Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Adopting the familiar format of a Kontakt instrument, Double Bass Textures incorporates a healthy 5.18GB of sampled content; a considerable hike on Emergence’s Violin and Cello Textures, which occupy similar stylistic bandwidth. However, it’s the double bass itself that is particularly exciting in this setting. It’s capable of some pretty remarkable sounds, thanks to its enormous resonating cavity and potential to bow in numerous different styles. It doesn’t take long to uncover some of these sound‑source gems, but before I head into upright‑bass‑land, let’s consider the Kontakt instrument itself.
The interface is simple, elegant and engaging, but very capable. The left and right of the instrument are a mirror image, allowing engagement of up to two samples; one per side. The samples can then be adapted immediately, beginning with the simplistic concept of an ADSR envelope, and extending to a number of LFO‑based modulations, which are hardwired to several visible pots, namely filter cutoff, resonance and panning. You don’t have to use modulation in favour of fixing values across the board. Even in this stationary stance, the potential stakes are high, thanks to the large and centrally located balance pot. Engineering a sound which creeps and evolves across the stereo field, employing just envelopes and panning, is as simple to do as it is highly effective.
Much of the quality begins at source; 16 samples populate the sample‑selection drop‑down, with each playing out over a considerable length of time. There are no round‑robins, which isn’t an entire surprise, as this is not designed to be a conventional instrument clone. It’s perfect for creating drones and textures, using bowing techniques that generate harmonic content that’s ripe for filtering and shaping.
The Normale sample is about as regular as the samples get, with the purity of no‑vibrato and con sordino available. In both instances, there is an abstract sense of time, as the bow switches direction at irregular points. It’s difficult to disguise this change of direction, as upper harmonics enter the equation with each bow reverse. Other bowed samples provide similar sustained interest, which include sul tasto, sul pont and flautando. There are similarities in some of the sonics, but as they are each played individually, you’ll always find a degree of player‑based irregularity. By contrast, the Punta Darco and Detached samples both play out, with marcato strokes, through a series of random note lengths and dynamics.
...while Emergence supply plenty of presets to get you going, it’s so easy to get creative.
The filter subtracts any harmonic‑based elements that you wish, in either high‑ or low‑pass modes. It’s then over to the LFO modulations to excite the content, which can be achieved at a free rate, or sync’ed across the plug‑in and/or your DAW. You can engineer an awful lot of rhythmic or unravelling movement in this way, and while Emergence supply plenty of presets to get you going, it’s so easy to get creative. The Init patch quickly becomes a useful diving‑off point.
With great sounds and a powerfully simple interface, this is a sonically rich and worthy addition to the Textures line‑up.