Free Weekly Ableton Live Rack #10: AfroDJMac Broken Bells Rack

Xylophone, Glockenspiel, Bells?

There’s a certain feeling created by the sound of the xylophone, maybe it is memories of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood or all the simple musical toys children have, but, to me, the sound is very reminiscent of childhood.  This week’s download is created from samples of two different xylophones.  One, I bought at a music store for about a hundred bucks and another belongs to my friend DF, who plays in an excellent noise rock band from Brooklyn called Imaginary Weapons (check them out, it’s very melodic, noisy, contemplative guitar rock woven together with some beautiful synth parts).   The synth you are getting this week is actually four instruments in one.  The first two are the xylophones layered together.  These can be mixed together to your preference.  Next, while thinking about the nostalgia I get from the xylophone, and how our memories are often distortions of what really happened, I decided to reverse the samples and layer those over the original sounds.  So, when you hit the notes, a traditional xylophone sounds, but then a reversed xylophone creeps back in with an echo of those same notes.  You can play the instrument with just the normal xylophones, just the reversed ones, or a blend of both.  The reversed xylophones are being moved around the stereo spectrum via LFOs, which adds the the cerebral effect I am going for with this instrument.

*A special note to this weeks download.  Just because you are not an Ableton Live user, does not mean you are excluded from the fun.  The actual samples are included and can be imported into your DAW of choice.  Instructions on how to do so are included in the download.  On this collection, the samples go from notes  A,B,C,D,E,F,G,A  for three octaves*


While making The Red Stripe Bottle Rack, I created a little jam that has since been evolving into a full song, check out the work in progress here.  It’s a live run through of the song, much of it is improvised, and it is starting to come to life. Feel free to comment and offer any suggestions.

As this is the 10th rack in the series, I’d like to say thank you all for downloading and spreading the word.  The response has been so much greater than I imagined it would be, and when I put up that first Ableton rack, I had no idea so many people would become interested.  It has inspired me to keep coming up with new ideas.  Thanks for your support!