Ableton Live Packs

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Sounds From a Distant Outpost is more than a sample sound library. Over 30 hours in the making, it is a set of 12 deep and expressive Ableton Live instrument racks that will transport you to a dark and distant outpost. From here you will be able to explore the sounds, machines, and creatures of this world. 

I’ve teleported back from “The Outpost”.  It was alive with sound. I managed smuggle some audio recordings out and also recreate what I heard using machines I brought back with me.  I sent you these files in the hopes that you will fashion these sounds into instruments so others can play and control these sounds.  Share the  library so people around the world can create original soundscapes and songs and in turn share with others on the internet. Time is of the essence.  If we work together we can unlock the  mysteries of The Outpost.

I first released this as a holiday give for my Modulate This! readers back in 2010 and the Live Pack has been downloaded thousands of times since then. Here is a making-of video

The  source audio is made up of some of my field recordings as well  as original synthesized and re-synthesis harmonic content.  The concept for the instruments was based on a back-story I created as the project progressed. Fueled by the story and setting, I translated these source samples into Ableton Live racks and meticulously programmed them to create playable dynamic instruments which are placed under your command via macro parameters, velocity, after touch, and modulation wheel mappings. Each rack has info text with performance notes.

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  1. Alien Voices 
  2. Big Servos 
  3. Clock Streams 
  4. Cryclical Bell 
  5. Dark Hall 
  6. Flow of Data 
  7. Man Machine Interface 
  8. Outpost Control Room Kit 
  9. Outpost Lead 
  10. Nasty Circuit 
  11. Plasma Matrix 
  12. Singing Bowls

Download live pack

demo songs

songs using only this sound set

Fan tracks mad with this sound set

U-HE Zebra / Zebralette Sounds

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This outpost exists in the same “signals universe” as my two albums REBOOT, I Hear Your Signals, and Fear Cannot Save Us.

Phase 2 of the Outpost Experiment begins. You are teleported to an airlock within the alien outpost. Play each patch in order. Take some time with each patch. Keep the volumes low in the first pass till you get a feel for the sounds.  Play across the entire range of your keyboard. Experiment with mod wheel, velocity, and aftertouch.

Do this and you will experience the journey through the airlock which connects the outer ring of the outpost to the first inner chamber. You might hear creatures along the way so stay alert.

  1. A Looking Glass 
  2. Bowing the Sparker 
  3. Ghosts 
  4. Looking Back at Yourself 
  5. Pierce the Mist 
  6. Sensing Through Particles 
  7. Sliding Organic 
  8. String Theory 
  9. The Knowing 
  10. They Know You Are Here 
  11. Understanding Wires 
  12. Until You Learn Their Language

Project Goals 

One goal with this project is to spark your imagination and inspire you to create your own soundtrack for this world. Of course, the instruments will also help add an interesting “edge” to any sound or music project. 

Another goal was to inspire you to go deeper with synthesis with Zebra 2 (and programming in general) by giving you a smaller set of expressive patches created only with Zebralette. Since Zebralette is subset of Zebra 2 it’s well suited to this notion of boosting creativity by constraining your toolset. The manual summarizes this nicely – “Zebralette is a single oscillator plucked from Zebra2 and transplanted into a much simpler, easy-to-learn framework… The LFOs, MSEG and effects in Zebralette are also simplified versions of those in Zebra2.” For me personally, constraining myself to program within limits was a fun challenge. For example, Zebralette has no filter. This just forced me to learn new ways to transform and filter the waveforms with oscillator SpectralFX instead. As a result I understand Zebra 2 a whole lot better and will be able to get more unique sounds with a bigger sonic range. 

I encourage you to dig into some of these patches to see how I used SpectralFX, modulation, and hand drawn waveforms and wavetable synthesis to achieve some of these sounds.

    download sound sets

    Demo songs

    Sample song using only sounds from this sound set

    Fan tracks made with this sound set

    Collaborations

    Ableton Live Pack Collaborations with AfroDJMac