You know the stereotype. “Synths” are expressive. “Samplers” are those things relegated to playing fake instruments.
But what makes synths fun to play as an instrument is the power they have over your sound, and the interactivity they provide. Peter Dines did a series for our Kore+CDM minisite at the end of last year that I think really illustrated how Native Instruments’ sampler Kontakt can be made a powerful performance tool – something that’s really fun to play. In doing so, he gets into the “s word” – scripting. When you hear “scripting,” I expect a lot of you run and hide, or wonder why the heck you’d want to write scripts when working on your music. The answer is, thanks to content that’s out there, you can make use of scripts for Kontakt without ever having to muck with code yourself. And if you do want to create your own scripts, a lot of the things you might like to do turn out to be quite simple.
What might a musical workflow look like with Kontakt? Peter answers that question with a beautiful, delicate-sounding music box patch. In this example, working directly in Kontakt allows him to start with a recorded sound and get into the manipulation phase very quickly. I know many folks use Ableton Live for the purpose, and Live is itself essentially a sampler turned into a host. But if you’re comfortable with that method, you may find the addition of something like Kontakt is all the more useful.
In the music box example, Peter looks at:
- Turning a recording into a sample
- Slicing and dicing with the Wave Editor
- Making use of presets in the Script Editor to get powerful features, then making quick modifications – no need to script from scratch
That’s a specific example. With Performance View, you can turn your sampled sounds into something that could work really well live – again, using scripts without scripting:
Finally, when you are ready for the power of scripts, Peter can get you started with that. With a couple of lines, you can retune, resequence, constrain to scale, pan, and randomize. That makes Kontakt a powerful compositional and performance tool.
Dive into Kontakt Scripting: A Gentle Introduction, plus Script Downloads
I hope we see scripting show up in more tools. (I’d lose my mind – in a good way – to see it in a future version of Maschine.) In the meantime, this gets you rolling.
And really, you don’t have to be an advanced sampler / sound designer / Kontakt user. I think you’ll find these tutorials to be exceedingly beginner-friendly. In fact, samplers have often gotten underused by us mere mortals. Sure, you probably don’t have time to do a massive, multisampled grand piano patch – and someone else has already done it for you. But to take a quick field recording and mangle it, samplers can be fantastic.
If you come up with anything based on these tutorials, we’d love to hear it.
(Side note: yes, the Kore+CDM site has sprung back to life, on a new server. Enjoy!)