Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars
Cinematique Instruments always seem to do something slightly leftfield with their virtual instruments and Rytmik, while ostensibly a sample‑based drum and percussion library aimed at media composers and electronic music producers, is no exception. At its heart is a collection of over 200 unique drum, percussion and effects sounds, delivered as a Kontakt‑based instrument. The underlying instruments go from massive kicks and booms all the way to intricate percussion sounds and the quality is uniformly high. A collection of 350 presets provide instant gratification but you can also build your own by combining up to 24 of the underlying sounds, sequence each sound with its own 32‑step sequencer, trigger any or all of the 24 sounds via MIDI, and apply a range of effects and real‑time sound tweaking via the mod wheel.
The main controls are spread across four tabs: Main, Mixer, Blocks and Shape. Main provides access to the preset browser with filter options to narrow down your search. A well as conventional mixing duties, the Mixer is where you can browse and load individual sounds. The 24 sound slots feed four group channels (including the option to load groups of instruments) and you also get reverb and delay send effects and a global compressor.
Block provides the step‑based sequencer with a velocity lane for each of the 24 instrument slots. Clicking the small ‘e’ button on the left of any lane expands the editing environment for that lane. You can trigger playback of the whole preset here or via the C4 key. Alternatively, you can trigger the sequencer for combinations of sounds in the notes above C4 or play individual sounds in real‑time via a keyrange below C4. These keys are all colour‑coded on Kontakt’s virtual MIDI keyboard. There are some cool options here including shifting beat patterns along a lane and live recording of patterns, making this a very creative working environment. Finally, the Shape page provides options to configure how velocity, volume, high‑ and low‑pass filters, reverb, lo‑fi and distortion effects are modulated by the mod wheel. This is simple to configure but very effective in use and a small number of ‘Shape’ presets are instantly available as the base of the page to get you started.
The UI is classic Cinematique Instruments (cool but slightly quirky!) and, while it remains easy enough to find your way around, there were a few graphical tweaks that might makes things easier for the user. For example, in the Mixer, the central circle lights up when you trigger the Play button but (for me at least), not when triggering individual loops from my MIDI keyboard. Equally, in the Blocks page, it would be useful if the step sequencer showed a playhead on individual lanes (instead of just when the full pattern is in playback) so you can more easily see which instrument you are triggering.
These are minor wishlist comments though because, in use, Rytmik sounds excellent. It’s an impressive sonic arsenal presented in an interesting and creative interface and will undoubtedly appeal to modern media composers or electronic producers.