Jump Files & Sounds for Jambient
Getting Sounds for Jambient
To play Jambient, you need sounds in wave file format. There are many, many sources for sounds on the Web. We've collected a few of our favourites on this page. Many are free; some have modest subscription costs, but have free files also available for download, and others are professional level and may charge more.
One thing about sounds for Jambient to keep in mind; you need not look for specifically 'musical' sounds to make Jambient music. Sound effects, bird calls, explosions, train sounds, guitars, drum beats; we've mixed with all of them. So don't be afraid to try out whatever you find; you'll quickly get the sense of what sorts of sounds you like.
Another source of sounds is your own recordings. Sampling short sequences from CDs, your own music or whatever can yield interesting results. Yes, there is such a law as copyright, so this is not a license to sample the last movement of Beethoven's 5th, or all of your favourite Tupac disc, but short samples are part of the remix culture - get used to it. If you really do want to play Jambient over the top of you favourite song, you can always put that CD into the tray of the computer you're running Jambient on, and simply play it. Lots of soundcards, like Creative Labs' SoundBlaster Live! will do a great job of letting you combine both, live, realtime.
Another thing to keep in mind: Jambient's ability to load sounds is limited by the available RAM on your computer. So if you have 16 Mb of System RAM, you won't be able to load in a 25 Mb recording of your favourite song. Nor do we recommend you try; Jambient seems to work best loading in short sounds of under 30 seconds duration. This is just in the nature of a looping mixer, where the sounds you build are often dependent on the rhythms in a repeated sound.
Some Sources for Wave Samples
* sounds in non-wave formats like .au can be converted using winAmp and other sound utilities.
Jump Files for Download
As an alternate to raw sounds you get from the sound sources above and others, Jambient supports a special output/input format that allows sounds and settings to be loaded all at once into Jambient. This means you can export and import mixes created by you or others easily. We've included a few here, and a longer explanation below. You can also take a look at the getting started section of our Flash intro to Jambient to find out how to load jump files.
And more are on the way!
If you've created a jump file using Jambient, and would like to share it with others, contact us.
What are Jump Files?
When we were creating Jambient, we thought a lot about how users might share the sounds that they created. We considered a web-enabled system, but Jambient was designed to be used in many environments where this would not be possible: in performance, in clubs, on stages and so on.
As well, Jambient isn't meant to be a composition tool in the conventional sense; there is no score laid out over multiple bars in a regular rhythmic scheme; Jambient allows the construction of layered collections of loops that change and develop over time. So a score based on conventional midi or staff notation wasn't what was needed.
Jump files are what we came up with. A jump [.jmp] file is created in Jambient; it stores the settings that Jambient has at the moment that it is created, and you can find out more about how to do this in the manual pages. Jump files do something else; they collect together all the sounds that are loaded into Jambient's 16 channels at the time, and the whole lot is stored in the folder you designate.
So How Do Jump Files Help Me?
With the settings file and all the sounds it references together in one directory, it's easy for you to bundle them all up together and send them to a friend. Or, you could use jump files to work out the sounds you want Jambient to make, and then transport all of it to a new location; the performance, music studio, club where you use Jambient.
Since a given 'jam' [the name we give to a combination of sounds and settings loaded into Jambient] might use sounds from all over your hard drive, this makes it much easier to collect and distribute what's essential about your jam, without moving multiple directories of sounds.