The ganzfeld effect is a kind of perceptual deprivation by exposure to unstructured noise. The brain can’t handle the noise, so hallucinations and weird visual anomalies ensue. Our new Ganzfeld Effect sound and kit pack produces similar luminous experiences. With 26 kits and 3,225 samples, this pack is overflowing with sound! The release coincides with our release of Sensory Percussion version 1.5 and uses many of its new features like loop, reverse and global/sampler stop.
Read on to take a walk-through of the kits and learn about the making of this pack!
When you install the Ganzfeld Effect pack you’ll notice that there is a new folder named Ganzfeld Percussion in your Sunhouse sample library. It contains folders full of delightfully terrene percussion sounds, tonal sounds of a banjo, an accordion, a harmonium, and ocarinas. Those sounds were all recorded in seven recording sessions we produced here at Sunhouse HQ in Queens, NY.
The most electronic kit in the pack, Tahawus is a nod back to the Swarm Sapience Pack with uneven stereophonic cycles mapped to drum 2 and drum 3 giving your grooves a nice poly-metric feel.
ElectroEncephalopod is an instant classic kit in Ganzfeld, it has a standard kick, snare and tom mapping, but drum 2 contains a pitchy stereophonic cycle of an earthy-wooden agogo. It’s perfect for holding down a tight groove when jamming with friends.
This kit reminds me of a favorite book, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Perhaps that’s because it relies heavily on an African iron bell I picked up from a music store in the West Village. The man who sold it to me told me that it is probably about 100 years old and from West Africa.
It was sitting amongst antique iron bells from the same collection, but I bought this particular bell because of its interesting harmonic structure: when struck in a particular spot it produces two distinct tones.
The cycling bell sound is mapped to the center and edge of drum 3, the kit has other groovy percussive sounds on drum 2, and a kick and snare mapped to drums 4 and 1, respectively.
Drum 2 of this kit has some interesting stuff going on: Cycled kalimba sounds and randomized clay-mug sounds are mapped to the head. There is a cowbell mapped to the rim of the drum. The rim and the center are blended, but the cowbell sampler on the rim is removed from blends, so that when you strike the center of the drum you will hear just the kalimba and clay-mug, but when you strike the rim you will hear the cowbell AND a blend of the kalimba and clay-mug.
Furthermore, the percussive clay-mug sounds are pitched on a center-to-edge controller: hits more towards the center pitch those samplers lower. The tonal kalimba samplers’ pitch are governed by a center-to-rim tip controller with its sensitivity heavily altered so that hits on the head will reliably play the tonic, but playing the rim will cause the kalimbas’ pitch to slide up two octaves along a blues nonatonic scale.
Real de Catorce
Many of the kits in this pack are named after ghost towns, and this kit is one of them. My mom is a potter and she has made me the clay bells, udu, and some of the other percussive objects in this pack. Real de Catorce features the tonal and percussive sounds of an ocarina we made together.
Kolmanskop captures the raw spirit of Ganzfeld Effect. There aren’t a huge amount of samples or flashy effects in this kit, but it still employs a natural earthy vibe. There’s a natural sounding snare and ride cymbal mapped to the head and rim of drum 1, bell and bubbly clay-mug sounds on drum 2, a rich floor tom sample on drum 3, and a commanding, compressed, pitched-down bass drum sample on drum 4.
Playing buzzes on drum 1 or on drum 3 causes the samplers to slide up in pitch, but most other gestures on this kit are subtle and natural and employed to inspire you to lay down solid grooves.
Drum 1 of this kit is a fully-mapped-virtual acoustic snare drum we recorded on the same night as the Ganzfeld multi-percussion instruments. Within the 135 snare samples assigned to the pads of drum 1 there are five layers of three velocities.
Bubbly sounds and pitched whistles from a glass cola bottle inhabit drums 2 and 3 of this kit, and drum 4 is a warm, powerful kick drum.
