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Sound Dust DRIFT003

Kontakt Instrument By Paul White
Published March 2024

Sound Dust DRIFT003

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 4/5 Stars

Requiring the full version of Kontakt, v5.8.1 or above, DRIFT003 uses as its source a 9GB library of voice‑like sounds, arranged as ​11 multisampled hybrid articulations. From these are woven 180 snapshots and 32 modular stacks.

The majority of the sounds were created from AI vocal generators, though we’re told there is a small amount of actual mouth‑generated sound in there too. The recordings have been processed and edited to create 11 separate four‑octave, multi‑velocity articulations. While the resulting sounds can be identified as some type of vocal articulation, reality is most definitely not the focus here. Rather, the aim is to create something new that still suggests human voices, almost as though a vocoder eloped with a multi‑effects processor after listening to a Tuvan throat singer serenading a Speak & Spell game!

The results are varied, from chaotic gibbering to choral overtones, drones that mumble away to themselves and humanoid basses. Some make perfectly useful playable sounds, whereas others may work better as drones or musical punctuation. The way the mod wheel is employed in different ways to modify the sound for each articulation adds a further performance dimension.

The core sounds comprise long evolving samples, loops and multiple velocity layers, so you don’t hear a lot of repetition. Each of the 11 articulations has its own name and reveals a distinctive sonic character: Free Speech, Host, Dysfunction, Folk Devil, Squeakbox, In Yun, Splutterer, Piano Ghost, Mouth Trumpet, Door and Imaginary Friend. The convolution reverb engine is controlled by the Space knob, which goes from dry to 100 percent wet. The lo‑fi antics of the wow and flutter engine can be tempo‑sync’ed, as can the tremolo functions, making rhythmic pulsing easy to arrange. There’s also a chaos page, where randomisation can be applied individually to Velocity, Tuning, Volume, Pan and Time using five knobs, which can add a further organic dimension.

The DRIFT003 user interface resembles four partly-sucked Polo mints stuck to an army blanket, with three tabs at the bottom of the window for selecting the main DRIFT003 view, the Chaos view with its five controls, or the RTFM page, which provides a very brief overview of the controls. The reverb types, shown to the right of the Space knob, are categorised as Large, Medium, Small, Reverse or Spring, with several subcategories for each type, including some useful shimmer treatments. The tremolos and Drift controls can be assigned to MIDI controllers, and of course all the main parameters can be automated, which can result in some wonderfully complex, evolving sounds, especially if both the EQ Morph and Grist controls are moved during the course of a sustained note. Add these to the timbral changes mapped to the mod wheel and there’s lots of scope for creating very long, evolving sound beds

If the idea of a talking computer, high on the electronic equivalent of magic mushrooms appeals to your musical sensibilities, then I think you are going to find DRIFT003 a lot of fun.

Despite the weirdness, I found a lot to like in DRIFT003, with many of the sounds inviting further processing, such as feeding through a granular delay or layering with more conventional pad sounds. As indicated, some of the sounds work well as playable pads, albeit ones that seem to be chattering in a slightly unsettling way, while the Mouth Trumpet articulation in particular makes for some very warm pads and bass sounds. There are also lots of ‘ear candy’ sounds that would work well layered with other sounds. You won’t find any realistic choirs or operatic sopranos here, but if the idea of a talking computer, high on the electronic equivalent of magic mushrooms appeals to your musical sensibilities, then I think you are going to find DRIFT003 a lot of fun.