We got in touch to find out more…
Congratulations on the release of Cloud Bass, can you tell us about the set-up for the recordings of this library?
1. Take a double bass, a double bass stand, an industrial-sized capo and find a nice sounding room.
2. Rig up a silent pulley system across the room with a vintage speedio centre pin fishing reel and a spring-loaded retractable dog lead with the dog lead bit replaced with course garden twine. Set up so that the twine can be smoothly and silently pulled across the strings of the double bass.
3. Place an AKG C414 large diaphragm condenser mic through a Warm Audio TB12 pre-amp in the best sounding place in front of the double bass.
4. Stick a Barcus Berry Planar contact mic on the double bass body directly underneath the ‘twining’ position.
5. Stick an AKG411 contact mic on the double bass body directly underneath the bridge.
6. Spend 3 weeks carefully recording thousands of passes of the ‘dog bow’ over each string (with the others removed) using the industrial capo for tuning.
7. Spend another week recording other articulations with a soft drum beater and the front and back of a conventional bow.
That’s dedication! You used a similar technique for other libraries Cloud Viola and Cloud Cello – where did the idea originally come from?
I spend a lot of time in my studio experimenting with different ways of making noises. I was trying out different ways of using bow rosin and then had a eureka moment when I ditch the bow altogether and tried other materials.
The real breakthrough was the retractable dog lead which meant I was able to create a huge ‘virtual’ bow.
What types of sounds are in the collection?
Cloud Bass is surprisingly wide-ranging in the sounds it can produce. It’s not all just about the low end. It is also capable of ethereal swarms, crusty pads and some lovely warm throbbing.
The double bass sounds can also be combined with analogue sub bass samples for really low and solid grunt.
Cloud Bass isn’t just a library of sounds, can you tell us more about the effects it includes as well?
There is quite an arsenal of extra unlikely effects including various forms of tape and tube distortion, BPM syncable tremolo and delays, filters, guitar amps, EQ, Leslie speaker and reverb.
The convolution reverb comes with 74 custom made reverb impulses from a variety of sources including real spring reverbs, tape delays, real spaces including the stage at Glyndbourne Opera House and a whole bunch of sound design impulses.
Which types of music/projects, would Cloud Bass lend itself particularly well to?
Anything that might require special stand out sounds or orchestral tracks that need a little bit of extra character… or at a push a cover version of Love Cats by the Cure.