live Tutorials i wholeheartedly recommend, has sampled one such Array Mbira and assembled the results into a series of 34 Instrument Racks for Ableton Live. There are only a small handful of Ableton Live instrument craftors whose work i’ve encountered that put in the depth of care that i consider the level of the adept, and Sonic Bloom is one such. I’ve had the grateful opportunity to give the instruments a deep look and am here to report on my findings.
“But what if i want ALL of them?” you ask. Not to worry—the Brian Funk ANTHOLOGY is available, allowing you to snag all of the packs at a greatly reduced total cost. Brian spent a ridiculous amount of time creating these devices in the first place over the years, and then i spent an obscene amount of time assessing, organizing, fine-tuning, and packaging them up into self-installing ableton live packs. The price for the full anthology might seem kinda hefty at first glance, but when you realize the scope of what you are getting, it’s actually an insane deal. (By the way, be sure to check out Brian’s awesome Music Production Podcast, if you haven’t yet.)
End-of-Year Sale on PerforModule Instrument Packs!
Until the start of 2020, all of PerforModule’s Legacy Instrument Packs are available for just $1 each! That’s 40 to 80% off their normal [already discounted] prices. w00t.
The PMX instruments were fully multisampled (all 88 keys for each instrument) through a tube preamp at 96kHz for ultra-high-quality source audio. What’s extra cool about them is that i spent a huge amount of hours researching the physical instrument counterparts of each patch, setting up effects and macro controls which mimic aspects of the playability of their real physical versions. The Crystal Goblets pack is also cool, including instruments made from one of my first ever sound design projects, sampling notes played from water-filled crystal goblets in Oregon in 2006.
For the past close to a year, i’ve been working on recording and mixing a collection of original songs by Shavano, an 79-yr old piano player / singer who lives in the same mountainous, forested region of Colorado as me. He dwells in a house built with his own hands, which is powered exclusively by solar and wind energy, on an amazing property with stone-lined paths twisting here and there. It feels like something from a fantasy novel, a magical space that is totally separate from the rest of the world.
OLD NEW IDENTITY In case you haven’t heard the news, Brian Funk is no longer going by the name AfroDJMac. You can hear his thoughts on the evolution to this “new” identity at his podcast episode here.
MONIKERS CAN BE AWKWARD I recall, when i appeared on his podcast for episode 13, joking briefly about the awkwardness of monikers. So from my perspective, this shift has been a long time coming and is totally sensible. HOWEVER…. at the time it happened we were smack dab in the middle of the process of releasing a series of ADM packs, epic agglomerations of his instruments, collected into organized, self-installing, themed ableton live packs, ideal for satiating completionists who desire to access to the catalog of devices in the easiest manner possible.
Brand new plugins… promotional sales on plugins… they are SO tempting. But do you really need that new compressor plugin that just dropped?
In order to assess which plugin types are lacking in your toolbox, i recommend making a spreadsheet of all the plugins you own by category. You might discover, as i did, that you have such a vast variety of compressor options to choose from, it’s likely that you won’t benefit a whole lot from purchasing any more of them. You also might discover, like me, that you’re somewhat lacking in gate plugins, and could indeed benefit from picking up a few new models. Etc… Continue reading →
We could all use less “hmm, i wonder what this is doing exactly?” and more “aha, i understand exactly what that is doing!” moments in our lives, am i right?
Well, perhaps you have everything sorted out with absolutely perfect mental clarity at all times… but nobody that i know of does. The built-in perceptual capabilities of human bodies have limitations. Consequently, methods we can use to uncover and keep track of finer layers of detail to our perceptual input than normally possible can be quite useful for stepping outside our our usual—highly subjective and somewhat amorphous—human frame of reference.
As curator of Isotonik Sounds packs for Ableton Live, i’ve gotten the chance to preview some amazing material. It’s been a great honor to be tasked with pinpointing unique and interesting artists and nurturing their product development. -animus invidious Continue reading →