Song of the Week: February 4 – “Free Range”

Having a day off last week on account of the snowpocalypse that completely shut down the entire state of Georgia, I had the opportunity to write another song of the week. I took to the interwebs to look for some ideas and inspiration, and ran across some pretty cool videos over at The Keyboardist Blog, and also found some really cool free plugins.

The first one was an iPad app called Yellofier VW, by none other than Boris Blank, which I ran across on Synthtopia. Yellofier is a loop creation program, that allows you to sample any sound directly from your iPad, and then very quickly and easily turn those samples into playable loops sounds. It gives you the ability to edit the samples, and play them back in a drum-pad-style sequencer matrix. I didn’t really use it for actually arranging anything, though it give you enough space to arrange an entire song. The introduction percussion track was created by sampling a fork on a counter and crumpling up a piece of plaster.

Hunting around a bit more, I found another interesting synth by Futucraft called Kariatune. A very flexible synth with tons of cool and very playable presets, Kariatune sounds like it’s geared towards dance and electronica artists. It has a great effects section (a delay with HPF and BPF), a phaser, and a spread function for stereo field effect. This synth can be heard as a “delay synth” in the beginning of the song at about 0:05.

Another freebie that made it’s way into this tune is Automat by Alphakanal. At first I had some difficulty in getting it installed correctly, as there’s no manual indicating where to put the support files, which contains some .WAV file samples. But once I did, I was very impressed with it’s big sound. It’s being used for the massive saw synth pad stabs and chords, and doubling the bass in many passages, mimicking a Prophet 5 or CS-80.

Another interesting synth is the free Piano One by Sound Magic. Admittedly the application of this piano in this mix doesn’t allow you to hear the nuance of this synth. It does have some strange properties, like a weird off-pitch squeak whenever you release the notes in the higher registers, but you can’t really hear it in this piece. Just the same, it was free, and sounded good enough to use.

Below is a list of some of the other instruments used in the song:

  • Dune CM (Synapse) – synth bass, panned slightly left
  • Cyclone (SonicCharge) – Yamaha TX16W emulator, heavy attack synth bass
  • Automat (AlphaKanal) – heavy saw synth pad stabs (1:04), chords (1:21)
  • Kariatune (Futucraft) – delay synth, introduction (0:05)
  • Piano One (Sound Magic) – heavy reverb piano melody (1:51)
  • Yellofier VW (Boris Blank) – percussion samples (intro and throughout)
  • Arturia Minimoog V– synth leads (0:57)
  • Arturia Jupiter 8V – synth filter sweeps (1:16)
  • NI Kontakt Polymoog samples – pads, doubling piano lead parts (0:37 and 1:51)
  • NI Kontakt Mellotron choir (0:58)
  • NI Kontakt Abbey Road Drums

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