Winter Winds Snow Seal: Free Ableton Live Pack #180
The Strange Alien Sounds of the Weddell Seal
I recently came across this video of an adorable Weddell Seal making odd vocalizations while sleeping. It sounds other-worldly. Of course, my first thought was to sample it. My second thought was it had to be fake. I did a cursory search of the internet, and, unless I missed the hoax, it seems like the sound you hear below is authentic. Give it a listen!
After recording it, I placed the sample in Ableton’s Sampler and went to work.
Randomizing Sample Playback Position
After finding a decent portion of the sample to loop, I set Sampler’s LFO 3 to modulate Sample Offset. Instead of the sample starting from the beginning with each key press, it is now randomized. I thought it’d be cool to have the instrument sound differently every time you played it. If you don’t want this, you can just disable LFO 3.
Adding Useful and Imaginative Effects
I added some audio effects to the instrument: Chorus, Reverb, and Delay. I mapped those to Macro Controls, along with a Low Pass Filter, Filter Resonance, and Filter Drive. Because this is such a strange sound, I wanted to maintain a little mystery to the Macro Controls. Rather than labeling them by name, and therefore using the instrument in a more analytical manner, I gave the Macros abstract names. I find that this allows me to adjust the controls using my ears and imagination more than my eyes and technical thinking.
Hear Winter Winds Snow Seal in Action
While building the instrument, I kept getting lost in the world of sound it was creating. Below is a short improvisation using just one instance of the instrument playing only two long, sustained notes. All of the diversity in sound is created by the movement in the sample and the adjustments to the Macro Controls. Notice how I am able to get musical pitches by turning the Cold Bite (Filter Resonance) above 100%. The pitch of the musical tones is determined by the Wind Chill (Low Pass Filter Frequency). These pitches create some beautiful atmospheres when combined with White Out (Reverb) and Snow Drift (Delay).
I think this instrument is perfect for creating ambient textures and atmospheres for any type of music. It can also be used in place of a traditional white noise riser to create interesting transitions in a track. Click the download button below and see how you can use it in your next piece of music!
*Works with Ableton Live 9.7 Standard or Above