After developing the advanced arpeggiation and sound design possibilities presented in Arpology (reviewed in the October 2014 issue), the developers at Sample Logic must have felt an irresistible urge to revisit their earlier products. For example, Cyclone 1.0 already had an impressive rhythmic component, judging by its original content; how much further could the software company take it?
Like the original, Cyclone Retwisted is several types of instruments rolled into one, breaking down into instruments and multis. Instrument subfolders are titled Arpeggiator, Bass, Harmonic Soundscapes, Kits, Leads, Pads, and new to Retwisted, Wave Synths.
Using Native Instruments Kontakt 5 as its engine, Cyclone Retwisted’s GUI borrows the clean look of Arpology, while the original patch library from Cyclone 1.0, which is included here, retains its steampunk-influenced GUI.
The new Waves section is emblematic of Cyclone Retwisted’s enhanced feature set. According to the developer, the section derives from an “expanded, dual-voice additive synthesis engine,” but more likely the source waveforms are samples, created using an additive synthesis process outside Kontakt. Other than basic subtractive-synth features, the user has no control over the additive component of the oscillators.
Wave parameters include waveform selection, transposition, a Hi-Cut filter with Frequency and Resonance controls, and ADSR knobs that can link the filter’s ADSR to the other oscillator (in addition to master attack and release envelopes for amplitude). You can also detune oscillators and set the sample’s range over the keyboard.
The synth provides many ways to animate and alter sounds. You can tie volume to the FX Animator to create intricate step-sequenced patterns. You can also use the Step Animator, a separate sequencing component that provides rhythm and pitch control over notes. Between the two sequencers, the potential for creating complex interplay between rhythm and timbre is tremendous.
Multis combine patches into Construction Kits, Instrumental Stacks, and composite One-Note- Glory aggregations. I generally think of these as loops mingling with playable instruments.
The Instrumental Stacks section is populated with undulating, cinematic pads. Churches and Temples, for example, provides an unusually tasty layering of organ and choir—ordinarily a cliché, but subtly mysterious here. Explorations, on the other hand, provides a rhythmic interplay of step-animated and FX-animated filter sweeps that perfectly evoke of a sense of wonder.
I found inconsistencies in the presets for the first couple of construction kits. Dubby Dog was not a construction kit and contained multiple muted patches, while Rough Night Out was more of a split than a construction kit, albeit, a very sweet combination of distorted synth bass and rock organ. Shapeshifting, on the other hand, is a real song-starter; a pulsating bass with throaty octaves moving in and out while the upper ranges play sparkling, chimey arpeggios.
Cyclone Retwisted is a multifaceted instrument that you can shape to your own needs. It's brimming with possibilities for film and game scores, as well as composition of imaginative electronic music.
Includes original Cyclone sound library. Step and FX animators. Unambiguous user interface is easy to understand and navigate.
Some Multi patches are inconsistently organized.