Get the Peaks sample pack for free at Wavparty.

If you got into Eurorack in the mid 2010s, you probably had (or still have!) a Mutable Instruments Peaks in your rack. It’s a small dual channel Swiss Army knife that accepts two triggers and can generate envelopes, tempo-synced LFOs, and 808-inspired kick and snare sounds. You can also expand that functionality with alternative firmware. If you’re starting out with a small system this is incredibly valuable--but as the landscape evolved Peaks began to look like more and more of an anachronism. It has a tricky menu system, knob assignments that you will never memorize, and absolutely no CV control--the audacity!

Emilie discontinued it in 2017, but even in a world with more robust multifunction modules, it continues to live on in the form of shrunken down small-batch clones. Why? Well, it’s really good at what it does. Clocked LFOs are really handy for rhythmic music and usually only show up in bigger and more expensive modules. But really? It’s the drums. It’s so easy to dial in fantastic drum sounds with Peaks, and being able to generate a kick and a snare at the same time is huge when you’re working with a small system.

I agree with a commenter on that MI Facebook post: Braids might give you more control over sounds, but the Peaks drums just sound better to me. I used them on a track on the latest Tron F. Kennedy album and I’m sure they’ll sneak in to more songs in the future.

So when it came time to sample it, I wanted to capture those great kick and snare sounds, but I wanted to see what else it could do. The “Expert” mode allows you to use all 4 knobs to control the parameters of one sound which is great for crafting a wider variety of drum sounds. Dead Man’s Catch also includes a FM drum mode with a much wider palette of sound--you can coax some great FM bass and piano sounds out of it. This pack includes 81 sounds:

26 snares
15 kick drums (9 of them tuned to C)
16 melodic sounds (tuned to C)
12 high hats
4 percussion sounds
8 toms (two different sets, tuned low to high: A, D, F, A)

You can hear it in action here:

About the demo track: I have a lot of fun with these demo songs for the sample packs. It’s a really interesting challenge to put together a track that shows off as many sounds as possible, but still sounds cohesive and interesting (and doesn’t use any other sounds). This demo track was done in Ableton Live with a drum rack and a few instances of Sampler & Simpler (for the melodic parts) loaded with samples from the pack. There is a lot of filtering of samples, chorus/flanger/reverb applied to some of the melodic sounds, and some compression/EQ on everything.