One of the best parts about being a musician in today’s day and age is the presence of free resources. Sample libraries are no exception, and we were overjoyed when we found out a user sampled a wonderfully retro 1982 Casiotone MT-45.
The user-created pack is entirely free, cleared for royalty-free use, and full of incredible sounds to build some 80’s inspired tracks. Below, we’ll dive into the pack and create a beat together step-by-step using the samples.
What Is A 1982 Casiotone?
Casio is one of the most prolific keyboard brands in the business. Referenced in many songs like Jungle’s “Casio,” the brand has become all but synonymous with warm, retro, nostalgic sounds. The Casiotone MT-45 is an early-1980’s analog keyboard that harbored sounds developed through square wave synthesis.
Diving Into The Pack
The bass sounds have different iterations since the MT-45 provides manual, fingered, and “Casio chord” presets for bass. Before starting your track, take the time to listen through each sample and select the most intriguing players.
For my purposes, I’m going to go ahead and grab the “Bass C2 Manual,” “Harp C4 vibrato on,” “Piano C4 vibrato on,” and “Violin C4 vibrato on.” The letter refers to the key the sound is playing, and the number depicts how high or low that particular tone is. C2 is an octave below C3, C3 is an octave below C4, and so forth.
It’s nice that the pack creator decided to record all C notes. This way, we can easily resample and manipulate to our liking. Before we get groovy, here are what the samples I selected sound like unprocessed in no particular order:
Creating The Drums
Before manipulating the samples I selected, I want to create a basic drum pattern to give my track a frame of reference. In the spirit of retro samples, I’m going to create a minimal “4-on-the-floor” beat using some stock kicks, snares, and hi-hats.
The “4-on-the-floor” beat was popularized due to the disco era and still lives on today as one of the most popular pop and dance drum patterns. You can find clear examples in The Rolling Stone’s “Miss You.”
This pattern is in 4/4 time and utilizes the darker-kick on each quarter note, creating 4 kick beats in every bar (hence the namesake). The snare is placed on every second and fourth quarter note, commonly referred to as the 2 and 4. Hi-hats fill up some of the space, coming in on every 1/8th note. My 4-on-the-floor pattern for this song sounds like this:
Bringing In The Bass
To start, I’m going to drag the sample into Ableton’s sampler. You can open the sampler by creating a MIDI track and dragging the sample directly onto the timeline or selecting “Sampler” on the instruments tab.