Review: Soniccouture Scriptorium
Native Instruments Kontakt is an extremely powerful and versatile tool. And yet, if you’re anything like me, you typically use Kontakt as if it were just a simple sample player for your instrument libraries.
And that’s a shame because there’s so much more… If you’ve flipped through the Kontakt manual you might remember reading something about KSP (Kontakt Script Processor) scripts.
The KSP scripting language provides access to essential parameters and many forms of advanced event processing, and allows for custom instrument control panels (i.e. the Kontakt 3 library instruments) and advanced MIDI processors to be captured in user scripts.
The guys at Soniccouture recognize the power of KSP; they have already included scripts in products like Abstrakt and Hang Drum, improving playability and providing new and exciting ways to work with the instruments.
Their latest title Scriptorium features a large collection of sound design tools to spice up your Kontakt experience:
- 35 KSP scripts,
- 60 advanced Kontakt instruments,
- and 4 video tutorials.
I know it’s tempting to just install the scripts and start messing about, but I highly recommend you check the video tutorials. If you’re new to KSP scripting these quality tutorials may well be the fastest way to familiarize yourself with this environment.
Script names like “Chord Memory” and “Mod Wheel Glissando” indicate what they will do quite well, but you will need to read the manual to get a full understanding of what each script does and how you can manipulate it.
The included example instruments do a great job demonstrating the scripts and are a lovely addition to your Kontakt instrument collection in their own right.
Alright, on to the actual scripts. I’m only going to mention a few that stood out to me since not all of the scripts are equally useful to me. Note how I say to me; they might very well be just the thing you’ve been looking for. I believe every single script in Scriptorium is valuable and while I might not be interested in a performance based script like “Left Hand Free”, you might not care much for the Tape Wow effect which I absolutely love.
Some of my current favorites:
- Analogue Oscillators & Tape Wow
If you’re into that Boards of Canada type sound you’ll love these. Notes will drift in pitch, independently with Analogue Oscillators, and constant for the entire instrument with Tape Wow.
Shredder retriggers a note from a random start point, within the maximum offset you specify for some lovely glitchy effect.
- Mobile & Mobile Drums
Basically you set up a grid in which a number of sound objects are allowed to drift in time. Great for rhythmic patterns and ambient textures.
Plays random notes from a selection of notes you hold. I already knew this one from Hang Drum, lovely script to get some rhythmic melodies.
- Glitch Machine
Generates repeated notes, or drills, on a range of keys. It includes controls for randomizing a bunch of parameters: velocity, tuning, speed and sample start time offset. Excellent!
And when I say current favorites that’s because some scripts take a little more time to set up, and I have yet to take a more detailed look at scripts like Just Intonation, Group Sequencer and Distemper.
Initially I thought Scriptorium would re-spark my interest in writing my own KSP scripts, but I realize that Soniccouture has done a far better job than I ever could. I will certainly enjoy playing with their excellent batch of scripts for quite some time before venturing out in the wonderful world of scripting myself.
So what do I think?
Scriptorium is a comprehensive and diverse set of tools for Kontakt. With 35 scripts you are not going to learn all of Scriptorium’s secrets overnight.
While there will undoubtedly be a few scripts you’re not likely to use, this collection has gems for every Kontakt user. And it’s these gems (which will be different scripts for different users) that already justify a purchase, since you’re not likely to find these tools anywhere else.
The Scriptorium is available as a digital download and costs £49 GBP.