SCRIPTORIUM

"Kontakt-owning musicians will most likely be salivating at all the possibilities — I certainly was!"

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Sound On Sound January 2009

".. 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 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

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"Scriptorium is an invaluable tool for taking advantage of the KSP without getting entangled in scripting. For a modest price, it is an indispensable addition to your Kontakt library." 

Len Sasso, Electronic Musician online

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'..in short, if you're a Kontakt Power User, you'll be incredibly well-served by this set."

" 1. Tutorial videos: The package comes with four tutorial videos. A lot of people might say "poo, whatever" to these, but watch 'em. Soniccouture have forgotten more about Kontakt than you'll ever know, and chances are you (like me) never read the manual, and haven't the faintest idea of the massive power of the scripting engine. The "Shredder" one, in particular, is enlightening. I kind of passed this script by in my initial browse, to my detriment. This is probably the coolest script of the bunch, with one exception which I'll get to.

2. Manual: There's a brief explanation as to how to use scripts, and more specifically these scripts with Kontact 2/3. Then there's a thorough explanation of what each included script does. Unlike most piles of samples, the use of which is fairly obvious, I've found that you generally have to read the manual for any Soniccouture product, because they have a tendency to stick cool little bits in that you wouldn't otherwise be aware of. Doubly so for this, because some of the scripts are rather opaque on first examination. (This is due in no small part to the fact that the UI of each script is limited by what Kontakt can provide.)

3. Samples: The included samples, meant to demonstrate the scripts, could actually have been called "Abstrakt Vol. 2" without irony. If you have the Abstrakt Vol. 1 set, you have a good idea of what you're gonna get here. A nice helping of largely usable synth stuff.

4. The Scripts: In all candor, there are some things included that I can say for certain I'll never use. There is a script for just intonation which (like all JI stuff) gives me an instant headache, and makes me want to go out and punch children. By the same token, there are a couple scripts which, while workmanlike, are extremely useful for just thickening up things. Unison Z and Analog Oscillators in particular are very nice.

I haven't had a lot of time to devote specifically to this the last couple days, and I'm not in the business of writing reviews; you'll have to wait a bit for CM/FM/EM to get down to brass tacks on the sort of minutia you'd expect from a proper review, but I'll just say that, if you get this based upon my recommendation alone, do not pass by the two Mobile scripts, "Mobile" and "Mobile Drums." These take a little bit of setting up, but they are an unique take on algorithmic composition, with very little input required once you set up an initial state.

I won't go in depth as to how Mobile Drums (and Mobile itself, which is similar, but for comping, really) work, because I'm not quite sure I understand it correctly, and I'll just sound stupid if I'm wrong, but you basically set up a pattern for each of six sounds, and you can say whether that pattern will stay still, or drift in time. It can also randomize some features of each note; it is a fairly sophisticated script, and you can clearly hear how it moves things about to give instant interesting patterns where nothing at all existed before.

So, in short, if you're a Kontakt Power User, you'll be incredibly well-served by this set. If you had no idea whatsoever that Kontakt could do this sort of shit, this will extend your understanding of the program quite a bit. I'm continually amazed by (a) how deep that instrument is, and (b) how much more Soniccouture know about it than just about anybody."

Chris Randall, Analog Industries

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"The 60 instruments are worth the purchase alone, and the chance to finally explore Kontakt's script processor opens huge possibilities for your own sonic creations"

- Nils Quak, Keys Magazine