Sound Smack! by AfroDJMac — A Study in Resampling: Part 1

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If you are anything like me, you’ve probably spent the last couple of weeks wiping drool off your mouth as all the exciting new musical toys rolled out at this year’s Winter NAMM.  Analog synths, exciting MIDI controllers, plug-ins and hardware galore — straight out of my wildest imagination — were dancing in my dreams as I drifted off to sleep.

AfroDJMac has a creativity reboot for you: resampling.

Upon awakening, I’d head down to create some music with the escapades of my unconscious mind echoing in my head.  “Boy, if I only had that (insert random piece of exciting new gear)!  Then I’d really be making some amazing tunes!”

STOP! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need this or that to create your next big hit.  One of the biggest forms of procrastination is thinking that you are lacking some thing that is keeping you from your goals.  It gives you an excuse to not take action.  It justifies failure to achieve a goal by convincing you that you have no power to accomplish whatever that goal is.  Don’t be a victim!

Regain Control with Resampling

I decided to start a series of articles about how to make the most of what you already have.  My hope is to get you inspired by things that may have been collecting dust or you feel has reached its maximum potential.  The focus of this series: Resampling.  Think of it like audio recycling:  Taking sounds and items that you have already recorded or used, and reprocessing them in an assortment of ways to wind up with something new.

This week I want to focus on resampling instruments, chords, melodies, etc.  The technique involves recording melodic parts, chords, or recycling old melodies and chords from old songs/melodic ideas, and rerecording them.  The second time this material is recorded you have an assortment of sound design possibilities.  You can add effects, rearrange patterns and progressions, or pretty much anything the imagination can come up with.

Watch in the video as I take a virtual synth I created in Ableton Live (sampled from my beloved Teenage Engineering OP-1 synth/controller) and resample chords and arpeggios into another virtual synth, this time in Ableton’s Drum Racks.  This gives me snippets of chords, which I can use to create new melodies and progressions.  The principles here can be applied to any synth or preset or audio clip you may have laying around.

Stop by my site,, to download the Ableton Live set, which includes two drum racks of resampled OP-1 chords, two slice to midi presets, and the original audio files I used for resampling that you can mess around with.

Thanks a lot for checking this article out and be sure to come back soon. In the coming weeks, I will be sharing some more fun ways to use resampling to make the most of things you already have!

AfroDJMac: (noun) One Man Musical Aphrodisiac; Simultaneously Futuristic and Nostalgic Indie Dance Party, blending Rock, Dance, Glitch, and Old Video Games.

  • Thanks, this is great! Which monome apps do you use?

  • layering and plastisizing audio really opens up the future – it aint what u got, its what u do with it

  • Right on!

  • That’s the beauty, no Monome.  That’s a Launchpad I’m using (painted red). The reason the chords line up is because I’ve created one bar chords and sliced to quarter notes. So my chords are divided into four which maps nicely across the Launchpad