MODWHEEL, in association with ShapedNoise, has announced the release of WaveSkimmer - a pulse machine for Kontakt. It is available at the special price of US$49 until the end of February (Reg. $69).
WaveSkimmer had its genesis in a patch designed by Kirke Godfrey of ShapedNoise for MODWHEEL's Timphonia Library. The idea being to create a pulse machine that can be played dynamically and expressively in real time.
"In our other life as composers for film and TV we will often make use of some sort of arpeggiator, which is pretty standard stuff, but without some very detailed editing it can end up sounding a bit static and uninteresting, " says Steve Roche, "so WaveSkimmer is our response to that. Very often time is of the essence so we felt that a Pulse Machine that had a way of playing dynamics and tonal shifts on the fly would be rather useful. Our friend Kirke Godfrey from ShapedNoise had come up with a patch for our Timphonia library which lead to the development of WaveSkimmer."
Kirke says "The decay of Timpani drums have a really lovely rich tone that works really well when sampled and used as a keyboard sound, but the attack portion of the sound is pretty 'Noisy' and harsh so I wanted a way to control when that part of the sample was heard, and when the sound was just the more rounded and smooth tail of the sound. Obviously there are a number of ways to go about it, but I wanted a way to control and react emotionally to a film score's scene directly rather than pre program in various patterns of tonal shifts.
Previously I would perhaps try opening a filter on a synthesiser when building intensity up to a scene cut or 'hit point' in a film score, or maybe a chorus in a purely musical production. Since sample based instruments, while being harmonically more complex and interesting can be a lot less dynamically flexible, I'd end up using a lot of synthetics. Also I'm personally pretty partial to using arpeggiators and step generators to give movement and dynamics to held chords in my musical work, so some way of combining these two levels of control to sample based sounds seemed to be a good plan."
WaveSkimmer achieves this by using a more 'granular' approach to sample playback.
A simple explanation of the internal architecture is that each sample contains widely ranging harmonic content with musically useful control provided by the simple movement of the mod wheel. Held notes are pulsed according to a pattern that can be pre-set by the user with the addition of a polyphonic arpeggiator controlling the notes as well. The combinations of rates and lengths of the two tables gives an endless variation of musically useful patterns.
Each of the samples in WaveSkimmer has a variety of timbral and dynamic intensity across the range of the mod wheel, and this is really the most musically useful aspect of WaveSkimmer.
- An adjustable pulse and velocity grid that can go from 1 to 32 steps and from 64th notes to 1 bar duration, with an adjustable swing applied to both grids.
- An adjustable pitch grid that covers a 2 octave range, which can also be set from 64th notes to one bar duration.
- The pulse and pitch grid rates, and number of steps can be set independently of each other (grab and drag via the mouse).
- The instrument can load 2 separate sounds, via an A and B group assignment. The B group can be lowered by an octave.
- The mod wheel is assigned to a sample start mod so that as a pattern is being played by the pulse/velocity grid the start point of the sample at each step will vary depending upon the position of the mod wheel. This allows the performer to scroll through the sample thus changing the intensity and tonal qualities of the sound in a most agreeable and dynamic way.
- An X-Y pad connected to a Transient Master allows easy reshaping of the samples.
- Group A and B have different distortions assignable. Group A distortion is somewhat more warm and rounded while Group B is more aggressive so you can choose your styles.
- The pitch pattern can be constrained to a large variety of scale modes, .
- All sounds can be mixed and matched easily via the front panel pull down menu or the dedicated 'Sound Selector' tab.
- Delays are tempo locked and adjustable in 32nd note divisions.
- The instrument also features a tempo locked tremolo, with a warm and wide chorus.
- WaveSkimmer will tempo lock to your host DAW.
- WaveSkimmer is a pulse machine that allows for big changes in sound and dynamics using the mod wheel. The fact that these changes derive from the original samples gives the instrument a very organic and unique sound.
WaveSkimmer requires a full version of Kontakt 5.6.6 or above. It won't work with the free Kontakt Player.
Library format and contents:
- Audio recording format: mono and stereo*, 48 kHz / 24-bit.
- Size of recorded sample pool: ca. 242 MB.
- File format of samples: 166 samples in .ncw / lossless compression format.
- File format of instruments: .nki (built with Kontakt** v5.6.6).