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SAMPLEDADDY presents TOKYO SEOUL, a virtual instrument featuring Japanese O Daiko, Korean Buk, and Piccolo Woodblocks

In mid-2007, I produced an album of Japanese percussion music by Minoru Miki. In creating a fix-it kit for post production, I very deeply sampled the wonderful O Daiko we used. I had my Buk along, and sampled that, as well as a set of lovely sounding piccolo woodblocks, all in the context of the setup we’d used for the album. I’d toyed with the idea of releasing a virtual instrument many times over the years, and wondered if this might be “the one..."

When I returned to my studio and began mapping the samples, they exceeded my expectations. Sampling in the context of the album session brought a cohesiveness to the combined instruments, a true ensemble sound. The combination of Buk and O Daiko turned out to be fantastic.  They just worked, no matter how I played them, or in what context. Whether using the drums and blocks separately to build polyrhythmic structures, or pounding them in unison, they seemed a perfect marriage for slamming action tracks.

The O Daiko

The O Daiko is pictured here.  O Daikos are the huge bottom-end of the traditional Japanese percussion ensemble, and they feature prominently in film and action music for their ability to drive a track.  The thing I loved about this particular drum was its "thump factor," a nice chest-smacking hit followed by a short, low decay.  It recorded like a million bucks for the album, and likewise for the samples.

The Buk

The Buk is pictured immediately below.  This is a drum I purchased while on a pop tour in Korea, and the story behind the drum is great.  I knew that I wanted to get a complete set of traditional Korean percussion instruments, but there were literally thousands of them on the street I'd been told to visit.  Not knowing the tone I was seeking, I went to one shop after another, losing all perspective.

Then I came to a shop where a bunch of monks were hanging out.  One of the monks figured out what I was doing, and when I was striking one drum, I noticed he was looking at me and shaking his head "no."  I picked up another drum, and struck it, and again, "no."  When I picked up this particular drum, it startled me how much attack it had.  I looked at the monk, and he was smiling and shaking his head, "Yes."  So that became my Buk, and that's the drum sampled here.

The Piccolo Woodblocks

The woodblocks were something that repeated over and over in Miki's percussion works, and for good reason.  They give a great top layer that cuts right through the pounding drums below.  Additionally, they work great with the rim samples, to create "break up" sections in otherwise heavy tracks.  After sampling the first couple of blocks, I realized I didn't need to get quite so carried away with layers on these.  Their timbre stays very consistent.  Still, I wanted to get plenty of hits, so they're sampled at between 20 and 50-something layers each, enough to give them plenty of depth at all dynamic levels.

Goals and methods

Multiple key mappings give you lots of ways to play the collection. Hundreds of velocities let you double without flanging artifacts, so be sure to take advantage of those possibilities. The drums take pitch shifting well. Try this for even bigger ensemble sounds--some maps are included to get you started. Also included, mappings for the new Zendrum ZAP controller.

You’ll never get a machine-gun sound out of this library, because there are hundreds of hits for each drum, with each hand mapped to its own key or pad.  Even on one key or pad, you'd have to be a robot (or hitting a steady velocity with a sequencer) to make it get remotely close to sounding false.  This is one aspect I wanted to absolutely nail, the ability to really play this collection without worrying about the dreaded machine-gun.

That gets into my own personal design philosophy a bit...I like the ability to use round-robin alternation when I absolutely need it.  But given a choice, I would rather always know which particular hit will sound in a sequence, as opposed to having a variability based on which strike in a round-robin set will sound.  When I'm in the final mix stages, that different hit might spoil a single moment that I've worked very hard to perfect...and another hit might not have the same "magic."

All that said, there is literally a discrete hit for every velocity level in the "slamming range" of the drums, and when you get below the 1/2 to 2/3 full range (depending on the drum), you only go two to three velocity levels per hit.  So, even in the least populated velocity ranges, it is VERY difficult to strike the same sample twice with a single pad, and of course, impossible if you're using the left/right pads.

The microphone plot for this session was conceived for an ensemble performance, as I mentioned.  Historically, I've not been a proponent of "in place" sampling, but I have partially changed my mind, and partially created my own variant.  Everything in this collection "pans" to a center stereo image, more or less.  I thought that was important, to start out with something reasonably predictable.  But the ensemble was mic'ed with a modified Decca-tree concept, in addition to XY and AB spots (I like LOTS of mix choices).  I considered releasing a mix-your-own concept library, but ultimately, it would have driven the price and size (and playback resource drain) up considerably without yielding too much benefit.

The perspective that I'm shipping is pretty much identical to the perspective that was the best mix for the album.  The exception is a bit of reduction on the room mics.  I found that substituting a little convolution for the room mics was absolutely undetectable compared to making them separately mix-able...in fact, the convolution rooms I made for this library work better than the room mics for blending purposes.  They give the same "fat" factor, but don't imprint a room personality that clashes with your final mix placement.

Ultimately, the proof is in the product, and I hope you will enjoy playing this as much as I do.  Lots of folks got their hands on it at NAMM, and the response was 100% positive, so I hope you will feel the same way.

Features:
Powered by GVI, the same Giga-technology trusted by the world’s leading composers in plugin format.
24-bit files for pristine resolution at all dynamic levels
When you purchase more Sampledaddy instruments, they’ll load into the same player.
Obsessively deep--no round robin means no surprises when you play back sequences
Two great GigaPulse environments included

Recommended System: Windows XP Sp2, Pentium IV 2.8 Ghz or AMD 3200 XP, 1024 MB RAM, 1024 MB Available Hard Drive Space, VST-Compatible Host Application, MIDI Keybord or Drum Pad controller.

 

Sampledaddy Korean Buk, Japanese O-Daiko, and Piccolo Woodblocks