Grab Free Drum Kits for Ableton Live and Other Tools: Vintage, Vinyl, Synth, Pine Cone

Sometimes, it takes just that one set of sounds to unfreeze your creativity and get a song started. And that’s why freebies are sometimes such fun: they’re even a bit more odd, a handful of offbeat sounds that just begs to be turned into … something. The folks at Puremagnetik have been posting some gems to their Tumblr account. This just in: “Wicked Kits” is a collection of five drum kits pre-configured for Ableton Live. (As with any Live kit, there are raw samples you can use in any tool you like – Renoise, MPC, whatever.) The emphasis here is …

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Hey, there's a modular inside my drum machine. Images courtesy Arturia.

Watch Arturia Spark 2, as $129 Drum Machine Adds Modular Sound Design, Song and Loop Powers

For all the wonders of the hardware drum machine, there’s nothing quite like the flexibility of the software drum machine. More than mere groove-makers, beneath the conventional and familiar drum machine paradigm lies some real potential for sample manipulation and sound design. Native Instruments won over users by demonstrating the hybrid hardware/software workflow in Maschine, and various software instruments (FXpansion, anyone?) have put pressure on hardware with the sheer range of what they can do. But somewhere in the shadow of Maschine and Akai’s MPC Renaissance, Arturia’s Spark has been a little-known, compact, inexpensive challenger. And that’s why Spark 2 …

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droctorex

A Music Video Made from Sound of Clothes, Micro-Edited into a Song

Sounds and images need not be synthesized from fancy gear. The snap of a bra strap or the rustling sound of silk can become musical materials. That’s exactly what happens in Faces of N., an EP and series of music videos made from the sounds of clothing, micro-edited into visual/sonic sequences. The project is the work of Gabriel Shalom, an interdisciplinary artist whose work often treads across media, and who has fused visual and sonic content before, treating each as a single material to be manipulated. The first video is out this week, with five more to follow – one …

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Sector is a Stuttering Stochastic Sample Slicer, Using Probability and Curving Lines [iPad]

Now we know how an MPC would behave if it were engineered on planet Vulcan. If you’re tired of conventional slicers and step sequencers, Sector turns audio into glitchy, stuttering, elaborate electronic patterns. Sound is fractured into a massive circle, resembling nothing if not some sort of archaic astronomical calendar, as arcing lines connect one slice to another and brightly-colored dots in the center illuminate to show more conventional steps as they advance. Still too regular for you? Fret not. All of this is randomized for coin-flip pattern variations. Warp modes and modulation shapes, all controllable, add additional glitching and …

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Video Inside DJ Software: Mixvibes Cross 3 Adds Visual Features, Samples and Syncs Video

We’ve seen plenty of dedicated VJ products or third-party add-ons. But when it comes to mixing and management, most DJ software still focuses exclusively on music libraries. The lone exception has been the Video-SL add-on in Serato. Cross 3 from Mixvibes goes further to integrate video natively than any DJ tool previously. The new release of the software adds an extensive set of video features. And the aim remains appealing to DJs, particularly those who want Pioneer hardware integration or who come from the club scene. Mixvibes isn’t just a random developer – it’s the same company that developer rekordbox …

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dbntapes

DbN Keeps 2014 Weird: Experimental Music, Made from Found Tapes

DbN – The Found Tapes Project 2014 from DA BOOK on Vimeo. If Auld Lang Syne and predictable “best of” lists are getting you down, here’s likely the weirdest-sounding New Years’ greeting you’ll get, to kick off 2014. Düsseldorf by Night (DbN) improvises strange, creepy-beautiful soundscapes from cassettes. It turns the flea market into a sample library. It looks like the terrific iPad app Samplr gets some heavy usage in this, as well. That’s a good choice – touchable waveforms keep everything happening live, with intuitive gestures, as would jamming on an instrument. Bonus: if you see DbN’s Found Tapes …

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AudioCopy, Updated for iOS 7, Now Includes Handy Free Pasteboard App for Sounds

In the long run, iOS 7 should be a step forward for audio. There are some pretty superb new features for routing audio between apps, better selecting from different mics, and other features. But as in many of these sorts of updates, we have to first navigate some compatibility issues first, and get the bugs ironed out. (Inter-app audio is coming to apps now, but there are still some bugs that mean it doesn’t behave perfectly yet – watch for updates from Apple.) AudioCopy and AudioPaste, the popular technologies for seamlessly “copying” sounds between different iOS apps, requires the use …

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Cops on Fire: Crazy Russian Hip-hop-opera Theater, Played Live on Novation Launchpad

Imagine combining sampling, controllerism, opera, hip-hop, rap, cops, live theater, sound effects, school-play cardboard props, and radio plays, and then doing it all in Russian, and you’re getting in the ballpark of what “Cops on Fire” was like. As described in English for the 2010 Moscow trailer (translated by uploader Sasha Pas): The “Cops On Fire” show is a fusion of theater, culture and contemporary urban music. The genre of the show is “hip-hopera” (hip-hop + opera). Hip-hopera = live hip-hop arias + original decorations + stage tricks and choreography by professional artists. Got it? These guys are dedicated to …

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Samples, No Computer: $99 Akai MPX8 Combines Pads, SD Card, MIDI and USB Port

Sometimes, there are designs that seem almost impossibly like an answer to a specific need. Let us illustrate. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a box that you could play, independent of a computer, that just let you mess about with samples directly from an SD card? And wouldn’t it be nice if it had MIDI jacks on it, too, and not only USB, so that you didn’t need the computer handy? That’s the MPX8 from Akai Pro. It’s dead-simple, so you’ll do most of your sample manipulation away from the hardware. (There’s a free Mac and Windows sample editor …

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Abuse Sampling for Sound Design: Free Tutorial, Rack in Ableton Live

The response to the breaking Live 9.1 news this week was fast and furious; we were honestly surprised at the vast readership of the story. A lot of you must have multiple displays or virtual desktops you want to use (or, now, even a Push). But sometimes the best upgrade is the one you can install in your brain. Improve your technique, and an array of musical possibilities open up. Take this terrific tutorial from DJ Vespers as an example, which involves varying very small sample slices in Ableton’s Sampler to create unique pads. It works especially nicely with Sampler’s …

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