Sonuscore combine organic percussion sounds with a creative sequencing engine.
While Sonuscore’s latest release — Fragments: Modern Percussion — will undoubtedly appeal to their core media composer fanbase, I suspect this Kontakt‑based instrument might also be of interest to a wider audience. Fragments features a three‑lane step‑sequencer sound engine. However, the lane labels — Bass Drum, Snare Drum and Fragments — have been chosen to imply a role rather than a specific sound, because the compact (the whole library is only 100MB in size) collection is built from more organic‑style sound sources. Yes, the Bass Drum and Snare Drum lanes might provide the same low‑end and punchy low mids that a conventional kick and snare might, while the Fragments lane then takes on the high‑end role of the hi‑hat but, in each case, more organic sounds fulfil the task.
Thanks to some very clever elements within the playback engine, you can coax a pretty diverse range of sounds from the underlying samples. All the key features are spread across three tabbed pages; Main, FX and User. The Main page is where the bulk of the action is at. As well as access to the tag‑based preset browser, this is where you get access to the key settings for each of the three sound slots. For example, at the top of each slot you can activate any combination of the five available sound types — Wood, Metal, Mech, Body and User — providing a simple means to customise the sound generated. The User slot allows you to add a single sample of your own to each of the three sound slots, providing further flexibility. These user samples can be dragged and dropped into the User page prior to use, where you also get options to adjust the attack and volume of the sample.
Towards the base of the Main page are the three step sequencers. These offer individual step counts (any value up to 32 steps) and step lengths (with dotted and triplet options available) providing plenty of rhythmic flexibility. With the Engine button engaged (the default), trigger keys for all three sequencers together, or each individual sequencer, are mapped on C3 to F3. However, if you disengage the Engine, the key mapping is adjusted, letting you play all the samples manually.
Some of the further options are particularly interesting. First, the three Sound knobs allow you to change which of the underlying samples is used within each sound slot, while the small slider underneath the knob adds a degree of (rather wonderful) randomness to the sound selection during playback. Second, engaging one (or more) of the Density buttons lets the sequencer add ghost notes to any unused step in the respective sequencer and, by default, you can control the level/velocity of these ghost notes via the mod wheel (CC1). Third, the two dice icons above each sequencer allow you to both generate new step sequences (by rearranging the current pattern) or, on playback, to generate a rearranged pattern each time the sequencer loops. This latter option is particularly effective when used with the Fragments slot, but all the dice button options are great for generating new pattern ideas. Fourth, while your host is running, the mini keyboard icon located bottom‑left provides drag‑and‑drop MIDI export to your DAW for editing and playback with the Engine disengaged; very neat.
The User page includes options for configuring a selection of sound modulation options (such as the mod wheel density behaviour mentioned above) and these include control over the individual filters found within the FX page alongside other effects such as a global reverb and compressor, and individual delay and high/low‑cut controls for each sound slot.
It’s perfectly capable of providing a full percussion performance but, equally, also works great alongside a more conventional set of drum/percussion sounds.
The sum of all these parts ends up being a really impressive — and very creative — percussion tool. It’s perfectly capable of providing a full percussion performance but, equally, also works great alongside a more conventional set of drum/percussion sounds. Fragments’ sound set is described as ‘organic’ and that feels about right — it’s quirky but very cool — and, as such would work brilliantly in a contemporary music‑to‑picture context or in pop or electronica production. As so often, Sonuscore have managed to combine a carefully targeted sample base, some creative sequencing tools, and clever sound‑design options to make a very creative instrument that’s also a pleasure to use. Fragments: Modern Percussion is perhaps something of a specialist product, but it’s also a mighty fine one and competitively priced to boot.
Combining some quirky percussion sounds and a powerful pattern sequencing engine, Fragments is wonderfully creative.