Abletonalies – Let’s Do It
A songwriting tool along with a few vocal packs – what else do you need to make a hit? Actually, just a few drum loops.
by Alex Arsov, September 2015
In this issue we would like to present to you two things. The first is an amazing tool that can help you start your song off, helping you chose harmonies and build those essential variations around the progression. It’s ideal for beginners, but also for more advanced users. Whenever inspiration doesn’t strike, it can be just the right solution for you. Next is the new vocal packs from Production Loops. After you finish your arrangement with Sundog Scale Studio, you can add a few vocals from these packs and you’re nearly there. Making a song in just a few clicks, without any instruments. A nightmare for all live musicians.
Sundog Scale Studio by Feelyoursound
It is one of the most interesting and fascinating song-writing tools that I have seen till now. It can help you find just the right chord progression, one that maybe you never thought of. It can help you build a bassline or to find some new melodic patterns. It is a great tool for those that are not familiar with harmonies, ditto for those that just want to explore some other options. In one sentence, it is producer’s best friend.
A stand-alone application that can be connected to your DAW through any virtual MIDI cable, or you can made a whole song inside Sundog Scale Studio and export it as MIDI. After watching a few video clips I felt ready to give it a try. All you need is to set the bass notes and off you go. In a few minutes I arrived at a really cool chord progression, and then tried some other options, like building patterns, basslines, drums and similar. There isn’t a massive number of basslines in the pattern library, and the same goes for arpeggiated patterns, but the good thing is that all those basses and arpeggiated lines could be further edited by pressing a few buttons and building variations, like building a house from Lego bricks. Also, Sundog Scale Studio use the “Microsoft Wavetable Synthesizer” for a General MIDI sound set, so you can easily work anywhere on almost any computer, especially as the program is not particularly CPU hungry, exporting the end result for further usage in your mighty DAW.
The interface is not very complicated, still offering large quantity of options, from velocity and swing settings, solo, mute, octaves, tempo, length in bars and others, along with various options in the main drop down menus. All in all, you can build an arrangement up to 15 channels wide using different internal instruments, or even the ones you have in your DAW when you connect up Sundog Scale Studio through virtual MIDI cables.
Sundog Scale Studio also offers you around 300 different scales to start with, so if you’re into something more exotic, up you go. For just €39 EUR you can get a faithful song-writing dog that will be with you until the end of the world (or at least for as long as you don’t learn harmonies well enough for yourself). No matter how skilled or unskilled you are, this one could help you to push your song writing into some new directions.
On the Sundog Scale Studio site you will find instructions of how to connect it to your favourite DAW, including for our beloved Live.
Back to Vocals
In a previous column we already explained why we cover so many vocal packs. Well, a new issue, and more new vocal packs. Being an EDM/electro musician, you can never get enough these packs. It’s not so easy to find good vocalists these days, and as long as you only need a few phrases to push your instrumentals a bit further, there is no better solution than buying these cheap instant solutions that can help you to get signed.
Producer Loops – European House Vocals Vol 1
Male vocals have become more and more popular lately, so this pack brings a good quantity of not so short male vocal phrases, somewhat longer than you can find in many other packs. Phrases in this pack are recorded in A, E, B and G# minors scales. Along with vocals you also get stems with other instruments – strings, bass, synths and similar – and a few one-shot samples, mainly drums, as well as MIDI takes for some of the instruments. I have to say that I was never too keen on using those pre-recorded instrumental phrases, I’m more after just pure vocal packs, but these are quite rare. One way or another, if you buy this pack just to get a vocal take it is still a good deal. At €41.16 EUR this pack is not the cheapest, but finding a good male vocal is harder than finding a needle in a haystack these days.
Producer Loops – Deep House Vocals Vol 1 and 2
Five construction kits in F, D, C, G and B major scales. Not such long phrases, as in previous packs, but all phrases are really inspiring and still a bit longer than we are used to from some of the older packs. All vocals are recorded by male and female vocalists. We get dry and wet versions along with single vocal phrases with additional sub-directories for Bridge, Chorus and Verse parts. As I wrote for the previous pack, I’m not so keen on using the instrumental parts that come along with vocals, but those that come with Deep House Vocals Vol 1 & 2 are so tempting, that it could easily happen that I break my rule.
Similar story as in Vol 1, just different scales, this time A#, D# twice and F and G, all major scales. If you are into Tropical House or Deep House, there is more than enough material on these two packs to make you happy for a long time, at least until the next issue. Vol 1 and 2 share the same price, €41.16 EUR each.
Free for everyone
It is always nice to find something that is not so abusive on our pockets. Enjoy exploring some quality drum loops, sound effects and music loops. Orange Free Sounds http://www.orangefreesounds.com/ is like a free local market. I’m sure you’ll find something to suit your needs.