About a year and a half ago Stephan Marche launched Detunized, a subscription service offering sample packs for Ableton, Reason and FL Studio on a monthly schedule.
Stephan takes the road less traveled by creating unique sample packs from synths like the Elektronika EM-5 and the handmade Junglefish, old transistor organs, found sounds, and lots more.
The 9th release in the series is ROLFING Laid Back Vol.1, a sound pack for Ableton Live featuring a collection of instruments created from an old upright piano.
Stephan Marche writes:
A really rotten upright piano, totally out of tune, with all the keys disappeared. But the chassis was still complete and made such a fantastic reverb, it seemed to be everlasting. Slapping the lowest string it took almost three minutes until the sound had gone.
With Volume 1 you get the original piano sound picked up at two distances plus five other sound sets using different prepared piano techniques.
The sound pack includes 7 Live instruments. A total of 5 piano instruments have a chromatic key range of C-1 to G7, while the “Dockside Bar” and “Percussion” instruments have samples on the white keys only. The samples are in high quality 24bit/44.1kHz format, 386 in total.
The instrument panels in Live have some useful macro controls like presence, filter, width, attack, sustain, etc. so it is easy to shape the sound of a particular instrument.
Below you can listen to some sounds from the ROLFING pack. The first and second clip feature most the Live instruments including some of the percussive and prepared piano sounds. The third clip was done on two piano instruments, with a recording taken from a practice session by Geoff Peters.
Some more sound clips are available on the Detunized website.
So what do I think?
Format: Ableton Live 7 or higher
Price: 7.98 EUR
Having a soft spot for unique/odd sounds this sound pack is exactly my cup of tea. There is plenty of that unique “prepared” character while retaining playability with the more traditional piano instruments.
ROLFING is not going to be any competition to upright piano libraries from the likes of Native Instruments, but it does show that even rotten, out of tune upright pianos with all keys missing are a valuable source for new musical instruments.
The sounds are quite dramatic, especially the percussion. Well suited for soundtrack work.
If you are looking for some new inspiring piano based sounds to use in Ableton Live, ROLFING Laid Back Vol.1 seems a no-brainer, and it has the price to match.