For French producer, songwriter and sound designer Nicolas Petitfrère, aka Nömak, Native software has been a career constant, playing a major role in everything from his Alesia and Point Point band projects, through his collaborations with UK electro-pop star Charli XCX, to his solo work – and his current go-to for synthesis is MASSIVE X. He even produced a demo track for the MASSIVE X product page – hear it below – so it’s safe to say that he’s very much an authority on Native’s flagship synth.
Last November, Nömak took to the stage at the 2019 Paris Electronic Week festival to present a sound design masterclass, putting together the beginnings of a complete track using nothing but MASSIVE X. You can watch his talk below – with subtitles for non French speakers – then get your hands on the main patch that served as the conceptual starting point for that track, plus the four patches used for its accompanying bass, kick drum, hi-hat and percussive keyboard parts.
The main patch, ‘Massive X 1’, is a bright, minor-key chordal affair with a choppy, gated feel and plenty of harmonic movement. The raw tone – a constantly shifting textural pad – is generated by the FM Growl wavetable in Oscillator 1, and a tempo-synced LFO modulates the Wavetable Position, as well as the Pitch parameter of the Anima Insert Effect. “To me, the beauty of wavetable synthesis, is that you instantly get an interesting texture,” comments Nömak.
The gating effect comes from modulation of the Blue Monark Filter’s cutoff frequency by the Performer 2 modulation source. This is programmed to output a jagged, rapidly rising triangle wave sequence, making the filter chop rhythmically into the raw pad sound.
Perhaps the most interesting element of the patch, though, is the employment of MASSIVE X’s Chord mode and the Performer mod source to trigger a defined harmonic progression from just a single held MIDI note. With three Unison voices dialled in, and the Minor Yo chord Set selected, Performer 1 is assigned to modulate the Chord Fader in Key (retriggering) mode, and a sequence is drawn in to create a repeating chord pattern that steps through six of the 12 available chord shapes.
The end result is a complex, expressive and thoroughly relevant electronic sound of the kind that could only ever be made using a synth of MASSIVE X’s power; and with the two Performers locked to host tempo, the all-important rhythmic filter and Chord Fader modulation are always in sync. “That’s the magic of using only synthesis,” says Nömak, “finding sounds that are already personal, sounds that really come from you. And there’s no processing or resampling, etc, so they’re completely flexible.”
Download the patch over on metapop, then show us what you can do with it to be in with a chance to win big Native prizes. And if you feel like diving into the full project, it’s included in the download for MASCHINE, Live, Logic, Cubase and FL Studio, alongside the individual MIDI files and MASSIVE X patches for users of other DAWs.