Yamaha’s CP-35 may fall short of being a classic, but it is capable of some pleasant, dreamy sounds. That is, if you can actually lift it. Impossibly heavy and cumbersome, here’s a job for sampling if ever there was one. A free Ableton Live rack gives you convenient access to the instruments and live effects. I should note, by the way, that Ableton Live is not a prerequisite to using the samples

AfroDjMac, aka Brian, aka Nairb Funk, aka the guy who’s been giving us the gift of tons of free Ableton Live stuff, talks to CDM. He shares some thoughts on how he put together this rack and what his approach was. He also tells us about a project to make 100 one-of-a-kind CDs, all unique, all hand-painted – which, in turn, explains what’s up with these cowboys in the picture.

The CP-35. I tried to copy the effects that are present on the original CP-35 (tremolo and flanger) while adding a few additional ones (delay, chorus, vibrato). This particular keyboard has been on many recordings I’ve done in the past and offers everything from a nice subtle “backbone” to guitar chords, to some prominent lead melodies (adding distortion or running it through a guitar amp an be a lot of fun). I’m finding I can get an extremely wide range of tones running this through Ableton’s Amp/Cabinet plug ins. Maybe in the future I’ll record some shorter samples and reverse them to create something similar to my reversed piano rack.

[At top is] a better picture with some of our mascots from the soon to be release “Cowboys and Synthesizers EP.” My collaborator SuperKid and I painted 100 album covers, made a large collage from them, and then took a picture of them all. That picture is the actual album art, and when we release the hard copy, the first 100 will be 1/100 of the actual album art.

I really like the idea of something hand made, especially these days when everything is so digital and mass produced; we are making an EP that has some tangible, original artwork. Hopefully it’ll give people a reason to want an actual copy and not just a digital version. I love how your album has an actual painting as the artwork. Sometimes in the digital realm it is easy to forget that people’s hands actually touched and crafted the art.

More on both these stories, plus the free CP-35 download:

Free Weekly Ableton Live Rack #9: Yamaha CP-35 Rack

“Cowboys and Synthesizers” EP artwork preview

And if you feel the need to get a bit crafty. (I love craft time with glitches and cowboys…)