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By Dave Stewart Big bangs, shattering impacts, unabated racket, sonic mayhem, deliberate destruction Pass the earplugs, it’s Heavyocity’s new library! The main screen of Damage’s Kontakt 5 user interface.. One of the so-called ‘cultural connoisseurs’ on the BBC’s Review Show the other night was complaining about the recent Hammer film adaptation of Susan Hill’s terrifying novel The Woman In Black starring, as you will have heard, Daniel Radcliffe, lead squirt in the notoriously under-performing Barry Rotter film series.
One of the many things that irked the guest was the film’s soundtrack: Happily for them and the rest of us, Damage, the new sound library-cum-virtual instrument from Heavyocity, combines all three. As well as collectively trading under the name of Heavy Melody to produce music and sound design for film, TV and video games, the trio are also the driving force behind the virtual instrument company Heavyocity Media. Back in , they brought us the film-friendly Evolve sample library; this was followed in by the all-new sequel Evolve Mutations, and its evil twin Evolve Mutations 2.
The reverberant acoustics of this old building provided the requisite large, ambient room sound for drummer Mike Mangini’s performances. Damage is formatted exclusively for Kontakt 5 and the free Kontakt 5 Player; software for the Player is included with the library, and can also be downloaded from Native Instruments’ web site.
An advantage of this system is that the samples remain compressed when loaded into RAM, with decompression occurring only at the playback stage. This reduces all the patches’ RAM consumption by 50 percent, and also means that the samples require only Full Loops Floor and rack toms of all sizes, played by three players simultaneously to create Damage’s heavyweight Tom Ensembles.
The library is divided into two main sections, the first containing loops and the second housing single hits. The loops are divided into four stylistic categories: All loops are four bars long, beat-sliced and tempo-sync’ed, which means that they faithfully track song tempo changes without altering their tuning. The fun continues with the Epic Tech loops: Electronic sounds come more to the fore in the Industrial section, where scary, Eraserhead-esque foundry hits rub shoulders with low-res ‘Son of Tron’ amusement-arcade synth noises, BT-style stutter edits and some truly walloping, heavily processed drum samples.
I’m always on the lookout for new kicks and snares, so was pleased to find some very tasty specimens in the Mangled Pop Full loops. This category’s sound palette may be somewhat less complex than the others, but the beats are no less strong.
Great stuff. While Damage’s stacked full loops are inspiring and fun to play, they only scratch the surface; to get the best out of the library, you’d be well advised to delve into the individual loops in the Elements folders. Rather than grouping these together according to their usage in the full menus, Heavyocity opted to map them from low to high pitch, with kick and low tom-based loops at the bottom end, and hi-hats and metals and so on at the top.
This pitch-based layout which was instigated in the company’s earlier products is logical and intuitive, and facilitates speedy programming. They bring the rhythms to life, and help to transform run-of-the-mill patterns into irresistibly funky beats. Heavyocity have made it easy to re-program Damage’s loops by providing ReCycle-style ‘single loop’ patches wherein each beat slice is mapped chromatically in ascending order.
You can also control the level, panning and tuning of each slice. Since the Kontakt 5 Player lacks such editing facilities, that procedure can only be done by owners of the full Kontakt 5 program. Hits, Kits The ‘Trigger FX’ screen shows eight user-programmable, transformative effect presets which can be activated on the fly with keyswitches. The kits are divided into five sub-categories, the first three of which Epic Organic Drums, Ethnic Drums and Metals are devoted to multisampled, round-robin hits.
It’s not all crash, bang and wallop: The massive impacts, explosions and bruising, ultra-heavy clangs in the Hybrid FX Hits sub-category are another highlight of the library. If you want to bludgeon your audience into submission, look no further! Some of the content is actually quite alarming: With this patch, pushing up the mod wheel adds wild, twisted after-effects and mad-sounding trails to the decay of the impacts.
More agony is piled on in Damage Hit Impacts, wherein gigantic, industrial slams and bangs are given added clout and angst by some pretty wild processing. My advice: The coup de grace is Damage’s Exploding Cars patch, surely one of the most ear-bending collections of samples ever recorded.
Either way, the impact noises sound bloody great. The Damage user interface is designed so that you can manipulate and morph sounds without having to use any external processing.
You can manually set the level of each step and create up to six user patterns, which may be saved as part of your edited patch. You might think the musical applications for that are limited, but these effects are very attention-grabbing.
My personal favourite is the Pitch Envelope effect, which scoops the pitch of the samples up an octave or so when you’re least expecting it. Trigger effects are implemented only for the full loops, loop elements and Damage Kits sub-categories. There are no timpani, orchestral snares nor piatti crash cymbals, although of course those instruments have been extensively covered by other libraries. Another notable characteristic is the relative lack of performance samples; most of the library is single-hit-based, the exception being Mr Mangini’s drum performances and cymbal improvs.
With so much material to choose from, the options might seem overwhelming at first. That said, if you’re itching for some instant hot rhythmic action, the loops provide it straight out of the box. Conclusion A simple DIY solution to inadequate in-car ventilation. If you’re the sort of person who hisses ‘shhh! It’s an unapologetically loud, aggressive-sounding collection that sets out to melt faces and devastate ears, but it would be wrong to typecast it as yet another ‘cinematic’ action-movie library; certain loops and hits will work extremely well for modern pop production, and the more delicate, subtle and atmospheric textures hiding in the sub-folders will be of great benefit to experimental music scores, including those that require creative sound design.
However, my brain was seriously affected, buzzing for hours afterwards with creative ideas sparked by these excellent loops and samples. When applied to contemporary percussion-sound libraries, the adjective usually translates as big, ambient ethnic drums, orchestral bass drums, toms and assorted world percussion. Occupying the same price range, Project SAM’s Patches load all three mic positions and you can purge any unused ones, thereby decreasing the patch’s RAM footprint. Unlike some libraries, where I’ve had to listen very closely to differentiate the miking positions, these three perspectives sound distinctly different from each other: Of course, if you’re actually mixing in surround, the three mic positions will give you plenty of panning options.
System Requirements Damage is formatted exclusively for Native Instruments’ Kontakt 5 sampler and will run on the free Kontakt 5 Player and the full version of Kontakt 5 — it will not load into Kontakt 4. After installation, the library must be activated using your supplied serial number at Native Instruments’ online Service Centre.
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Heavyocity did send me a review copy with no strings attached. So far the number of libraries that did address this market has been limited. Heavyocity philosophy is simple: Provide cutting edge, inspiring instruments and sounds that supercharge creativity, formatting them in ways that enhance productivity. Installation
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Featuring creative extended techniques like vibrato waves and octave pulses, plus more traditional extended articulations like sul tasto and sul ponticello, Intimate Textures empowers composers to create unique orchestral landscapes in an entirely new way. Extended Techniques Recorded at the famous Reservoir Studios in NYC, Heavyocity’s Intimate Textures features world-class players, performing in three and four person violin, viola, and cello ensembles. These advanced technique performances deliver a clean and lyrical sound, providing rich movement and texture with each note performed – perfect for scoring to film, games, and television.
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