Friday, September 4, 2009

Open Thread Friday: What's the Weirdest Thing You've Ever Sampled?






















There's an unspoken universal truth about sampling. No matter how cultured or refined a person fancies themselves to be, the first moment they get their hands on a sampler, all that goes out the window and the first thing they try sampling is a burp, fart, or other bodily noise. Don't try to deny it. If you try to tell me you've never done this with a straight face you are a damn liar.


But after this initial regression to 2nd grade, most of us move on to try sampling more musically useful sound. I touched on this a bit earlier this week in my post about turning a 60 cycle hum into a bitchin' sub-bass. So it got me to thinking about how often some pretty strange things can be turned into musical sounds.


One odd project I had once was to create sounds out of nothing but the sound of paper. I forget what it was for... I want to say it was some theatrical thing, but a guy I knew who had let me sample some of his keyboards asked me to do it for him. Percussive sounds were obvious and easy, but I was surprised at how, with proper looping, the sound of tearing could be turned into a weird, scratchy synth sound. The other one that comes to mind is the infamous 'thump' that came out of some early Ensoniq keyboards when you switched them off. I recorded it to DAT, transposed it down a few semitones and with a little editing, I had a pretty weird kick drum.


So what's the most unusual thing you've ever sampled?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

once in an intro music tech class, we had to create a song sourced entirely from a two minute interview with john oswald (of plunderphonics fame). some beautiful irony in that... anyway, that was inane to work with but birthed some really amazing work.

Joshua said...

I can honestly say I have never sampled a burp or fart...there are so MANY good ones to download!

But seriously... I've recorded/sampled so many damn things, it's difficult to say what is the most unusual...I once tried to record an entire landing/airport/takeoff at Copenhagen airport during a trip to Europe but my recorder wasn't great and it was in an open pocket in my bag so the result is 2 hours of weird noisy gibberish and clicking/rattling...

I have collection of "tape recorder stop pops" ... some excellent percussion potential in those...

manson baptiste said...

I sampled one of my asthma crisis to make hihats. It perfectly worked, but I nearly fainted while recording it.

My mixtable exploded during a live event recorded. The "plop" sound it made is a really nice kick in my lib.

I also got an orgasm of my ex girlfriend through my virus ti in vocoder mode. Really nice melody though.

John said...

"I also got an orgasm of my ex girlfriend through my virus ti in vocoder mode."

Sorry but game over... hahaha

Joel Corriveau said...

I have an old M-Audio Delta 44, and when you shut down the PC (if my amp/mixer is still on) I'd get this crazy WooOOOOooowzrt.

It used to scare the crap out of me. Until I was conditioned to remember to always zero my mixer before turning my PC off.

Then, I was composing a piece for theatre, and I needed an abrupt ending punctuation point. A bit like a record player stopping abruptly. Worked a dream.

My name/URL links to the sample.

Mer said...

Weirdest thing I ever sampled were telephone error messages. The "We're sorry, but this number is no longer in service. Please hang up and try again" sort.

I didn't mess with them much, so I guess it was more of a remix than a sample, but still -- I simulated a numbers station, and it turned out really cool.

Ttam Troll said...

We once filled up a sink with water and recorded the gurgling sound as the water drained down. After transposing it down a couple of octaves on our Ensoniq EPS, it sounded like demons from hell.

kent said...

http://music.cornwarning.com/2009/08/29/free-samples-the-icicle-session/

I have some interesting samples of the ticking sounds charcoal makes when you first light it. Kind of scary sticking a microphone into a weber grill with an open flame...

chrisrnps said...

Doing sound for a couple of guys who were doing a short indie film, I had to find a sound effect for a kid dropping an ice cream cone onto a sidewalk. The sound of dropping actual ice cream didn't work (we tried), so the wierdest thing I've ever sampled, triggered via EXS24, is yogurt splatting into a tupperware container (for the 'splat'), layered with Saltine crackers being broken in half (for the 'cone').

Mike-Synth said...

I Sampled my Dog Barking at something on the other side of the front door. Driving me nutz I decided to give him a taste of his own medicine haha, so I sampled his ass. Cut up the diffrent Barks, Growls, and Whines when I told him to shut up.

Created a multi output ESX 24 and applied the audio edits on seperate key ranges, each with its own effect.

The Dog was tripping out hearing himself lol and the cats went chasing after the monitors when I started to pan them.

Oh, didnt really help the situation, they just started barking more haha

XET said...

a contact mic on my pc case recording
the the sounds it makes while recording the sounds it makes while reco... and on and on.

later i pitchshifted it down and made some pretty eerie stuff.

Tom said...

@Chris - Cool! I have always been fascinated by foley work. Seems like it would be a fun way to make a living.

@Manson - Years ago, before my wife and I were married we lived in an apartment building that was built around a courtyard. The shape of the courtyard tended to amplify sounds quite a bit. Someone moved in to the apartment across the courtyard from us who quickly earned the name 'orgasm girl'. She and her boyfriend had ridiculously loud sex really late at night and pretty much everyone in the apartment complex was kind of fed up with it. Another musician happened to live above us and one night when Orgasm Girl was doing her thing, our upstairs neighbor (Shaun from Glis for anyone familiar with the band) put one of his studio monitors in his window and BLASTED the fake orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally. Strangely, we didn't here much from her after that.

Joshua said...

LOL! Battle of the Orgasms! Glis - 1, Orgasm Girl - 0.

Geoff said...

I once sampled a torrential downpour/thunderstorm a few years ago out of the window which happened to capture an almighty bang followed by a lot of sirens. Turns out it was a local gangster being chased by the police, crashed his car and managed to behead himself. So I guess the strangest thing would be an actual car crash/beheading.

Geoff / Modulate

Tom said...

I think Geoff wins. Holy crap.

Joshua said...

+1

Mike-Synth said...

woah ^.^