Review: Heavyocity Scoring Guitars

Cinematic sound library for native instruments Kontakt
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Cinematic sound library for native instruments Kontakt

Many cinematic libraries fill the soundstage with an excess of ambience, harmonic motion, and rhythmic activity, often painting the musical direction into a corner. In contrast, Scoring Guitars offers plenty of those elements, but in a cleverly arranged, uncluttered way, handing you more immediate control over the dynamics of any musical scenario.

Scoring Guitars works as an AU, AAX, and VST plug-in, in both the full and Player versions of Native Instruments’ Kontakt engine, and it supports the Native Kontrol Standard (NKS), easily integrating with NI’s Komplete Kontrol and Maschine hardware.

Scoring Guitars gives you greater control over the included sounds than most cinematic libraries by offering a range of à la carte elements.

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The library revolves around electric guitar sounds in categories such as Beds and Drones, Melodic Pulses and Phrases, Pads, and Performance Palettes. As part of a series of Gravity Packs using the versatile DSP engine in Heavyocity’s flagship Gravity, Scoring Guitars imparts plenty of harmonic and rhythmic motion.

The first folder subdivides into a pair of Drone and Ambience Menus—one nominally in the key of A minor and the other menu in E minor. Each note in the upper range of the keyboard holds a unique drone performance, while the lower end of your controller supplies two octaves of keys to transpose the drones. The drones are distinct from one another in tonal character or voicing, giving the collection plenty of range. And even though they are earmarked as drones, playing a handful of notes will yield beautifully animated chords as you change keys with your left hand.

Two folders contain patches composed of the individual elements, again, broken down into A and E minor. Patch names indicate the note where the element is found in the menu mapping.

The Melodic Pulses and Phrases folder continues in a similar manner, dividing everything into E minor and A minor menus, with phrases also available in reverse. An additional folder for each of the two keys provides individual phrases and menus, including reversed versions.

The overall tone of the collection is dark and well-suited for adventure games and sinister film scores. According to Heavyocity, this explains the predominance of minor-key performances, along with a few harmonically neutral loops (utilizing root-and-fifth patterns, for example). Some of the minorkey loops adapt well as blues and pentatonic lines to major keys with a bit of harmonic imagination. Still, the absence of explicitly major-key material tends to limit the application of some patches.

Within the folder of pads, you are not confined by key or tonality. Here, the variety of sonic delights demonstrates the programmer and guitarist’s skills. The sounds range from billowy and cloudy to metallic and complex, with sparkling artifacts and blooming envelopes. Some of the patches tagged with MW (Mod Wheel) take advantage of the Gravity engine, providing Punish, Twist, Pitch, and other parameters. They sound especially dramatic in the folder of pads, which use up to three layers of samples.

Lastly, the Performance Palettes provide menus of looping ambiance, drones, and emotive guitar lines, played forward or backward. These serve as construction kits, offering both beauty and complexity. As you’d expect, you can utilize Heavyocity’s real-time Trigger FX on top of any of the above patches.

Overall, Heavyocity Scoring Guitars is an extraordinary collection of gorgeous—albeit, somber— loops, drones, and atmospheric sounds.

STRENGTHS
Huge library of guitar-derived pads, drones, solos, and loops. Gravity engine provides tools for extensive customization. NKS compatible.

LIMITATIONS
Loop and phrase selections focus on minor keys.

$99
heavyocity.com

Marty Cutler is busy putting the finishing touches on his new book for Hal Leonard.