AfroDJMac’s FirecRACKer Synth (Free Weekly Ableton Live Rack 17)

Colorful visuals, colorful sounds

Fireworks light up the sky with beautiful colors and patterns for the eyes.  But can they do the same for the ears?  We are about to find out…  This weeks Free Ableton Live Rack, “The AfroDJMac FirecRACKer Synth, “ was made entirely from the sounds of the fireworks screaming through the sky over Long Island, New York on July 4, 2011.

I recorded the sound of neighborhood firecrackers and brought them into The Granulator, a free granulating synthesizer that comes with Max for Live.  (I haven’t spent a lot of time with this, but it seems pretty awesome).  After messing about, I was able to get some nice grainy sounds and then sampled that sound and brought it into Ableton’s samplers.  The result is a nice, textural pad/keyboard sound, as well as a thunderously dirty and fat bass sound.  A couple weeks ago I thought I was going to develop a rather ferocious synth using guitar feedback (Free Ableton Synth #15: Fender Feedback Rack), but the results were unexpectedly mellow and smooth.  This week is much different.  I put this synth together to offer the naturally rich timbre that the fireworks created, but also to give you about as ferocious a sound as I could, given the source material.  It seems appropriate to me that a firework, which is essentially an explosive device, should deliver a fierce earth shaking bass.  Next time you play one of your tracks for your friends you can nonchalantly brag “that bass was created with explosives.”

As always, I’d love to hear what you are doing with these racks, so send me any tunes you make and maybe I’ll post them up here. Thanks for your support and if you haven’t done so, stop by Facebook and give a like or a comment, and join me on Twitter.


Now here is some music that couldn’t be more unrelated to what we’ve been discussing.  It’s an acoustic guitar based track I recorded on the OP-1, which I’m finding is pretty awesomely handy as a portable four-track recorder.