Rating: **** 4/5 Stars
Audiomodern have a modest but intriguing collection of plug‑ins and virtual instruments in their catalogue, the latest of which is Opacity II, a Kontakt‑based sample library (it works with both the free and full versions of Kontakt 6.2.2 or higher). The library comes with the subtitle Boutique Cinematic Guitars, and that captures the essence of what’s provided in the 6GB of sample content. There are evocative mellow chords, picked melodies and note sequences and atmospheric guitar swells, all presented with some beautiful ambience; if you imagine some sort of marriage between a mellowed‑out Edge and guitar elements from a Brian Eno film cue then you will be in the right ballpark.
Audiomodern suggest that Opacity II is both virtual instrument and loop engine, and that’s a fair summary given the two different playback modes offered. In essence, the library is built around some 14 musical ‘sessions’, with each session providing four sets of loops covering chords, phrases, extended note sequences and textures/swells. When you load a specific session, loops from that session are mapped out across a colour‑coded, four‑octave, range and you can trigger them in any combination you like to build a composition. And, given the ambient nature of many of the underlying performances, loops from each session can be combined in a multitude of ways; with suitable care over keys, they can also be blended with loops from other sessions.
If you are looking for some sonic inspiration to help generate your next ambient guitar film score, Opacity II is most certainly a contender.
The loops are beautiful. However, you can also flip into a Performance mode where the underlying sound from each loop section is mapped across the full keyboard range as a playable instrument. This gives you a little more creative input in terms of crafting your own melodic or chordal content to layer over the loops. It’s also where Opacity II’s well‑stocked effects and sound‑shaping options come fully into their own. The loops themselves are already processed and may not require much by way of further processing. However, for the Performance sounds, you can make full use of the delay, reverb, filter, modulation, stutter (some very cool tremolo effects here), amplitude envelope, compression and cabinet modelling (including a rotary option) effects that are all included. There are plenty of processing options.
When it comes to composing ambient soundtracks, a little can go a long way. You therefore don’t need to blend many elements from Opacity II’s sample set to create something that makes a very plausible complete cue. Yes, in terms of the loop‑based elements, you have to work within the confines of what’s provided, but the ability to switch to Performance mode adds considerable versatility. And, with plenty of options for building drone‑style soundscapes, a few well‑chosen notes (and some judicious EQ) work best to avoid overpowering the low‑mids. All that said, if you are looking for some sonic inspiration to help generate your next ambient guitar film score, Opacity II will undoubtedly provide just that.