Who Are We? Where Are We Going: Part 2

Designing pad sounds from scratch is fun. For me, it can be a crutch. They’re lovely but sometimes they feel like cheating. I’ll spend a few hours stretching or reverb-ing a source sound that I like, then assign pitches in Kontakt. It's a meditative thing and feels subconscious.


Then I finish designing the sound. And push a lone key on the keyboard to generate richly textured sounds that can make anything sound like a composition. It becomes easy to forget good music theory because most things instantly sound awesome. And for this project, I don’t want to rely on synthetic pads. I’m sticking with my rule of ‘organic' instruments only. But as I don't want to crash and burn straight out of the gate, I need a pad replacement to start with. First instrument I thought of was a nice soft organ.

I played around with a couple pump and reed organs. I was lucky enough to grow up with a pump organ in the house and have a nostalgic understanding of them. Spent hours manipulating some of the available NI Kontakt instruments and one from Soniccouture & Rhythmic Robot. But the resulting sounds didn't feel quite right to me (apologies for the background noise).

I like the chords but the sound isn't quite right. Feels too piratey.

Oddly enough, I found a freebie pipe organ that hit all the right valves (pun intended). The Sample Phonics Town Hall Organ, preset 1 is a real beauty! Here it is completely dry:

7th chords just sound soooo niccce.

Since I rely on synthesis and sound design a lot, I’m going to start there. But I'll replace the synthetic sounds with appropriate organic instruments. For the piece below, I started with Reaktor. Most of the sounds were a bit eccentric, but I kept the mellow bits and replaced the crazy parts with strings and harmonics.

Just released this as a single today. In it is a seed of the idea for this project. To replace electronic sounds with strings and other traditional instruments. Eventually, my goal is to have no electronics whatsoever. And the organ feels like a good place to start!

Kyle Preston