A water bottle transmogrified into a virtual instrument...

The story

I went to a synthesiser gathering and all I got was this aluminium water bottle… Hmm. This tee-shirt text needs some work.


OK, How about: I got this water bottle at Synthfest UK instead of buying a synthesizer! Nope. Doesn’t work either…


Hey! I got this water bottle at a synthesizer fest in Sheffield, and turned it into a decent sample. Hmmm, too much like an advert.


Wow! That sounds amazing! [Approved for publication]

This is me turning an event-branded aluminium water bottle into a Decent Sampler sample. I feel a strong urge to try and work in something about it being a half-decent decent sampler sample, but that seems contrived, plus it builds expectations that I’m not sure I can deliver on.

So here’s my attempt to record the sound of a water bottle, and then transmogrify it into a virtual instrument using David Hilowitz’s amazing Decent Sampler. I used absolutely nothing special or vintage, no valves were exposed to any stress, no tape machine (or emulation) was used to add wow, flutter, cor blimey, gosh or sheesh to the audio, and it was not treated to the caresses of outboard gear salvaged from that corridor at Abbey Road Studios in London. No guitar pedals were used, but several may have been purchased. Gold-plated, oxygen-free cables were avoided. I valiantly attempted to get the permission of the water bottle for me to use the sample that I made of it being repeatedly assaulted by a variety of hard, soft and in-between objects, but my efforts were in vain – the water bottle stubbornly and steadfastly refused to give me permission to use samples of itself. As a result, I do not have full permission to use the sound of the water bottle, although I was a persuasive as I could be in the circumstances. I did nearly lash out when the water bottle taunted me by saying: ‘You do realise that I am an inanimate object that it is never going to be possible to extract any permission from, ever. Pah, feeble human, your sampling techniques are worthless in the face of my perfection.” I seriously contemplated sending the water bottle for recycling at that point, but it then pointed out that it was not capable of cycling, and so any prospect of re-cycling was totally beyond the beyond.

Worse than that, to the best of my knowledge, the water bottle is almost certainly not free of viruses, but I was unable to find any way to inject it with malware, either for the first jab or the second, several weeks later. Representatives of several countries’ embassies reminded me that injections should not be carried out for this under 65, or 55, or on Thursdays. Apparently one of the best techniques in user manuals is to include a critical phase somewhere where no-one will be paying attention – something like: If you read this then you are completed to write ‘Boo!’ on a piece of paper and put it inside the next piece of equipment that you open up.

This text, and the samples that accompany it, may be freely used by anyone accessing this free text or these free samples, freely, with no charge, no cost, nada, pro bono, without crossing any palms, firs, oaks or any other trees with silver or any other metal, precious or otherwise.

Why aren’t checklists checked? Obviously they should have black and white squares all over them – why else would they be called checklists?

I did spend a lot of time trying to upload terms. Summer term was too hot. Easter term had chocolatey fingerprints all over it. Spring term bounced all over the place. Autumn term had a great Fall in the USA.

One of my longest held wishes has been to define a new sampling format called: ‘Format’ I really think that David H missed a trick here. Imagine if every time you tried to type the format into a text box… Format? ‘Format’ ‘Please type a valid format.’ ‘Format’ ‘Please select a format from the list.’ ‘Format’…

I am also intrigued by which one of the community is driving this ‘community driven’ sample library? Is it CH? The wording suggests that perhaps the entire community is driving, in which case one wonders if that is legal? More than one driver?

I have to confess that I spent rather too much time trying to figure out why the ‘Are you human?’ box failed every time I typed ‘Yes’ into the text box. Eventually, after several million failed and numerically over-exaggerated attempts, I realised that I should have been typing ‘YES’ into the box. Now if it had asked: ‘ARE YOU HUMAN?’ then I might have responded correctly slightly quicker… You will be pleased to learn that I didn’t try ‘Y’ or the more polite ‘Yes, I am. Thank you for asking.’


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  • Similar to Vacuum Taps...

    A similar sound to Vacuum Taps, this instrument has nice pings and bell tones with a hollow sound. I personally find it to be a little cleaner and more usable than the aforementioned library. Overall good with a clean interface for simple use. Thumbs up!

    christopher13 October 2021