Rating: **** 4/5 Stars
Glass is an instrument designed to generate long, evolving textures combining both pitched and unpitched looped samples derived from synths, strings, woodwind, field recordings and, in some cases, subjected to granular processing. Evolving pads is what this synth does best and it does it in a very endearing way via its almost childishly simple interface. Requiring the full version of Kontakt 6.3.1 or later, Glass is presented as four different sample‑based instruments, and each instrument is made up of four sound sources created from permutations of 16 samples per instrument, each source having individually adjustable AR envelope, level, pan, ambience reverb, filtering, phase effect and a ‘smearing’ control. Kontakt’s standard ‘right click to learn’ CC message is supported by Glass as well as an MPE engine to take advantage of controllers such as the Roli Seaboard
All four instruments follow the same format other than showing different coloured squares loaded with different samples, and these instruments are designated Swell, Resonance, Tape and Glitch. Swell hints at acoustic instruments in the context of long and evolving sounds while Resonance leans more towards vibrating resonant items such as drums, pipe or strings. Tape apparently uses samples that were processed via a Roland Space Echo while Glitch throws away the rule book by mangling both analogue and digital waveforms to produce pulsing soundscapes. Because Glass uses long looping phrases, the combination of sounds evolves in a very organic kind of way.
To my ears all four of the instruments are capable of producing wonderfully evocative evolving pads or underscores that work well either on their own or layered with other sounds.
Though simple in concept, Glass offers a lot of potential both for creating underscores and pads and for layering with more conventional synth sounds. The way in which sounds evolve is very appealing and because of the independent resonant filters and LFO filter modulation afforded to each of the four layers, it is possible to coax much more variety out of this seemingly simple format than you might think.