Slate + Ash choreographies: What is it?
Creating movement in your sound and production is one of the best kept secrets for any professional working in electronic music and production. Of course, achieving this in the DAW-based realm largely depends on the instrument you’re using.
Enter Choreographers; at the heart of this instrument is the ability to create interesting textures and sequences, while the level of sonic manipulation over time is incredibly inspiring and engaging. The GUI itself is clean with a contemporary style, just like previous S+A offerings. An unintended consequence of this is that it’s not always obvious how certain elements work, but with relatively little time, you will become fully and easily familiar with its content and style.
There are 650 organized presets to get you started, neatly defined in categories to guide you. The interface invites exploration, and starting with an initialized patch is the most tempting proposition.
Choreographers Slate + Ash: performance and verdict
In the upper left corner of the instrument you will find the initial building blocks, which relate to the familiar concept of subtractive synthesis.
• Slate + ash cycles (opens in a new tab)
If you like the repetitive and cyclical nature of these instruments, it’s also worth considering Cycles.
• Sound Dust Infundibulum #2.1 (opens in a new tab)
This multi-layered sound engine places the sequenced timbre at its heart. Easy to use and unique!
Faders I, II & III are oscillators; clicking on the number itself will turn the oscillator partial on or off, while clicking on the dot will open a menu of waveforms. The choice here is vast! Choreographs comes with 22GB of content, the majority of which relates to the approximately 400 included samples. As a result, you can choose from beautifully captured sources, which run the gamut from classic analog waveforms, captured from the MS20 or Jupiter 4, to sounds created by modular synthesis, digital synths, drum machines and even sound effects. This includes everything from the sound of static bird calls to distant bird calls.
With three partial layers to build on, beautiful textures are a breeze. Unsurprisingly, these elements feed the filter, before moving on to the effects and the delay, reverb and impulse response reverb.
Each of them is equipped with its own volume control, which takes the form of a straight up and down fader. Where the movement really begins is with the ability to assign any of these faders to a modulation source. This can be one of three LFOs or step sequencers, or triggered via note velocity or randomization. Like most Kontakt instruments, everything is fully assignable to MIDI CC controllers. Assigning hard faders is simple to implement.
Modulation source control is in the upper right section of the instrument window, where you can switch any of your LFOs to one of 22 sources. These are generic, rhythmic or complex in composition, and all syncable to your DAW’s meter. The resulting set of pulsating and generative colors is utterly alluring and hypnotic. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to get to this point from an initialized patch. We have to mention the graphic element; we love the dancing LFO shapes, which come alive in real time as you play.
A final crucial element concerns triggering, where basic arpeggiated patterns can expand into much more complex, multi-note patterns. All this is accompanied by the more usual envelope generators and a whole series of other effect and editing elements also accessible from the main GUI, before heading to another menu loaded with choices .
Choreographs is incredibly impressive, inviting experimentation and learning, to really master its depth, although it is usable at very basic or advanced levels. The result will be a completely unique sound that is incredibly great and will keep you coming back for more.
MusicRadar Verdict: Creating a unique Kontakt instrument is a difficult task, but Slate + Ash have added another classy act to their lineup.
Slate + Ash Choreographs: hands-on demos
Slate and Ash
Slate + Ash choreographies: Specifications
- Contact or Kontakt 6.7.1 or higher. Free Kontakt player included.
- MacIntel (i5 or higher): macOS 10.15, 11 or 12 (latest update); Apple Silicon Mac: macOS 11 or 12 (latest update); Windows 10 or 11, Intel Core i5 or equivalent processor.
- CONTACT: Slate + Ash (opens in a new tab)