Rumble – Music Tech – November 2011
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Sample Logic’s growing range of Kontakt-based sound libraries (including Morphestra and Cinematic guitars, reviewed in Issues 85 and 93 respectively) have all displayed a consistently imaginative approach to sampling. Despite being based around relatively conventional starting points (orchestral sounds and electric guitars in the previous two examples), Sample Logic seems hell-bent on pushing an instrument’s sound palette way beyond its traditional application. The results are often highly inspiring and perfect for soundtrack work, although, of course, there’s no reason to think that these sounds can’t translate across a range of ‘experimental’ musical genres.
Rumble is Sample Logic’s latest offering – in this case, starting off with the sound of the California-based Blue Devils Drum & Bugle corps performing a marching band-style battery of percussion. But Rumble takes these traditional sounds a stage further, offering a series of additional sound-design elements (including atmospheres, stings and loops) based on the source material gathered from the recording sessions. It sounds like an impressive package, then, but does this multi-faceted approach work as a cohesive product?
As you’d expect, Rumble is divided into two distinct sections: a set of traditional instruments based on the percussion battery, and a morphed folder that explores experimental possibilities. Looking first at the traditional percussion battery, there’s a healthy collection of Kontakt instruments covering both massed ensemble hits as well as various sectional breakdowns that focus on a specific instrument – snares, for example, or bass drums. The ensemble was recorded at Skywalker Sound’s Scoring Stage, and thanks to the facility to mix between close, mid and far mics you can really feel the room’s contribution to the overall feel.
Musically speaking, the percussion battery has an immediate and obvious application in action scoring. As well as the single hits, therefore, you’ll also find a useful collection of loops that all have a pleasing nod towards action cues – from 12/8 ‘tick tack’ patterns to intriguing 7/8 grooves. In particular, the sound of the massed snares cuts through the mix beautifully, and with a touch of compression the low-end weight adds a pleasing body to the mix.
The morphed instruments comprise an impressively vast and diverse collection covering atmospheres, impacts, percussion kits, loops, melodic instruments and transitions. If you’ve used Morphestra or Cinematic guitars before, the style of material here should be reasonably familiar, although, of course, all of the patches are 100% new. The Atmosphere section, for example, has plenty of dark, granular textures that would be perfect for eerie backdrops. The Loops cover everything from edgy, bit-crushed electronica to more ethnic-inspired ‘organic’ rhythms. There are also plenty of reverse effects and scrapes that would be ideal for contemporary trailer work.
As with Cinematic Guitars, one area that immediately impressed us was the Multis folder. The 75 or so Multis in Rumble really illustrate how well the sounds and loops work in a combined context – particularly when the traditional drums are layered with some cutting-edge sound-design effects. There are also excellent ‘One Note Glory’ patches that sound like full-on percussion cues, and you can drop out or append new layers to customise the output as you see fit.
Although it is easy to see Rumble as two libraries in one, the combined effectiveness of both the traditional and morphed instruments make it an interesting and unique proposition. Certainly the ‘marching band’ approach remains an otherwise neglected part of cinematic percussion libraries (most competing products tend to focus on big taiko drums, or traditional orchestral percussion instruments such as piatti and grand casas), so it’s good to see Rumble marking out its own territory. Although there are arguably crossovers with Sample Logic’s other ‘morphed’ libraries, the imaginative approach the company has taken means that you rarely tire of these innovative sounds and the possibilities they offer.
Verdict: Rumble offers an innovative take on marching band drums that will be perfect for cinematic scoring, comprising both traditional instruments and some highly imaginative sound-design effects.
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