"Good on you for making this stuff, the AIs of the future will collect them like we collect rare groove, I feel." Matt Black of NinjaTunes' COLDCUT
Twiddling around with the Vocoder. Ableton Suite is required as Tension, Analog & Operator are used. M4L Max for Live NOT needed.
This pack includes midi files and audio clips.
Apart from the drum beats, all the sounds were made with this rack and bundled FX.
7 sounds 7 effects racks 7 colours 1 rainbow!
The Instrument rack has 7 samples chosen for their ability to work singly or in a group. The feel is self-consciously NOT trendy so you won't get a wobbly bass here though there is nothing to stop you inserting one.
The single global control fixes release length combined with filter resonance, the latter lending a subtle edginess as the note gets longer.
The effects racks are… Reverb, Chorus, Harmonics, Grain Repeats, Gate, Ping Delay, Tremolo.
I’ve made a quartet of layered instruments on Ableton Live 9 Intro to demonstrate the versatility of the relatively simple devices available in the basic set. This pack consists of 4 lead/pad combinations for ethereal sounds with a cutting edge. The leads can be filtered and the 4 individual sounds on each instrument can all be remixed almost infinitely. Each instrument in Whitebox Quartet also features 3-band EQ.
I've taken some samples off the Live 8 Ambient and Evolving racks and put them into a Live 9 Intro rack to make a combination instrument that sweeps from an upfront keyboard sound to a distant trippy pad.
'Key/Pad Balance' sweeps from one sample to the other using the Filter Frequency. Both samples have this parameter mapped to the single macro and I've used the opposite filter types on each: 'Key' has HP24 while 'Pad' has LP24. This gives the impression of a cross-fade as the dial is turned.
'Short or Long' is fairly obvious. Not so obvious perhaps is the mapping to both Decay and Release on both samples. Attack and Sustain are up to you.
The remaining dials are self-explanatory.
Experiment with the settings to explore the variations and don't hesitate to drop-in any samples you like...
1.ThinDriftinGamelanFairlight: A Jimi Hendrix amp model, a couple of marimba samples off an early Beta of Live 9, some street bells, a Fairlight choir mix balanced altogether into this lush, heady, slightly 80's soundscaper. Nothing exotic required, just Live 9 Intro.
2.MOFO: Four separate sounds that work together or singly, or in any combination you choose. I've taken a metallic sample with a long reverb as a bass pad, a glassy marimba edit to provide mid-range attack, a dark and nasty Tension string-scrape for edge and finally, the MOFO itself. This is a jazz guitar with a twangy resonator/filter balance to give it a funky keyboard flavour reminiscent of a clavinet. All four sounds can then be treated with a redux/downsampler variant to give the mix a "tuned-in on Short wave radio" quality. If you've heard the demo on Soundcloud you'll realise the appealing combination of near and far atmospheres capable with this thing. Open up the box and tweak all the parameters to you heart's content.
3.SAMURAI: as featured on the Ableton site. A layered instrument made with Ableton Live 9 Intro to demonstrate the versatility of the relatively simple devices available in the basic set.
This is a combination of Buzzheng and Light and Dark teamed with midi effect Insen Scale to deliver a variable faux oriental soundmaker.
A remix of the Tenser Rack I made last year (at bottom of this page), aimed at being an interesting drone producer, if such a thing is possible! The body of the sound generator is TENSION. This has the addition of my own Rainbow FX V2 which features Erosion, Resonator, Vocoder, Grain Repeats, Glue, Ping and Corpus.
Listen out for that creaking bass on the demo below. Apart from the drum loop, all the sounds were made with this rack and bundled FX.
SPOTFIELD is a cheap and nasty Max for Live synth with 16 presets to save time twiddling. Just click any of the spots. Also included is Rainbow FX V2.
Take the lid off the box inside Max to change the presets. You may be surprised to find that all the sounds on this demo, (except the drumloop) were created with this gizmo.
A modern jazz quartet improvising in Ableton? Well, near enough.
I've taken Max for Live's snappily titled M4l.bg.15.AllTogether random sequence generator and inserted separate instances of it onto four different instruments: piano, guitar, percussion and double bass. This rack uses TENSION and ELECTRIC as the sound generators.
You'll notice that without too much tweaking the Max gizmo is pretty funky, especially if you put it into a 64-bar backwards and forwards random repeat thing. Are there some secret jazzers over at Cycling 74?
I've added in some AMP stuff for live sounding realism and some user-variables (using RESONATOR) that give the impression of a guitarist strumming (with a fuzz-box) rather than playing lead. AND a bit of a trick on the Percussion sound (it's actually TENSION playing a marimba) that makes it go scratchy if you mess with it. Try it out.
The double bass (TENSION again) is on a separate track so you don't have to use the M4L Carbonised Wood REVERB on it but you'll probably want to use the GLUE compressor.
You will notice there are no recorded clips in this rack. Just hit PLAY and see what happens... DO play with the variables. Do play trumpet.
Thinking of randomising sounds in an Eno-esque way I put four samples into a rack (naming them as vaguely as possible: AFTER BEFORE DURING EARLIER) and used Max's brilliant Device randomiser on three of them. One remains fairly straight to provide a sense of a root note.
Then I added a specific (variable) effect to each sound:
Mess around with this until it makes some biscuits. FREE till your cows come home.
Tension meets Corpus meets Delayed Hall Reverb creating cracked violin gamelan. An unpredictable instrument! Macros are tuned to Excitator Type/Damping, Body Type, Pickup Position, Resonator Tune/Type, Hall Delay Level and Volume. Related to yet more dangerous than Whitebox Tenser Rack, this one needs that Limiter. Use with care.
Tension and Corpus required.
Ableton's TENSION is linked to CORPUS effect DRUM REZO GATE to create a broken guitar instrument. Three included extra variations on the rack develop into a more abrasive electric blues guitar set-up WITHOUT using any amp modelling.
Tension and Corpus required.
Simpler is loaded with Ableton's Limette sample then given an unpredictable Filter frequency, Spread, Glide Time, Filter Resonance and Loop Start with Max's Device Randomiser. Further processed with Beat Repeat (requires transport ON) and Simple Delay this is an intriguing if rather demanding sound creator. Drop ANY sample into it, of course.