Each of the 60 Kontakt instruments in Scriptorium has custom scripts and control panels.
Soniccouture Scriptorium ($99) is a download collection of 35 scripts for the Kontakt Script Processor (KSP) in Native Instruments' Kontakt 2 and Kontakt 3 samplers. It also includes 60 Kontakt instruments illustrating the scripts. Many of those instruments use samples from Soniccouture's outstanding selection of Kontakt sound libraries. Four video tutorials on using the scripts round out the package.
The tutorials are well worth your time; they elucidate the process and offer many creative tips. Beyond that, the PDF manual is very helpful, giving a short but complete account of each script. The 60 instruments cover most of the scripts and show several applications for the more complex ones (see Web Clip 1). But the real magic comes from using the scripts in your own instruments.
FOLLOW THE SCRIPT
KSP scripting is time-consuming and an acquired art, but you don't need to know anything about it to use Scriptorium. In fact, all the scripts are locked, so you can't examine or edit them. If you do want to delve further into scripting, see “Master Class: Scripting in Kontakt 3” in the February 2008 issue, available at emusician.com.
Installing the scripts in your own Kontakt instruments couldn't be easier — open the Script editor, click on the Preset tab, and select a script. Almost any of the provided scripts will work in any instrument, although some work better with certain kinds of sounds.
The scripts divide roughly into two categories: note and controller processing. Controller Delay and Controller Wobbler II are two of my favorite controller scripts. The former is a 4-tap delay for incoming MIDI Control Change messages that lets you set a tempo-synced delay time (the tap times are cumulative) and a different CC number for each tap. The latter generates five random controller streams as long as a note is held. What makes these scripts useful is that Kontakt lets you freely map any controller to any combination of parameters.
Two tuning scripts, Just Intonation and Distemper, take you beyond equal-tempered tuning. Distemper lets you set a semitone and cents offset for each pitch class (C, C#, D, and so on) and offers a number of preset scales. Both scripts work by manipulating Kontakt's tuning controls. Glissandos takes tuning out of your hands by constantly gliding the pitch within a range and at a rate you specify. With LFO Design, you draw in your own repeating pattern and then assign it to any controller.
Note processing is by far the larger category. You'll find utility scripts to generate chords, keep pitches within a scale, and let you use your mod wheel or other MIDI controller to strum notes.
Three scripts provide variations on random note generation. Cellular Automata repeatedly applies two or three simple rules to generate new notes. Because it is rule based, the same input notes produce the same results for a given choice of rules. Gauss Generator emits a random set of notes in a normal probability distribution (bell-shaped curve) around the incoming note. Jammer is like an arpeggiator, but it can randomize offsets for pitch and octave as well as Velocity and timing.
A number of the scripts manipulate voice groups in a Kontakt instrument. Group Delay lets you layer five groups, each with its own delay time, level, and transposition. Group Sequencer cycles through a sequence of groups. Group Random selects groups at random but lets you weight their probability. Mobile randomly moves groups back and forth across a grid (two bars of eighth notes, for instance).
A NOVEL APPROACH
Finally, there are novelty scripts such as Bounce, which repeats notes with increasing speed like a bouncing ball; Kotekan, which follows each Note Off with a new note of the same duration but shifted in pitch; and Shredder, which repeats notes while randomizing the sample-start position. My favorite novelty script is Ring Harmonizer. When you hold two or more notes, it generates new notes at pitches corresponding to the sums and differences of the last two notes played. The results may be highly dissonant or richly harmonic depending on the intervals played (see Web Clips 2 and 3).
As the example instruments show, you can often combine scripts to good effect. For instance, if you follow Jammer with Group Random in an instrument with several groups, the arpeggiated notes will be spread across the groups rather than all groups playing each note. You might then precede Jammer with one of the chord generators.
Scriptorium is invaluable for taking advantage of the KSP without getting entangled in scripting. For a modest price, it is an indispensable addition to your Kontakt library.
Value (1 through 5): 4