NEW RELEASE | FRAGMENTS – MODERN PERCUSSION
For FRAGMENTS – MODERN PERCUSSION, we were looking to design something that would push the boundaries of beat creation. To turn everything on its head, but make it all seem to flow logically and in its place, like a Wes Anderson film. And despite the label “modern”, this percussion instrument embraces organic life and is inspired from the everyday sounds that we find on the street, at home, and even on ourselves.
It’s a quirky instrument that will undoubtedly become a go-to percussion for composers and musicians seeking a different and unique sound. Designed with ingenious randomization options and an interesting and dynamic set of source sounds, composers and musicians will find endless inspiration.
Our instrument designers Matthias Meeh and Jonas Hausotter wanted to create fresh and unique rhythms for their own music and came up with the idea to build an instrument from the ground up. “The idea came from two things: One was a track that Jonas did a few years ago, which had unique percussion elements like a nail clipper used as a bass drum. And I also wanted more unusual percussion sounds for my compositions.”
Jonas himself was inspired by the musician Max Cooper. “He has a song where it sounds like he uses many samples and other sounds that sometimes resemble rain. I was tired of hearing the same percussion in every song… they all sound so similar. So I liked that idea of using field recordings or other unconventional sounds for percussion.”
And so FRAGMENTS – MODERN PERCUSSION was born.
WATCH THE TRAILER
FRAGMENTS – MODERN PERCUSSION is about creating stimulating and unique percussion sounds that would sound good in nearly any context. It was getting those crazy samples into their music that really pushed them on this work. So, they first came up with their categories for the materials, and then they set about collecting everything.
“My dad used to sell clocks,” Matthias said. “My garage is full of old and rusty clocks that make interesting sounds.”
“We recorded all these ticking sounds and even the winding keys,” Jonas adds. “Matthias had come to my place with a huge suitcase full of things – I still have a Cart here of some branches from his dad’s fireplace that I need to return to him. We built a large chamber with sound absorbers and then recorded everything we had.”
Inside their homemade sound booth, they were using two high-quality mics: a Sennheiser MKH 8020 and a Microtech Gefell m930. They had to make sure to get consistent positioning for each item they were recording.
“I was really impressed by the sound of breaking branches in our wood category,” Jonas said. “We had our headphones on, and it sounded really cool, like little crackles. Only one of those made it into the final product because they were too long for impacts and working with the engine. I also really like the mechanic snare drum, which is actually the shutter sound of my camera. And the body sounds are pretty cool.”
“For me,” Matthias adds, “I think the coolest sound source was wood. We have a shaker that we hit with a drumstick, and it creates an impact and a beautiful sizzle afterward. The shaker has different elements that contribute to the sizzling sound. It’s these kinds of details that I find really cool.”
CRAFTING THE SOUNDS
To design each sound, they had their own additional processing chains and included 12 round robins. This massive amount ensures that no two sounds ever repeat, giving a very human feel to playing. “The distance between two repeated round robins is at least up to 25,” Jonas points out. “You will never encounter the same sound twice in a row.”
On top of the different round robins, they also recorded up to 5 velocity layers where they could. Obviously on things like clock ticks, they couldn’t do much in that regards.
After they recorded all the sounds, they really had to think of how to apply them in a creative and intuitive way. At first it was just about having a simple randomization option, but the idea expanded. By pressing the seed button, you can have a random pattern come up, but you can also lock the randomization option so that it mixes it up again every time it finishes the bar.
“I find the seed generation really cool and helpful for generating grooves,” Jonas said. “You can design your groove, but then sometimes you want to try something different and don’t know what to do. By clicking ‘seed’, it rearranges the steps randomly, giving new ideas.
“We also have this button that you can click to go back and forth between the settings,” Matthias adds. “It remembers the shuffle patterns. And it remembers the MIDI notes, so that you can click and drag the last thing you played it into your DAW.”
And that’s not all you can randomize. You can also adjust the pan, range, and what layers go through the extensive round robin cycles so that everything sounds very human and real.
Density is yet another brilliant effect. It creates ghost notes for every empty part of your pattern. By tying the effect volume to the mod wheel, you can bring in and out those ghost notes from your composition as you need.
“People really liked the Density feature I had put in Chroma,” Jonas said. “I thought about how to implement it here without adding too much resource load, and that’s when the idea of adding ghost notes came up. Ghost notes allow you to add intensity to the beat without changing the existing pattern.”
Both Matthias and Jonas worked on creating presets. They made “bread and butter” patterns and also more creative ones. “I included things I would personally use,” Matthias said. “I made electronic presets inspired by Massive Attack, experimental ones, and included all the typical elements along with some unexpected ones.”
AN INSPIRATION MACHINE
FRAGMENTS – MODERN PERCUSSION is an endless source of new ideas. Whether you decide to use the instrument as it is or discover new patterns and use them with altogether different instruments, its ease and design make it an excellent addition into anyone’s percussion toolbox.
“I can imagine composers using FRAGMENTS for inspiration,” Jonas says. “The seed options allow them to come up with cool grooves and they can export them to their DAW.”
“I create a lot of music for games that has an ambient, atmospheric and cinematic wall of sound,” said Matthias. “FRAGMENTS has a touch of beauty here and there. I enjoy building up the layers, so I often incorporate a variety of percussion instruments. The versatility of the instrument is great because I can run mulitple instances and add textures throughout the composition.”
“I hope people like it and use it to create really cool beats and percussion,” Jonas said.
TRY IT TODAY
Try out this powerful percussion machine today and get it for 20% off during our intro campaign. FRAGMENTS – MODERN PERCUSSION is a serious orchestral tool that can ignite the fires of inspiration within seconds. Find out more on the main page here.