Slate + Ash Choreographs: What is it?
Creating movement in your sound and production is one of those best kept secrets for any professional working in electronic music and production. Of course, achieving this in the DAW-based realm is largely dependent upon the instrument you are using.
Enter Choreographs; at the heart of this instrument is the capacity to create interesting textures and sequences, while the level of sonic manipulation over time is incredibly inspiring and appealing. The GUI itself is sharp with contemporary styling, much like S+A’s previous offerings. One unintended consequence of this is that it isn’t always obvious how certain elements operate, but with relatively little time, you will become fully and easily acquainted with its content and styling.
There are 650 curated presets to get you started, nicely defined into categories to guide you. The interface invites exploration, and beginning with an initialised patch is the most tempting proposition.
Slate + Ash Choreographs: Performance and verdict
In the top left-hand corner of the instrument, you’ll find the initial building blocks, which relate to the familiar concept of subtractive synthesis.
The I, II & III faders are oscillators; clicking on the number itself will activate or mute the oscillator partial, while clicking on the dot will open a menu of waveforms. The selection here is vast! Choreographs is packed full of 22GB of content, the majority of which relates to the 400 or so included samples. Consequently, you can choose from some beautifully captured sources, which run the full gamut from classic analogue waveforms, captured from the likes of the MS20 or Jupiter 4, to sounds created through modular synthesis, digital synths, drum machines and even sound effects. This includes everything from the sound of static to distant bird calls.
With three partial layers to build upon, beautiful textures are a total breeze. Unsurprisingly, these elements feed the filter, before moving toward effects and the delay, reverb and impulse response reverberator.
Each of these is equipped with its own volume control, which takes the shape of a straight up and down fader. Where the movement truly begins, is with the ability to assign any one of these faders to a modulation source. This can be one of three LFOs or Step sequencers, or triggered via note velocity or randomisation. In common with most Kontakt instruments, everything is fully assignable to MIDI CC controllers. Hard-fader assignment is simple to implement.
Control of the modulation sources occurs in the upper right hand 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 makeup, and all syncable to your DAW’s meter. The resulting set of pulsating and generative colours are totally beguiling and hypnotic. Moreover, it is incredibly easy to get to this point from an initialised patch. We have to give mention to the graphic element; we love the dancing LFO shapes, which animate in real time as you play.
One final crucial element relates to triggering, where basic arpeggiated patterns can extend to far more complex and multi-note patterns. This is all accompanied by the more usual envelope generators, and a whole host of other effect and editing elements which are also accessed from the main GUI, before heading to a further choice-laden menu.
Choreographs is incredibly impressive, inviting experimentation and learning, to really get to grips with its depth, although it’s usable on very basic or advanced levels. The payoff will be a very unique sound which is incredibly formidable, and will have you returning on a regular basis.
MusicRadar verdict: Creating a unique Kontakt instrument is a difficult pursuit, but Slate + Ash has added yet another class act to its lineup.
Slate + Ash Choreographs: Hands-on demos
Slate and Ash
Slate + Ash Choreographs: Specifications
- Kontakt or Kontakt 6.7.1 or higher. Free Kontakt Player included.
- Intel Macs (i5 or higher): macOS 10.15, 11 or 12 (latest update); Apple Silicon Macs: macOS 11 or 12 (latest update); Windows 10 or 11, Intel Core i5 or equivalent CPU.
- CONTACT: Slate + Ash