Free Ghanaian Gyil Kontakt instrument – PMvst001

Since the last post about recording Stephen Hiscock’s Gyil (Yes I was spelling it incorrectly! O dear) I took some time to edit and put the resulting hits into Kontakt.

Here is a link to the Current Ghanaian Gyil V1.0,

Free Ghanaian Gyil download
Free Ghanaian Gyil download

 

 

 

 

 

Feel free to download and play with it if you’re looking for something authenically african and I’d love to hear any feedback.

I don’t want to dive too deep into a ‘How to create a velocity sensitive instrument in Kontakt’ post, but there’s few thoughts from the process I thought it’d be interesting to note.

My main DAW’s are Ableton Live and Logic, but I decided to try using Ableton for this process. The first step was to record the Gyil into Ableton through my SD 702 and soundcard. I only had two Preamps available at the time, so used an XY setup about a metre away from the top of the Gyil. The first note, having a few different mic positions would probably help with integrating the sound of the Gyil with other libraries, but starting with a fairly dry, close recording is great starting point.

The Gyil has 14 notes and I wanted to try 2 round robins of each and have 5/6 velocity layers for each note played with both ends of the beaters. So that’s 336 individual samples to edit.

Manually this takes a while and is fairly tedious. Both Logic and Ableton have a feature which slices a piece of audio from its transient markers and creates a new MIDI instrument. However, neither of these cut the audio up usefully for Kontakt. Logic does have a ‘Split Silence’ feature that does a better job at slicing the regions, with a bit of tweaking, by transient. Either way there is an amount of time spent finessing this, as the hits need to be very closely trimmed to the start of the transient.

Logic Strip silence
Logic Strip silence

Once each hit was edited and ready to slot into Kontakt, I set up a new instrument and using the mapping editor placed the 6 velocity layers  for the first note on it. Spreading them across the 127 potential velocities.

Again this could take a while, but you can quite easily copy and paste one set of 6 velocity samples onto another key on the mapping editor, then re-locate each of the copied samples to the next note in the sequence to save time (I didn’t find this out until I’d spent a good few hours on a fairly bumpy flight trying to be precise with my trackpad… Bad idea!)

Kontakt 5 Mapping editor
Kontakt 5 Mapping editor

A similar process applies to the second takes (Round Robin takes) this was fairly simple. The mapping editor works in groups, for each round robin you create a new group and set that group to be a certain either the first or second set of round robins. Again copying the already mapped first takes and pasting that into a new group meant I could re-locate the samples within this second group with the second takes.

I did the same thing with the hard wooden end of the beaters and placed those into two new groups. Had a play with photoshop and added the Attack and Release knobs through looking into the inner workings of other Kontakt instruments scripts.

A little messing with key switches and it was prett much there.

So please do have a play with the Gyil and enjoy!

 

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African Gil – Recording session

For the past couple of months I’ve been working on a show called Lionboy with Complicité and we’re coming to the end of our run at the Tricycle Theatre. The show had a live percussionist on stage, so this week I’ve decided to record Steve’s (our percussionists) Gil.

The Gil is an African ‘tuned’ percussion instrument that steve plays in the show for a few of our ‘African’ scenes. It’s not the most common instrument I’ve ever come across!
The notes are pentatonic and so, as Steve usually suggests, you can play almost any notes and they will likely fit together! Steves instrument was made by his teacher in Africa and has gaudes underneath that amplify the sound. It has a bit of a weird unique buzzing sound on some of the notes and watching people play them on YouTube it’s really meant to be part of the overall sound of the Gil. To create the buzzing sound there is a spider egg membrane covering holes in the gaudes which vibrate, strange but true!
African Gil, last years version
So having decided to record the Gil properly Ive also thought it would be interesting to learn how to make a kontakt instrument using those recordings, so have taken a bunch of different takes at differing dynamics and will have a go soon. I managed to find a few hours without anyone else in the theatre and got recording. Wanted to get some use out of my sound devices 702 and a pretty neat pair of DPA 4011’s which we use in the show.
Here’s a dry clip of me messing around on the Gil, i’m no percusionist so forgive me!
Now on to editing the single hits and trying to make a virtual instrument from it!

Music world of October

Each month I setup a new playlist on spotify full of bits of music I’ve never listened to before, I thought i’d share a few that stood out over the month and some more recent finds.

I’m really interested in some of the Orchestral/Electronica crossovers going on and becoming more aware of it, so these are aimed in that direction.

 

Koan Sound & Asa – Mix of Small orchestral arrangments with electronic beat taking focus.

 

 

Phoria – Chilled out acoustic version of this track – original version here

 

 

New album from A Winged Victory for the Sullen

 

 

Clint mansell came to The Barbican earlier this month and I’d never heard this before and loved it

 

 

Enjoy!

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The Noise @ Northern Stage

noise_blockThis week I’ve been teching Unlimited Theatre‘s The Noise in Newcastle’s Northern Stage (Stage 2). The story is a “sci-conspiracy thriller”, and on the island of Whitley the most notable feature is the constant ‘Noise’ being emitted by the island. Working as Co-Sound Designer with Gareth Fry, we’ve been playing with different types of Noise and how much of it we can push the scenes by using different styles of ‘Noise’. There is real anger in the characters of Whitley caused by these relentless and ever changing  sounds they can’t get away from and it’s been really interesting in finding how to achieve this whilst still allowing the clarity of the story to come from the actors. There is also composition by David Edwards (AKA Minotaur Shock) which has been a pleasure to work into the show and if you get a chance check him out!

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The Noise opened here in Newcastle on Friday 4th Oct and runs until 12th October. It then tours to Warwick Arts Centre and West Yorkshire Playhouse in November.

I thought I’d share a few interesting bits of research I came across, whilst looking into science related sound inventions, firstly the ishin-den-shin  http://www.ivanpoupyrev.com/projects/ishindenshin.php

Secondly the Hypersonic sound speaker invented by Woody Norris . hard to show the workings of online,  but pretty cool nonetheless! http://www.ted.com/talks/woody_norris_invents_amazing_things.html

Lionboy Tour: Bristol

LionboyComplicité have just began the tour of Lionboy a new show for kids based on the trilogy of books (with the same name) by Zizou Corder , which tells the story of Charlie Ashanti, a boy who can speak to cats, and his journey to free his parents from the “corporacy” which also leads him through a circus where he meets a pack of lions and sets out to liberate them…

I’ve been working as Associate Sound with Tom Gibbons as Sound Designer, and i’ll be operating the show for the rest of the tour. The show, so far, has been well received and we had a lot of fun finally getting it onto the stage in-front of an great audience.

From a sound perspective the the story is illustrated using sound effects and music that reacts to the particular form of storytelling that has been conceived for this show. One of the interesting parts for me is having a live percussionist (Stephen Hiscock) on stage, jumping from a full drum kit to traditional Ghanaian instruments, to provide underscore and musical accompaniment to the action on stage.

Lionboy will be touring around the UK, and the next stop is the Liverpool Playhouse for a week (week commencing 3rd June), followed by Oxford Playhouse, Warwick Arts Centre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Wales Millenium Centre and ending with a 2 week run at the Unicorn Theatre in London.

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