Major Arcana, New Mystic Sounds and Kits
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Inspired by the vibrant, mystic occult art featured on Tarot cards, Major Arcana includes 30 brand new Sensory Percussion kits, 1,826 original samples, and 86 instrument mappings. The sound aesthetic of this pack harmonizes with the radical art of the Rider-Waite Smith tarot deck. In a tarot card deck the Major Arcana cards are analagous to the face cards of a standard deck, and, when used for fortune telling, the Major Arcana are suggestive of important life experiences.

The pack includes sounds and kits sourced from:

  • Commanding one-shot samples of software drum machines that we crafted precisely for Sensory Percussion
  • Detailed multi-zone, multi-velocity recordings of a six piece psychedelic drum kit
  • Multi-pitch recordings of six synthesizers
  • Four chord progressions pre mapped to velocity-thresholded samplers
  • Percussive found sounds from a drum practice pad and water droplets

Major Arcana has unique sounds and new kinds of kits that you won't want to miss, so if you are a Sensory Percussionist, head over to the Sunhouse Downloads page to grab the pack.

The Recording Process

All of the electronic sounds (drum machines, synthesizers, and chord progressions) were recorded at Sunhouse HQ in 2021. We combined and created timbres using soft synths and drum machines in DAWs like Ableton and Logic Pro.

From start to finish the sound design goal for the electronic sounds (both drum machine and synth) was to load the processed samples into Sensory Percussion and bring them to life in the kits with intricate networks of blends, controllers (timbre, velocity, speed, envelope), LFOs and FX.

The six piece psychedelic drum set was recorded in Norfolk, Virginia in 2019. Each drum was recorded using the method we developed for detailed acoustic drums. The snare (Membranophone 1, as it is called in the pack) was recorded with snares off, which is not uncommon in some psychedelic rock songs, and the other drums were tuned low and partially dampened with fabric.

Ghost Drums 3, is a Sensory Percussion kit made from detailed recordings of a dry psychadelic rock drum set.

The Kits

Like all other kits in the Sunhouse Library, the Major Arcana kits are arranged such that:

Drum 1 is mostly snare drum sounds.

Drums 2 and 3 are mostly tom/percussion/hi-hat/cymbal/melodic/harmonic/chord-sequence/specialFX sounds.

Drum 4 is mostly kick sounds.

The Empress Chords, The High Priestess Chords, The Hermit Chords, The Fool Chords

The chord kits in this pack all have a velocity thresholded chord progression mapped to Drum 3. Velocity thresholded chord kits are a favorite kind of kit for many Sensory Percussionists, and allow you to play percussive sounds quietly until you strike the drum hard to release a chord in the cycle.

Here is a clip of a kit called: The Hermit Chords. Striking Drum 3 hard releases the next chord in the sequence.

Ghost Drums 1, Ghost Drums 2, Ghost Drums 3

As mentioned above in “The Recording Process” these acoustic kits were recorded in great detail and mapped one-to-one with Sensory Percussion zones. We added some chorus, compression, and reverb to make these kits sound huge.

Arcana E Kit 1, Arcana E Kit 2, Arcana Blended E Kit, Arcana Dry Kit, Classic Arcana, cursed rain

These “E Kits” are what it feels and sounds like if classic drum machines were able to be played like actual drums, because with Sensory Percussion they can be! These kits use blends, timbre, velocity, and envelope controllers in order to make electronic sounds behave like acoustic objects.

This is a clip of Arcana E Kit 1, which has the nuanced response of an acoustic drum set due to a variety of Sensory Percussion blends and controllers.

The Hermit Arp, The Fool Arp, Arcana Horn Synth Arp, Drifting Membranophone, Drifting Arcana, Drifting Classic, Third Drift, Inevitable Machinations, PeasantDrift, bass clar arp, riti, synth arp, e gtr synth arp

The “Arp Kits” contain a cycled arpeggio that you activate by playing either Drum 2 and/or Drum 3 (depending on the kit). In all of these kits the arpeggio drum is further modulated (either in scale or FX) by timbre, velocity, speed controllers, as well as LFOs, envelopes, or even blends! Blending sounds across zones is a feature that is exclusive to Sensory Percussion, and we (and all of you amazing Sensory Percussionists) have extensively explored many of the possibilities that blends offer, but blending cycling arpeggios of different timbres and tonality across zones is something new that we discovered when producing the kits for Major Arcana.

This Arp Kit is called Inevitable Machination and it has cycled melodic notes accessed by playing Sensory Percussion Drums 2 and 3 -- it's fun to roll between the drums on this kit.

Foolish Melody, Empirical Harm, Squelchanet Melo, Priestess Challenge, Empress Riti

The melodic and harmonic kits in Major Arcana all have a timbre controlled melody mapped to Drum 2 that is matched to a four voice harmony mapped to Drum 3. The melody drum is created using center-to-edge, rimshot center-to-rimshot edge, and rim shoulder-to-rim tip controllers each mapped to incrementally higher ranges of a scale. The harmony drum is similar, except there are three octaves of melodic samples controlled in that way, and the lower octaves are velocity thresholded such that they are only activated on harder hits.

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