Kalimba Rain

A kalimba played in an aleatoric plucking style....

The story

Aleatoric Kalimba plucks…

This is my Kalimba. It has sat in our house looking ornamental for decades, first in New York, then London and now here in Glasgow with me, gifted to me when I moved out.

I decided to sample it while I was writing music for a new dance piece but I wanted to make something a bit different. I’ve always been outdoors whenever possible and one of my favourite sounds is rain, and I found that the ‘plop’ like sound of the Kalimba has a wonderful watery quality. Fast forward a few hours and the rather pretentiously named “Kalimba Rain” was born! I think it’s seriously beautiful. And could be a perfect compliment to Percussion Swarm… I’ve included an in action video with my submission.

I recorded the same note multiple times with each track solo’d to give it as aleatoric a sound as possible, then panned them far left and right. As you add more and more notes, the sound swells and becomes a sea of ‘plops’.

This EXS instrument is completely dry, so grab your favourite reverb and get, err, plopping…

Reviews for Kalimba Rain

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  • Hmmmmm

    Im a little torn on this one. Its very well recorded and clear but there are definitely a few kalimbas on piano book i much prefer that i feel are more full, warm and defined. The swarms are interesting though. I love swarms and delay and reverb really bring these to life. Its not as playable as a normal kalimba but the textures you can get from the swarms with added effects is pretty magical and unique.

    septemberwalk14 November 2021
  • Nice approach for sampling a kalimba

    I really liked the idea of using the kalimba for a swarm percussion effect, this may be useful for many soundscapes. I would like to control the amount of random notes and the panning of them directly on the plug in. Anyway, this works pretty well as it is.

    OsvaldoDeJesusG28 October 2021
  • Sounds super nice with a reverb!

    This is not your regular Kalimba instrument. It sounds like one, but it definitely doesn't play like one. You will easily notice that there is a very, very noticeable delay between the keystroke and the actual sound happening, but you will also realise that if you hold the note, it repeats it in a kind of random velocity and timing, so by holding many notes down you can create the "rainy' effect that the title suggests. Especially if you introduce the Reverb, it sounds like colourful droplets hitting something! Perhaps it could be more intuitive and easier to use if the first strokes were a little more responsive, since that wouldn't really break the nature of the instrument.

    Alex Raptakis22 December 2021
  • An interesting concept, but maybe needs a little more work

    The sounds are well recorded, and when played correctly, they do create a kind of swarming effect. However, the samples were recorded really softly, and even after boosting them to the max amount in Sampler, the sound is still really soft. It might be that some additional processing would make this instrument really shine.

    Sam Ecoff17 October 2021
  • Kalm Kalimba

    With loads of reverb this sounds great but the recording are unfortunately too quiet.

    Jon Beattie29 December 2021