Sounds & Samples
Vir2 have been around for quite some time, and specialise in creating instrument libraries for NI’s Kontakt. While their instruments are wide-ranging, a good portion would seem to find most favour in film, TV and trailer tracks. However, as with many of the instruments I’ve looked at for FM, other forms of modern electronic music can make good use of repurposed sound sources. This certainly applies to ‘Sticks’, Vir2’s second outing in their Vital Series – subtitled ‘Powerful, Simple, Cinematic Rhythms’.
Sticks is essentially a large collection of objects struck with a range of stick types. The sonic interest comes from the many possible unusual combinations (largely involving ‘sensible’ things hitting ‘weird’ things) – one such example being a timpani mallet playing an old wooden drawer. Sticks is not just a collection of samples though, as these are integrated into an instrument that features four sequencer engines (each offering control over velocity, pitch and pan).
From the keyboard you can play each sound, trigger individual sequencer patterns, or all four at the same time. It’s very easy to create interesting patterns; the simple creation of evolving polyrhythmic patterns is a real draw here. There are a few simple envelope and pitch parameters per sound, and the effects section provides a degree of global tweaking.
It is a shame that there are no preset patterns or global snapshots to get you going, and the price might be a little high for some, but overall this is a useful, well-designed, and surprisingly flexible, instrument that would find many uses beyond just the ‘cinematic’. Bruce Aisher www.vir2.com VERDICT 7.8