New Ableton Drum Racks: Guitar Percussion & Messy Tambourine
Greetings, friends!  I've been making music with the amazing digital audio workstation Ableton Live since I got my first Macbook in 2004...but I've mostly kept it to myself.  As I embark on the adventure of recording and publishing my first studio album in nearly a decade, I'd like to share with you some of the tools and toys I'm making for this project.  So here is my way overdue first Live Pack, containing two drum racks I'm using for sample-based electronic percussion on the new album.

I've always been a fan of cooking my beats from scratch, preferring to find my own sounds in the landscape rather than deploying "canned" samples you might here somewhere else.  This process changes how I listen to my environment, always mindful of what noises might be musical (or at least interesting).

Both of these drum racks are based on a single-take sample recorded through a Beyerdynamic M88-TG  microphone, a hypercardioid condenser mic renowned for its excellent flat EQ response and full-spectrum sound.  Both slice one sample into sixteen short clips to be triggered as percussion hits (in my case with a Keith McMillen QuNeo  MIDI controller – but you could use just about anything that will send pressure-sensitive commands).

"Guitar Percussion" is me drumming on an Alvarez-Yairi DY 72 12-string acoustic guitar I bought in Flagstaff Arizona on a whim this year after selling more art than I expected at the festival the week before.  This instrument, from 1986, is one of the most well-built 12-strings I've ever played, perfect intonation all the way up the neck, and while that's not entirely relevant to this drum rack (I'm just banging away on its cedar top and mahogany back/sides), but its legendary sound features heavily on this album.

"Messy Tambourine" is exactly that, a Layne Redmond Signature Remo Riq, an Egyptian tambourine.  I just found this thing in my house and had no idea where it came from when I made this kit, but just found out my fiancée inherited it from a now-closed music shop in Wichita, where it was signed by renowned percussionist Layne Redmond:  "In the pulse of the blood / In the beat of the drum / We are all One!"  (I can't in any way to claim to play this thing well, but that's why I pulled it part and made it an electronic drum kit instead.)

Plenty more sample-based synthesizers and drum kits to come.  My hope is that you have fun with these – and that you share whatever music they inspire!

love and thanks,

(If you would like to learn the basics of music production and performance with Ableton Live, I'm happy to get you started with lessons over video chat.  I'm eager to share more technical knowledge in the years to come, and share the joy of making music/paintings/writing/podcasts/anything I do...)

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