Having risen to prominence from the USA’s southern quarter, trap music is informed in equal measure by club and “mixtape” culture with a sound-design as diverse as hip hop’s. From 808 sub-bass and biting melodic leads, to experimental digital sound sets, MASSIVE’s library offers an arsenal of ready-made weapons, brilliantly engineered for deployment within, and beyond the boundaries of this evolving genre. Listed below are some of the picks from MASSIVE’s factory patch library, from bedrock 808 booms, to eerie spectral synths, and classic tones nodding to hip hop’s lineage.
Fallen Sine is a great tool to generate radical, cavernous ‘dive bomb’ bass tones, whilst Fallen Sine 2 is a more radical variation on a theme – instantly traversing EDM / dubstep territory with aggressive, overdriven bite.
B-Low and B-Low 2 are further 808-style emulations with a rather more ‘contemporary’ trap / grime sound, utilising deep stereo chorusing to add super “wide screen” coloration to a sizable low end.
Leads, Synths, Stabs, Keys
Fans of Usher should yell “Yeah!”. Brasscati Chordissimo are ballsy, brass emulations, engineered with exaggerated bite. Big Lead follows the same, proto-rave trajectory, authored years before the South’s R&B star rose to ascendance.
Harpolodic is a hybrid harpsichord / guitar, polished with 90s digital sheen. It’s well suited to the staccato, almost Baroque motifs popularised first by West Coast hip hop – a trap-worthy nod to the “original gangstas”.
Angkluster is tinged with curious ‘vaporwave’ affect – a genre referenced by everyone from YouTube bedroom heros to Ty Dolla $ign. It’s a deceptively subtle, textured percussive organ with wonderful macros which push its hypnagogic chutzpah, evoking imagery of a synth curiosity stolen from a 80s toyshop.
Water Rhodes is a perfectly formed 90s digi-key clone. A prototypical electric piano, it’s drenched in phase modulation and flanging.
Prepared Piano is a ‘treated’ electric piano tone. Textured hues and cavernous reverb are great for generating trap’s infamous ‘haunted’ toy piano signature.
Cave Heart personifies trap’s futurist wonk. Distressed, reverb-drenched and hewn from the depths of regret. This nuanced and ethereal pluck clicks, pops and fizzes, with a “Ghosts” macro ensuring your melody is suitably spectral, and a “paper” macro to make sure the sonic ‘skrilla’ is, indeed, being stacked.
Arctic Bells is a blazed out bell tone, fusty with atonal crackle – intuitively incorporating macro controls (wow, a “wind” dial!) which add hyperreal FM overtones, digital noise and dirt.
Bellclarinet offers a crisp trap style digital chime, while Out in the Woods is a dark, arpeggiated masterpiece – a “direct to VHS slasher epic”, swelling with ominous strings which rise over time – dark trap perfection, lost in the swampy back woods.
Ballerina is great for lower, more ominous FM chimes.
Galactic Gaze, from STADIUM FLEX, taps into trap’s zeitgeisty penchant for detuned, synthetic plucks. Bell like and blunted for wonky melodic mallevolance.
Woozy atmospheres, soundscapes and pads
Xenharmonix creates soft yet malevolent digital distopics to your trap house meisterwerk. Macros seamlessly transform the patch into a thrumming, synced chord pad.
Xenakis1 and Xenakis2 continue on an eerie metallic trajectory. Instant drones emerge, with overtones of apocalyptic siren song.
Thriller, far from being a reference to MJ’s finest hour, is a rich and spatial organ / pad / drone which evolves slowly into a hazy wash of comfortingly hypnotic interstellar fuge. It also doubles as a woozy, detuned chordal device.
Just a Dream from the STADIUM FLEX expansion resonates eerie analogue luminosity, with marcos allowing this melodic patch to be smeared into soft oblivion.
Bonus Factory Presets
Bursted Flute nods to a secret level in a classic Sega Master System martial arts game. Patches like this and C64 Stab speak strongly to the genre crossbreeding between trap and UK Grime. Meanwhile, Trinidad is a steel drum patch, perfect for orchestrating the soundtrack to your haunted dancehall / trap / crunk chart topper.
Snoop is a classic West Coast “Moog style” analogue G-Funk bass / lead.
Coneblower and Absolute are MASSIVE library classics. Coneblower’s bass pump is reminiscent of Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign’s recent dancehall leaning collaboration. A step to the left of ‘purist’ trap, to be sure, but brutal and effective urban weapons.