2021 was an action-packed year of both experimentation and focusing on what we do best. We sampled our rarest keyboard to date, checked the classic S950 sampler off our list, captured our favorite rave synths, began our experimental Fragments series, ran two competitions, and squeezed in a new drum release just in time for our big Black Friday sale.
This bundle gives you all of that: the 360, Kawaii Dreams, the Minipops, Tape Fragments, Trumpet Fragments, the S950, and our latest release (only available here and the everything bundle), the Private Reserve:
The Private Reserve is a stash of production-ready drum samples sourced from our in-house acoustic drum kit, various percussion, and my own music sessions.
We're always looking to add diversity to the SFM collection, and have been getting a lot of requests to sample our in-house acoustic drum kit (a beautiful, late 60s Rogers). So we did just that - recording one-shots of the entire kit (plus all of our studio percussion) directly to tape, processing and re-sampling the results through various devices (like the MPC3000, SP1200, and SP404).
We then combined these sounds with a smattering of electronic samples used in my own music - the goal here being to provide more production-ready, effected electronic sounds than our classic drum machine packs can.
After combining, sorting and processing all of the sounds to our heart's content, everything was pieced back together to form a hybrid, acoustic-electronic drum library unlike any other pack we’ve ever made:
We're very excited about it, and you can read more here.
Our rarest synth sampling to date, the 360 is one of the earliest multi-sampled keyboards, emerging in the early 80s as engineers became un-impressed with single-sample keyboards like the Emulator.
Largely a response to the Mellotron, the 360 came loaded with strings, brass, horns, guitars, timbales and more - all recorded by LA session musicians, and stored on almost 50 EPROMs, finally passed through gorgeous analog filters.
So does it emulate real instruments well by today’s standards? Probably not. But the sound is a warm, digital-analog hybrid that is both symphonic and cutting; nostalgic yet unrecognizable. As you can hear, it's equally at home in a modern or more vintage sounding composition:
You can read more about the sampling process here.
If the 360 was an over-the-top multi-sampling of preset sounds, our Fragments series is the opposite of that. Our most popular release of the year, Tape Fragments is an experimental yet highly useable set of instruments created by feeding back analog synths on various tape machines and echoes, and looping those moments into playable keyboard instruments.
We've been sampling for 8 years, yet this pack marks the first time that I've dug into one of my music sessions as a source for a sample pack (and this directly inspired the Private Reserve). This was largely due to being quarantined last year without access to my instruments. Here's what we sampled:
And turned it into this:
The sampling process was actually a bit more meta than that, and you can read more here for the full story 😃
After the success of Tape Fragments, I was convinced of the emotional depth sampling my own music sessions could provide, so I set out to create a new Fragments series, but this time with an acoustic source: the trumpet. And there's nobody better to call on than Greg Paulus for this duty.
Greg and I had been working on a lot of music together, and there was one specific session in which he laid down the craziest trumpet solo I've ever heard. Everything he improvised was gold - jazzy call-and-response lines that modulated into robotic chaos, heartfelt squelches, and wild, harmonic overtones created with his mouth, emulating the distortion boxes he often uses on his trumpet. If I'd learned anything from Tape Fragments, it's that the source material is the most important factor here, and this material was 🔥.
So I dove into the session, and, by harmonizing and effecting single trumpet licks, breaths, spits, decays and attacks, and looping the results, Trumpet Fragments actually ended up sounding more like a unique, futuristic synthesizer than a trumpet :
You can read more about the process here
Our most experimental drum pack this year was the Minipops, which was a collection of heavily mangled loops and one-shots from the classic (and otherwise tame sounding) Minipops rhythm box.
Ordinarily when we sample a drum machine, we create an archive of both clean and processed sounds, often in the form of multi-sampled oneshots. But for the Minipops, we threw all of that out of the window, and created extremely heavy, warped and harmonized, demonic, rhythm box loops.
...Which you can use to make stuff like this:
You can ready more about the Minipops here.
After the success of our MPC2000 Snacks competition last year, we knew it was time to run another contest - but this time for a set of synth samples.
I've been using the Kawaii stuff in my own music for years - these are wavetable synth sounds reminiscent of early rave music - like an M1, but crunchier. Kawaii Dreams is a collection of our favorites patches, sourced from the K1, K3 and Session Trainer Kawaii units.
We sampled a mix of era-defining presets and custom patches. These sounds are cinematic, nostalgic, and orchestral... but above all else, dreamy!
For the competition, we asked you to produce a track using only the Kawaii for non-drum sounds. And with over 130 submissions, we were ecstatic about the results. Hearing how everybody used these sounds, seeing how our brand was incorporated into track titles and artwork, and above all else, the sheer musicality and originality of the submissions was inspiring, and, above all else, FUN.
Check out the results!
The S950 has been on our list for years - it's a classic sampler with a great sound, and is (intimidatingly) complicated for its time - the possibilities of sample manipulation seem limitless.
Like the 360, the S950's sound comes from its crunchy, lo-fi conversion passing through its warm and forgiving filter. While most people use the 950 for drums, anything you sample through it will sound great.
So we created an entirely self-sufficient S950 pack, complete with drums, pianos, basses, warped vocals, subs keys and FX...enough for you to compose full pieces with just the 950 samples - like this (my favorite demo of the year):
You can read more about the S950 sampling process here.
2021 was an action-packed year of sampling, and grabbing this bundle will give you access to everything we captured: Acoustic drums and percussion, trumpets, tape feedback instruments, strings, cellos, rhythm box loops, ravey wavetable sounds, and re-sampled keys, piano and vox. This package really helps round out the everything bundle - our newest releases are always are best ✨