THE SKIDDAW STONES



SOUND ON SOUND MAGAZINE

"..Five octaves were chromatically sampled at up to 12 velocities per note (an unusually high number for a tuned percussion instrument) and multiple ‘round robin’ alternations, generating nearly 5000 samples that occupy 2.5GB. The wooden hits are bright and clangorous, reminiscent of the sound of a Balinese gamelan metallophone, and just as effective for strident rhythm patterns and lead lines. Rubber mallets give a softer peal, like a cross between a ceramic wind chime and a bass marimba, and their low velocities are ideal for rippling rhythm patterns and ostinatos.

Taking advantage of the pre-industrial, rough-hewn surface of the stones, a set of slithery, scraped performances have a strangely liquid, undulating effect, which, when played chordally, can create some great soundscapes. As usual, Soniccouture provide an entertaining Kontakt ‘jammer’ script, which creates automatic, random single-note arpeggiaic rhythm patterns. Users can control the note and octave range of the arpeggios as well as their speed and note value. Ableton Live and Logic EXS24 versions are also included, the former with its own arpeggiator.Limited access to this priceless historic instrument prevented Soniccouture from sampling a greater range of performances, making it slightly less versatile than a lot of the sampled percussion on the market. But in terms of its playability, musicality, depth of sampling, programming and unique, one-off sound, it’s a five-star product."

5 stars - Dave Stewart, 2010