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Slate + Ash Auras

Software Instrument
By Nick Rothwell

Working with Layers: the main Auras editing/mixing window.Working with Layers: the main Auras editing/mixing window.

We explore some alien soundscapes, courtesy of Slate + Ash's Auras...

Auras, by Slate + Ash, is described as an MPE-capable sample library that "explores the realm of musical sounds that are formless or undefinable in nature". They would at least seem to be definable in NI's Kontakt sample player, and you'll need to source that for yourself — Auras comes as a set of Kontakt 'Multis' alongside 9GB of sample data. You'll also need the full version of Kontakt (5.6.5 or higher), the free Kontakt Player won't do.

From reading the overview on the Slate + Ash website, it's not actually that clear whether Auras is a sample library, an instrument, or a carefully curated set of interactive sound pieces. As far as I can tell, what you get for your money is a combination of all three: each of the 60 or so Kontakt multi-programs is a rich, multicoloured and highly dynamic sonic atmosphere. Many of the programs are notionally tuned, but there's often too much going on for you to have a chance of picking out a convincing root tone, so you may have to be content with swirling chordal structures, at which the Auras library excels.

When it comes to the editing interface for the programs, Slate + Ash have gone for simple, minimal macro-style controls for shaping the sounds. (For more detailed editing, the rest of Kontakt is available to you...

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Published October 2019