INTRODUCTION

Have you ever really noticed the soft background music in media?  From panning shots in documentaries to walking around town in an RPG, there’s almost always some subtle music in the background.  For something this common, you’d think there would be plenty of tools to help composers with this.  Yes, you can always orchestrate from scratch with different sample libraries, but that can take quite a while on a tight deadline.  What if there was a quick solution to this?  A new product designed specifically for those soft subtle sounds that aren’t just orchestral pads, but moving, shimmering, lines? Look no further, Sotto is here!

The strings patch in Sotto

 

What actually IS this aptly-named Sotto? It’s a lush orchestral, phrase-based, easily playable, Kontakt Player library. The whole concept behind it was to focus on the lesser-thought-of side of orchestral music: quiet. Don’t be fooled, though, just because it’s soft doesn’t mean it’s not strong! In fact, immediately after I sat down with it for the first time, I thought “wow, this would be killer for all of those RPG games!” The softness adds a power that isn’t found in many libraries on the market, and quite a lot of the articulations in this library aren’t anywhere else. For example, there is frullato in the woodwinds, mutes for brass, and sul tasto, sul ponticello, & harmonics for the strings.

And the sound! It stays interesting, yet subtle, which is an amazing thing for underscores (you could literally score an entire documentary with just this library) and of course, games! Like I said before, I personally feel like this library was aimed directly at game composers. There’s just this feeling about it which radiates a main-charector-walking-somewhere (and I mean that in the most positive of ways).

So(tto), you want to hear how it sounds? Let’s dive right in with this overview video, where I give short demos, and introduce some basic features.

PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH SONOKINETIC’S SON THOMSEN AND KEN BLACK

 

Dale and I were lucky enough to catch co-founder Son Thomsen and Kontakt scripting wizard Ken Black to sit down with us and talk about Sotto in great detail. In the interview, we talk about their musical backgrounds, the founding of the company, and then we dive into Sotto and how phrase based libraries are designed, recorded, scripted and perfected.  Thanks to Son and Ken for sharing their knowledge with us!

 

If you would like to download the podcast and listen to it offline, you can just click on the link below:

DMN Podcast - Ep. 10 - Son Thomsen and Ken Black of Sonokinetic

 

MAIN FEATURES


-Phrase-based library full of subtle yet interesting content.  37,000+ samples at over 59GB!

-“Lite” patches that save computer resources with a single stereo mix

-Time Machine Pro compatiblity

-Custom chord capabilities and a Harmonic Shift system

-Intelligent purging

-Score view of phrase from within Kontakt

-Works with Kontakt Player

-Fully integrated with Komplete Kontrol NKS 1.5 and up

-€249.90 (~$273) from Sonokinetic




Pros: 

-Perfect for quick mockups and production ready pieces for video games and film.  

-Complete with pretty much everything you need to make subtle, yet powerful, music.

-Very unique product filling a very specific niche

-Orchestrated right out-of-the-box, which can be a huge time saver.


Cons:

-Limited mic mixing positions 


-Orchestrated right out-of-the-box, which can be a little annoying if you want to specifically tweak something.  You do get MIDI files of each phrase, but there aren’t really any libraries that could actually realize it properly.


INTERFACE

Sotto has a very clean, and easy-to-use interface.  There are quite a lot of buttons and “under the hood” tweaks you can make.  Luckily, there’s a really nice button on the bottom left corner, that when clicked, gives you quick information about the interface!

On the opposite corner from the information button, there’s a plus sign.  This gives access to the behind-the-scenes stuff.

You can adjust the volumes, mic mixes, panning, cross-fading, harmonic shifts, offset, and tuning.  The last three in particular are very useful features.  The harmonic shifts allow you to play simultaneous phrases in different but related keys, giving you a whole new range of complex chords you can create.  Offset allows you to change the start times of different phrases so you can create brand new rhythms and syncopations.  Tuning gives you options to change the pitch from 440-443.  I do wish there were options from 438, but it’s still very nice to have, and you can always figure it out manually within Kontakt.  Sonokinetic made some very detailed videos explaining all of this, which you can find here.

INSTRUMENTS

There are three instruments categories in Sotto: Woodwinds, Brass, and Strings. Each have a ton of various phrases, ranging from aleatoric to steady 8th notes.  There are four mic positions for every instrument section, but you can only mix up to two at a time. There are, however, “Lite” patches included that just use Sonokinetic’s signature “Tutti” mix; their own personal blends of the mics loaded as a single mic position.  I’ve created videos demoing random phrases from each section, so you can see and hear for yourself the amazing wealth Sotto offers.

Wonderous Woodwinds

 

Benevolent Brass

 

Sentimental Strings

 

CONCLUSION

Sonokinetic’s Sotto is a brand new and very unique product that really highlights the wonders of soft orchestral sounds.  I very-much recommend it to anyone!  Usually, I would recommend it only to people that specifically need that niche of subtleness, but this library is so inspiring, and has so many great sounds straight out-of-the-box, that it can fit-in perfectly with anybody’s template.  Last but not least, here is a demo I did featuring Sotto.  The only things that aren’t from it is the percussion, choir, and violins at the end.

 

Additional Tutorial Videos, Demos and Store

Sonokinetic does a fantastic job of customer support, and they provide lots of great demos and tutorials right on the Sonokinetic Website!

About the Author

Lawson guitars 1000Lawson Madlener is a multi-award winning composer/musician/music-consultant/college-student. He plays many instruments ranging from violin to ukulele to drums to electric bass to viola, and many genres from classical to jazz to bluegrass to rock.

Lawson has been composing for longer than he can remember. He entered and won his first composition competition (boy, that’s a mouthful) at the ripe old age of 9! As with his playing, he can compose in pretty much any style, but his favorite is orchestral/cinematic. However, he’s been developing a taste for jazz bands!

In his spare time, you can find Lawson passionately researching new sample libraries. Sometimes he also spends hours and hours delving into older sample libraries too! Actually, you can just find him enjoying any and every sample library ever and whispering under his breath “so many sample libraries so little time so many sample libraries so little money.”

 

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