Poly-metric, stereophonic cycles on drums 2 and 3 of this kit add hypnotic rhythmic variation to your grooves — the sounds mapped to those drums are multi-percussion instruments like a tiny toy djembe, cow bells, and a wooden agogo. The snare sound on drum 1 is modulated by speed, velocity and timbre: Playing buzzes will pitch the drum down and increase the amount of distortion (the “drive” of which is increased by playing harder), and playing towards the edge will also increase the pitch of the snare sampler.
A glassy, binaural, raindroppy, looping soundscape can be created on this kit by playing near the edge of drum 2 — that’s how to start looping the pitch-modulated clay bell sounds. The loop will stop if you play the center of that drum. Drum 3 has the same gestural technique, but has cycled sounds collected from a clay mug (struck with a stick, fingers and hands).
Turning loop on/off with a timbre controller isn’t difficult: first assign the edge pad to the center pad (this expands the range of center pad to the entire drum). Add a sample or samples to that pad. Drag a center-to-edge timbre controller to the loop parameter and adjust the sensitivity parameterto taste (I like it to be skewed towards the edge, that way I can turn off the loop very easily by hitting the drum approximately near the center (and that makes enabling the loop on more deliberate). Finally, turn off “all pads” on the controller.
fata morgana is another kit that doesn’t steal the show. It’s a kit that would be great for when you are jamming with your friends and just need some earthy, percussive sounds to help you lay down a solid groove.
Mahin Salman, sound artist & musician, and great friend of Sunhouse brought two dhols back from a trip to Pakistan, and we sampled them EXTENSIVELY for this kit and others — collecting over 1,500 samples of tilli and dagga (the traditional sticks), as well as hand gestures.
Those two dhols are mapped across all of the drums in this kit. Drums 3 and 1 (usually the floor tom and the snare drum in preset Sensory kits) have the bass head and treble head of the higher pitched Sindh Dhol. Drums 4 and 2 (typically the kick and snare positions in preset kits) have mappings of the bass and treble head of the lower Kolachi Dhol.
In Foncebadon play out towards the edge of drum 1 to engage pitching and a flanger on this otherwise solid, dampened snare sound. Drums 2 and 3 cycle percussion sounds to give your playing predictable, groovy textures, while the pitched down kick (mapped to drum 4) hangs steady — only modulating sample-length slightly: harder hits barely increase the decay of the sample.
dhol + harmonium
Mahin brought in her Qawwali Harmonium one evening and we collected samples of chord progressions and notes.
For this kit, we mapped a raucous, C minor, single octave bass melody to drum 3 pitched by playing from center-to-edge and a matching chord progression cycling on drum 2. The tonal sounds are thresholded by the velocity I/O panel, allowing you to play the dhol sounds quietly underneath the notes and chords.
pitchy perc has been a favorite of people stopping by our booth at festivals and of artists dropping by the office. It is made up from Udu, Dhol, and Conga drums. The Udu is meticulously mapped to drum 1 and is pitched by a center-to-edge controller. The Dhol is spread across drums 2 and 3: on drum 2, its treble head is left unpitched, making drum 2 the groovy-centerpiece of the kit. The bass head of the dhol is mapped to drum 3, and is pitched dramatically with a center-to-edge controller with a lot of stretchy-portamento. Finally, drum 4 is lifted directly from one of the original kits in our Base Pack called “Drum Circle.” It is a kick-drum mapping of a detuned, pitched-down conga drum.
Sunhouse hardware engineer and bluegrass musician, Ellery Marshall brought in his banjo one night and recorded notes, chords, loops, and flourishes for this pack. The kit banjaccord features a melodic cycle of those sounds on drum 2, accompanied by the sounds of Christopher’s accordion mapped to drum 3. The scales for both the accordion and banjo are controlled by a center-to-edge controller that is more sensitive to the edge, allowing you to easily hit the tonic of the scale by striking near the center of your drum.