Slate + Ash – Choreographs

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Description

Choreographs is not so much a Kontakt instrument as a perpetual motion machine.

Will Slater and Simon Ashdown, better known as the developer/composer and sound‑designer collective Slate + Ash, have always been known for extending the boundaries of Kontakt instruments. Their latest navigates a beautiful medium between steps and triggers, with multiple modulations.

Upfront Collectives

As a synth construct things appear relatively familiar, with three oscillators up front, feeding a low‑pass filter. The oscillator wave content is significant, with 427 sampled sources, ranging from the more common saws and squares generated by vintage synths, through to complex digital wave shapes generated by digital synths and modular sources. The 22GB download provides an idea of scale, but as Slate + Ash are in‑demand sound designers as well as composers, the quality is as assured as it is substantial. There are also drum and sound effects sources, adding to the palette.

These initial elements feed directly to some effects; a delay, reverb and impulse response engine are independently populated alongside the oscillator and filter. This might seem bizarre, but it ties into the modulation element of Choreographs. Each of these primary components adopts the guise of a fader, with activation placed above and modulation application below. Routing a modulator to either of these is as simple as clicking underneath the fader and selecting your modulation source. These are fairly abundant, with three LFOs, three step sequencers, velocity control, randomisation and MIDI CC available. Being within the Kontakt realm, it’s also easy to apply MIDI CCs, via MIDI Learn, from a hardware controller.

Dancing Dots

The modulation section itself requires the selection of a couple of menus to steer to the appropriate setting. Once initiated any of the LFOs will treat you to a little dot‑based dance, reflecting the selected LFO waveform, of which there are many. You can select traditional wave shapes or jazz up your modulation with rhythmic or complex waves.

The three step sequencers adopt a similar outlook, allowing up to 16 steps per sequence, with capacity to divert modulations to numerous sources simultaneously. Step direction may be altered, along with note value denomination.

In many quarters that would be more than enough for a Kontakt instrument, but there is a further section, which provides eight modules; these extend from triggering and harmony to coloration, and they can also be deployed simultaneously.

The attributes of each module appear to the right of each when selected, so arguably act as another form of menu. The Trigger module operates much like an arpeggiator, but when used alongside the clock‑based modulation sources can sound amazingly complex. The Harmony module allows the addition of notes to yield a chord from a single note trigger. This thickens the texture significantly and very quickly, with the notes assigned being open to modulation from previously mentioned sources. Away from the initial note triggers, other modules in the section affect timbral colour, via amp simulators and distortion. The significant depths that you can plumb by way of modulation are so extensive that you can create some amazing pulsating textures. To provide some initial examples, Slate + Ash have curated an extensive set of preset patches, categorised to guide you to your preference.

Slate + Ash have always created fascinating and beautiful‑sounding instruments, and Choreographs is no exception.

Final Steps

Slate + Ash have always created fascinating and beautiful‑sounding instruments, and Choreographs is no exception. Sonically, it sounds clean and musical, but with the ability to add grit where you may need it. It has capacity on many different musical levels, but excels at pulsing and rhythmic patterns, with continued interest provided through modulation. The ability to get lost in the Choreographs sound world, and create unique patches, is one of its most endearing qualities.

Summary

Choreographs is packed full of modulatory possibilities, which tempo‑match beautifully with its triggered elements. With so many sampled sources built in, you’ll find it difficult to exhaust its sonic capabilities any time soon.

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