Ableton Live Pack – Sounds from a Distant Outpost



The Mysteries of the Outpost

I’ve teleported back from “The Outpost”.  It was alive with sound. I managed smuggle some audio recordings out and also recreate what I heard using machines I brought back with me.  I sent you these files in the hopes that you will fashion these sounds into instruments so others can play and control these sounds.  Share the  library so people around the world can create original soundscapes and songs and in turn share with others on the internet. Time is of the essence.  If we work together we can unlock the  mysteries of The Outpost.


Sounds From a Distant Outpost is a sound set in Ableton Live Pack format and can be used with Live standard and Suite. I first released this as a holiday give for my Modulate This! readers back in 2010 and the Live Pack has been downloaded thousands of times since then.

Sounds From a Distant Outpost is more than a sample sound library. Over 30 hours in the making, it is a set of 12 deep and expressive Ableton Live instrument racks that will transport you to a dark and distant outpost. From here you will be able to explore the sounds, machines, and creatures of this world.

The  source audio is made up of some of my field recordings as well  as original synthesized and re-synthesis harmonic content.  The concept for the instruments was based on a back-story I created as the project progressed. Fueled by the story and setting, I translated these source samples into Ableton Live racks and meticulously programmed them to create playable dynamic instruments which are placed under your command via macro parameters, velocity, after touch, and modulation wheel mappings. I’ve also provided the original source samples for the project so those who don’t have Ableton Live will be able to use these samples as oscillator sources in synths like Absynth, Alchemy, ElectraX and Blofeld.

Audio Examples

One of my goals with this Live Pack was to create a set of expressive instruments such that each performance or player would come up with something unique. As a testament to this, check out the huge variety of pieces created by myself and others with this set of instruments in the Audio Examples section below.

I hope you too will find that these instruments will help spark your imagination and  inspire you to create your own soundtrack for this world. Of course, the instruments will also help add an interesting “edge” to any sound or music project. Here are some pieces made exclusively with this Live Pack.


James Tobin

Mark Mosher

Download & License

Click here to download zip file of Live Pack

Sounds from a Distant Outpost (Sound Library) is copyright 2010 Newecho Productions, LLC. The Sound Library   (patches, programming, samples, config files, Ableton Live Packs, documentation, images) are provided as is and without warranty.   Not responsible for data loss (in other words backup before you add third-party sounds or samples to your library).  Keep the volume low while you get to know the library.

License for Use in Music and Sound Compositions:

 You are granted a non-exclusive royalty-free license to use the audio output of the instrument racks in the context of any musical and/or sound composition.

License for Reusing Source Samples and Instrument Racks:

The source samples and instrument rack programming are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You may not redistribute or sell the content as standalone sounds or as part of another commercial library without express permission from Newecho Productions, LLC.

Notes and Preset List

  • As with any new sound set, keep the volumes low while you get to know the sounds.
  • Go deep. Spend quality time with each instrument.
  • Experiment with blending macro levels. For example one parameter may activate or attenuate an effect and a second parameter may further alter the effect. In this case I’ve labeled the first parameter with a trailing “>>”
  • Some parameters are dependent on certain frequencies. If you don’t hear a change in the sound, try playing on a different octave or changing the filter frequency.
  • Instruments are generally quite expressive and change radically from high to low octaves so explore the full range of the keyboard
  • While playing up and down the keyboard try using different velocities with after touch.
  • Sometimes, a parameter change won’t be heard till you re-trigger a note

Each instrument is placed in a rack and programmed to take advantage of Ableton’s 8 performance macro knobs. Labels for knobs are color coded to help you quickly identify the class of modulation. For example, macro knobs that control Filter and Resonance (Q) will be labeled Green.


Embedded Description and Performance Notes


1 -Alien Voices (SFX)

Mod Wheel: More wet gurgles

Velocity: Volume

After Touch: Pitch/Filter/Pan LFO Speed

Play across entire range of keyboard to hear different alien voices. Crank the macro knobs to really change things up.

2 – Big Servos (SFX)

Mod Wheel: Filter

Velocity: Volume

After Touch: Pitch

Pressing keys initiates servo movement. Modulators allow you to change motor speed, stress on servo, and radio interference with remote control.

3 – Clock Streams (Atmospheric)

Mod Wheel: Reduces repeating metallic loop sound for high-velocity notes.

Velocity Ads percussive attack

After Touch:Percussive sounds become scrapes.

Room of clocks w/ buzzing tone – manipulate the number of clocks and make the space bigger. For upper octaves use AutoBend to pitch bend notes. Buzz pushes the sound to become more of a formant vocal sound w/ REZ.

4 – Cyclical Bell (Bell/Atmospheric)

Mod Wheel: Filter

Velocity: Volume

After Touch: Pitch Down

Bell harmonic with cyclical movement built into sample. Tail end of sample has a formant quality. Movement is not locked to tempo.

5 – Dark Hall (Percussion/Atmospheric)

Mod Wheel: Changes loop length which reduces repeating metallic loop sound for high-velocity notes

Velocity: Play lightly for atmospheric, more aggressively for percussion and metallic loops

After Touch: Pitch

Atmospheric, percussive, spider-like creatures, rain…

6 – Flow of Data (SFX)

Mod Wheel: Filter

Velocity: Volume

After Touch: Pitch Up

Digital Bleep sounds synced to tempo. Arpeggiator is used to play back the bleeps. The two samples are cross-faded with velocity. The arpeggiator changes the velocity of notes on-the-fly.

7 – Man Machine Interface (SFX)

Mod Wheel: Loop Length

Velocity: Volume

After Touch: Closes Filter on Layer 1

The sound of the flow of information between man and machine. Play a note with your pitch wheel all the way, then slowly move it down.

8 – Outpost Control Room Kit (Drums/Percussion)

Sounds of “The Outpost” control room in action (rumor has it the aliens use organic or analog computers) stored conveniently in an Impulse drum kit (notes start at C3). Spin the “Scratch” param to scratch. Use “Arp On” and “Rate” to repeat notes.

9 – Outpost Lead (Lead)

Mod Wheel: Not Used

Velocity: Volume

After Touch: Not used

A cyclical metallic lead sound that was re-synthesized then edited additively to protect you from direct exposure to alien mind control sound.

10 – Nasty Circuit (SFX/Lead)

Mod Wheel: Filter

Velocity: Volume

After Touch: Pitch Up

A rhythmic timber that sounds like something close to metal being bowed, bent, and blasted with radiation with knobs for tuning in sounds from the ether

11 – Plasma Matrix (SFX)

Mod Wheel: Filter

Velocity: Volume

After Touch: Pitch

A rhythmic timber that sounds like something close to boiling plasma. Control the flow.

12 – Singing Bowls (Bell/Pad)

Mod Wheel: Filter

Velocity: Volume

After Touch: Pitch LFO

Qualities of a singing bowl articulated with mallet and wind. Character of sound changes from an evolving textural pad with a lot of bottom end on lower octaves to almost flute-like sound in top octaves.

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