By Soniccouture | 04.11.2023
Drum machines from the 1980s seem to dominate dance music, hip-hop, chart pop and contemporary music in general.
Yet there seem to have been very few new examples of that genre which take advantage of modern sampling techniques.
The drum rompler /sample library is certainly ubiquitous, with hundreds of instruments offering different styles of ultra realistic acoustic drum kits – and in many ways it would be fair to say that these are the natural evolution of the ‘drum machine’, since the aim of those early models was to offer the most natural sounding accompaniment that technology could muster at the time; the ways in which they fell short have ironically become the sonic character beloved to producers everywhere. It is also true that there are now many recreations and modernised versions of the classic boxes, particularly the TR-808 and TR-909.
The common format of the classic drum machine has contributed many useful factors to rhythm production. For example, having only two ‘velocity’ layers – ‘Accent’ and ‘Normal’ – lends its own clean rhythmic compression to a drum track, freeing up space in the mix where all the myriad shades of true drum dynamics would have been. The static or almost static nature of the sounds themselves allow a timbral repetition and transient consistency which is attractive in a rhythm track, although far from ‘natural’. Step based sequencing gives an immediate & intuitive method for building layered rhythms.
AC-DR: Acoustic Drum Machine
We wanted to try to create something in the spirit of the original boxes – a new instrument using acoustic drum samples. Instead of the tiny, static samples of the LinnDrum or EMU Drumulator, we would be free to use as much recorded audio as we liked – but instead of trying to recreate a real drum kit, we would try to create something with the spirit of an 808 or 909.
This means an instrument designed for use in electronic music, that would fit into the same kind of productions and sonic spaces. Something that would offer an ‘analogue’ sensibility to digital drum samples by splitting them down into component parts for tweak-ability. Instead of the hundreds of velocity layers of the drum rompler, the dynamics should be narrow: just Accent and Normal. To add a sense of liveliness, the modern practice of ‘round-robin’ sampling would be employed; this is an crucial point, because where a LinnDrum type digital drum machine’s defining sound is the ‘machine-gun’ repetition of single hits, the classic analogue machines (808 etc) have an organic ‘chatter’ to them, where each hit is demonstrably a unique electronic event, with small variations in tuning and timbre. A modern drum machine should seek to re-create this appealing sense of life within very tight parameters: the round-robins must not be so audible that a minimal 4/4 repetition reveals obvious variation as this would be distracting in a production. The desired effect would be entirely subliminal, noticeable only when switched off..
Part II: ‘The Sampling Process’ – Coming SoonClose Close
By Soniccouture | 09.03.2023
Geosonics II: Seasons is a new sound pack by Ramon Kerstens & Richard Veenstra. Featuring a journey through the different stages of a year, it’s a fascinating sound design concept that features 128 different snapshots.Read More
In this new video, Richard Veenstra selects some of his favourite patches and talks us through the process involved in creating them.Close Close
By Soniccouture | 30.06.2022
Sun Drums 1.1 is available for download from your user account.Read More
This enables you to quickly adjust the mapping to suit a different MIDI layout ( e.g. e-drums) and then store it into one of 20 preset slots.
The update ships with some ready-made presets to get started with:
GM1, GM2, Roland TD series, Yamaha DTX, Alesis Crimson II, Addictive Drums, Ez Drummer, SD2, NI Abbey Road Drummer.
Additional presets can be stored in the USER SLOTS.
The update is currently only available from your Soniccouture user account. It will go live in Native Access in a few weeks.Close Close
By Soniccouture | 11.01.2022
On 13th Jan 2022 we launch the new Scanner soundpack for Geosonics II. Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) will be online at the Youtube Premiere to take questions about the sound pack, his work or maybe just synths & gear in general.Read More
The Premiere will take place at 8.30PM (GMT) on YouTube. Click the video below.
Scanner, James & Dan from Soniccouture will be in the chat window to the right of the video.
By Soniccouture | 04.01.2022
BBC1’s new Attenborough series – Wonder Of Song – is a fascinating exploration of the nature and sonic detail of bird song. It features landmark recordings of different bird (and other animal) calls, and breaks them down using spectragraphs to understand them better.Read More
David Mitcham composed the music for the series, and he got in touch to let us know that a number of Soniccouture instruments feature prominently in the score.
“My unashamedly romantic score features lots of your Hammersmith piano and your Celeste as well as the odd contribution from your Crotales here and there. It also has some beautiful solo cello playing from Will Schofield and some great accordion from Eddie Hession.”Close Close