More and more sample libraries now ship as self‑contained instruments, courtesy of Native Instruments' Kontakt Player engine, and some add to their arsenal of possibilities by including special features that are programmed using the Kontakt Script Processor (KSP) — articulation options, convolution effects, and so on. Kontakt itself ships with a set of factory scripts, so you can add treatments to your own instruments, and you can even write your own if you're prepared to learn the Kontakt Script Language. But for those who are daunted by that challenge, Soniccouture — who already have extensive KSP experience, courtesy of their own Abstrakt and Hang Drum libraries — have come to the rescue.
Scriptorium consists of 35 KSP scripts, and 60 instruments in both Kontakt 2 and Kontakt 3 formats (along with 325MB of associated sample data) that showcase some of their capabilities, plus four video tutorials and a well‑written PDF manual. Some of the scripts are simple in concept, yet perfect for the analogue enthusiast — such as the individual random pitch‑drift for each note that you can add with Analogue Oscillators, or the global perturbations of Tape Wow. Other tuning aids include Just Intonation and the many micro-tuning scale options of Distemper, and you even get various esoteric beat‑frequency options courtesy of Brainwave Detune, plus freeform waveform drawing with LFO Design.
There are also plenty of bread and butter controller scripts that you can patch into parameters such as filter cutoff and resonance to add interest to otherwise bland sounds, such as the five random streams of Controller Wobbler, which is great for ensuring that each note sounds slightly different from the previous one, just like 'real' instruments, or the four taps of Controller Delay. I found the latter wonderful with slow mod-wheel sweeps, where several parameters followed my moves at staggered times, for loads of internal movement.
Triggering options also abound. Some may perhaps be novelties, such as the speeding‑up note retriggering of Bounce and the hidden musical messages you can generate in your melodies with Morse Code, but there are also more serious scripts, such as the 32‑step, tempo‑sync'ed rhythmic gating of Gatorade, and the strange 'second player' of Kotekan, generating extra notes when you release yours. Another highlight is Cellular Automata, which functions like a musical version of Conway's 'Game Of Life', generating new tempo‑synced notes according to various rules. Hardcore users will love Glitch Machine, which generates woodpecker‑like repeated 'drills' across a specified range of keys — ideal for creating mad new drum sounds!
While Kontakt's Group Editor lets you combine a selection of sample‑filled zones into a group for rich, layered sounds, I was particularly taken by Soniccouture's various Group scripts, which go a lot further. Group Delay lets you layer up to five groups, each with its own level and transpose, but, more importantly, gives each of them a rhythmically‑related delay. You could use these delays for the staggered attacks of mandolin or 12‑string sounds, or, with longer delays, for multi‑triggered evolving pads.
Group Random lets you play 16 groups at random, but with the probability of each group sounding depending on the positions of 16 sliders. This is great for playing slightly different drum hits, for instance, to prevent 'machine gunning' on fast runs. Or, with the Autoplay option on, to rhythmically trigger these random sequences, for non‑repeating one‑note jams. Group Sequencer triggers a set of up to 32 steps, each one with its own choice of Group, with results that are reminiscent of the Korg Wavestation — but are far easier to edit!
I personally loved Mobile, which is a Godsend for those into ambient music, since it triggers its Group objects according to their position in a grid, but lets these positions drift one step forward or backward in the grid on each run-through, according to your weighting. If the grid size is small, you get rhythmic structures, but as the grid gets larger your various patches start to sound as if they are hanging from a gently swaying wind chime. However, if you also let your transpose settings drift, you can rapidly create contemporary classical atonal string clusters.
Mobile Drums is based on the same algorithms, but is optimised for drums and percussion, with each of your six drum sounds having its own weighting sliders to determine on which beats of the sequence they are most likely to sound. The results of this process is ever‑changing but extremely musical drum patterns that you can freeze and save at any time if a particular groove grabs you.
A lot of inspiration has been condensed into these Scripts, and they represent good value for money. Although Scriptorium might suffer from a low initial 'wow factor', within a couple of hours its target audience of imaginative Kontakt‑owning musicians will most likely be salivating at all the possibilities — I certainly was! Martin Walker
£49 including VAT$99.
Soniccouture +44 (0)208 392 8837.
Soniccouture +44 (0)208 392 8837.