With so many sound libraries marketed as being “cinematic,” the word has become meaningless. Most collections rely inordinately on loops of clipped, bit-reduced, and reverb-drenched percussion. Larger-than-life, “bone-crushing” sounds have their place, but as in most music—and cinema—range is everything.
The giant-size sonics are present in Heavyocity’s latest product, Aeon Collection, but they are tempered with a generous distribution of more intimate, natural-scale sound, as well, with plenty of tools to rough up and process things as needed.
Aeon Collection comprises two independent but related modules for Native Instruments’ Kontakt 5 and Kontakt Player: Aeon Rhythmic and Aeon Melodic, which are also available individually.
Aeon Rhythmic focuses on sliced-loop playback and sequencing, whereas Aeon Melodic offers sampled synths, basses, hits, and other sounds. Still, there’s plenty of overlap: The Melodic module can be as rhythmically active as the rhythmic component. Both components can take advantage of Aeon’s powerful arpeggiator—a step sequencer with detailed editing for each step, including pitch, velocity, duration, rhythmic value, and Trigger FX.
Trigger FX, which rely on keys outside of each patch’s playing range, enact discrete DSP on the patches, such as bit reduction, distortion, filtering, and other sound-altering techniques. You can radically change the character of the patch from subtle to aggressive and up-front with a simple turn of the Punish knob, which adds or removes compression and saturation. The Twist control tweaks the patch’s tone color. Use an LFO to animate timbral changes by setting a rate and a starting point for the animation.
Aeon Rhythmic’s unique loop-tune feature offers two octaves of loop playback in the bottom octaves of the patch. The result evokes the Korg Wavestation’s wave-sequencing capabilities, which are adapted to different keys and tempos. (Find audio clips demonstrating these examples at emusician.com; here, listen to Audio Clip 1.) The Trigger FX section lets you sequence modulation effects, providing tremendous animation control over each loop slice or arpeggiator event. Still, there’s a bit of room for improvement: Because triplet values can be overkill when you just want a bit of swing, a swing control knob would be a welcome addition to Aeon’s arpeggiator, particularly in the Melodic module.
Aeon Rhythmic hosts folders of loop menus and individual loops. Use the menus to audition loops or create construction kits of massive, polyrhythmic clusters, or load the individual patches that you like. Choose between the more aggressive, rough-hewn stuff like Bit-Reducing Bass, or more delicate sonorities such as Plunk (Audio Clip 2).
The menu structure of the Melodic module is somewhat different, holding Hits and folders titled Hybrid, Organic, and Synth, with arpeggiated variants of the latter two. Hybrid folds synth-generated tones into electric and acoustic timbres, but not in any way that you might expect. Heavenly Crotale Swells sounds like an Oberheim Expander pad with a chiming, rhythmic high-end (Audio Clip 3). Other favorites include the sweet, rolling percussion of Tank Drum Steel M-Arp (Audio Clip 4). Timpani M-Arp is atmospheric and haunting, especially with triggered effects (Audio Clip 5). Apart from presets, you have plenty of tools to put your own stamp on your sounds.
Aeon Melodic and Aeon Rhythmic blend together beautifully and they are a great addition to the Heavyocity line. Aeon Collection may be all you need for unusual, cinematic sounds.
Marty Cutler is a sound designer and a bluegrass banjo player of note (or many notes).
STRENGTHS: A wide and dynamic
range of unique, useful sounds with a
tremendous degree of customization.
LIMITATIONS: The Melodic module’s
arpeggiator could benefit from a swing
$299 MSRP (Aeon Melodic), $199 MSRP (Aeon Rhythmic), $399 MSRP (Aeon Collection)