Back in February, in partnership with Gothic Instruments, we unleashed DRONAR: Hybrid Module on to the world. Six months on, this revolutionary atmospheric sound generator for Kontakt has become our best selling product of 2016 so far and has received critical acclaim from both press and users, including several high profile composers.
Since then, Scripter Adam Hanley has been working on the eagerly awaited second DRONAR module (Guitarscapes), but, not one to rest on his laurels, Founder Dan Graham, has already devised a new series of sound design tools under the title ‘SCULPTOR‘. The first of these – ‘Live Impacts Module’ – has just been released and is available exclusively from Time+Space.
We sat down with Dan to find out more…
So, Sculptor is the first in a new series of Sound Design tools for Kontakt – can you tell us more about the concept of this series?
The Sculptor series will have sound packs released in 4 categories: Impacts (like this), Whooshes, Rises and Drops. Each category will have a different type of interface, and then future sound packs will all have new raw samples covering different areas of sound such as natural (from the environment), sci-fi, electronic, orchestral, ensemble percussion and so on.
Our goal is to combine incredible raw material created by Hollywood trailer sound designer Alessandro Camnasio, with a user interface that allows infinite variety and control by mixing and matching different elements of the sounds and then controlling them with familiar parameters like filters, tuning and effects which drastically customize the sounds.
I’ve also worked hard to make presets that show off what can be done and give quick access to highly usable sounds, for those in a rush.
We want to encourage people to collect all the sound packs, so we’re keeping prices very low considering the world-class quality, and for future modules, we’re offering a price reduction for all customers of previous editions.
‘Live impacts’ is the first module – what does it do?
This sound set was generated from striking stone and metal hard, and setting off real explosions, all then processed to sound huge – all recorded and processed by Alessandro Camnasio. So, we get the feel of anvils, stone and fire. Those sound sources give this module a strong character, of HELL I suppose.
Apart from the sound sources, the dials and presets give users the chance to use it either as something for a collection of gigantic single-hit impact sounds, or performed as velocity sensitive monstrous percussion.
Can you run through some of the more unique features?
The optional PRE-WHOOSH section is a little reverse sound before the main impact which gives a strong sense of a very fast incoming projectile. The GAP dial gives you a slight pause between the whoosh and impact which has a very dramatic effect. The RANDOM button changes all the source sounds to give you endless variety with no effort.
The interface and hellish cracking lava animation looks fantastic too. I know it’s only visual but I think that things looking great is inspiring and puts you in a good mood for being creative. Composing music should feel like playing with toys at least SOME of the time!
World class quality, very attractive pricing, huge variety and simple control over the sounds. The only comparison is our “Impact Designer” which we did for Zero G which is still great but this has all new sounds with a strong character (of HELLISH smashes!), a refined interface and it’s priced a bit lower.
Tell us more about the sound sources..
Over to Alessandro who recorded them:
“I have recorded a lot of raw material with high-definition microphones to leave space for further processing later. The sources include fireworks and pyrotechnics, musical instruments, magnetic fields, electric sparks, impacts made with rocks and bricks, all kinds of metallic objects I could find, such as metal foils, cans of various sizes, gym weights, broken bottles impacts against concrete and metal, broken wood… even a car!
To create the final sounds I have used a lot of layering (up to 30 different raw sources) and processing to make them sound even bigger.”
Sculptor: Live Impacts Module is clearly perfect for trailers, video games, soundtracks etc, but are there any other applications or styles of music you would recommend it for?
Yes certainly. It could be used for big impact sounds in electronic and dance music, and layered with more conventional drum sounds in pop and rock productions too for an epic, larger than life quality. It does great “We Will Rock You” type power drums. It could also be used to make explosive, thunderous or booming sound effects.
And for the DRONAR fans among us, can you give us a quick update on how the second Dronar Module is coming along?
The next DRONAR module is “Guitarscapes” with highly performable drone sounds & pads all built from live recordings of electric, bass, acoustic, classical, pedal steel guitars and mandolins – some more natural sounding, some very processed. This has been a mammoth task because it has a new rhythmical engine allowing you to create your own rhythm patterns in amongst the pad magic which has required a lot of technical work to achieve but we’re nearly there.
Got a question about SCULPTOR? Gothic Instruments´ Dan Graham will be taking over the Time+Space Facebook page on Wednesday 20th July between 4 and 5pm (BST). Head over there now to add a question to the post in advance.