Soniccouture Hang Drum mini-review...
Got a copy of the Hang Drum library Soniccouture released a few days ago. For those of you not in the know, the hang drum is an instrument made by some Swiss hippies, sort of a cross between a steel drum and a tabla made of brass. YouTube has tons of grainy videos of people using hang drums. Aside from apparently being a fairly expedient way to earn money while sitting on a street corner in Amsterdam, the hang drum is a complex and sophisticated instrument, with a broad sonic palette, yet is basically quite simple to play.
Like a harmonica, hang drums come tuned for specific keys; they have a bass (base?) note made by whacking the central nub, and 7 or 8 harmonics, depending on the model. Watch one of the YouTube videos and you'll quickly get the idea. Since it is essentially impossible to buy one, a sample set like this is pretty much the only way you're gonna get the sound of the hang drum in to your music, unless you want to get out the brazing torch and go to work on your wife's cooking gear.
Soniccouture's library comes in two flavors, the Hang Mk1 (the 8-dimple variety), and the newer Hang Mk2, with 7 dimples. I'm loath to go in to great detail about what's provided, as we'll be here all day, and that's not really the purpose of this website. Suffice to say that if it's possible to make a particular sound with a hang drum, Soniccouture sampled it, at multiple velocity layers, and three samples of each. Literally every single possible sound has a round-robin layer, so you don't get the typical "I'm whackin' this key over and over again" vibe. At all. This is definitely the most sophisticated sample set I own, of any instrument.
Where Soniccouture really shines, as usual, is in the Kontakt skripts. The way they've set the initial patch up, you can literally make your settings (root key, note speed, and how much randomization you're in the mood for) and mash down a bunch of keys on your keyboard, and you have Cool Shit. It is so easy to get something interesting out of this, I'm a little worried that someone like me may be completely obviated. They'll come out with a "Chris Randall Programs Your Shit" script, and I'll be done for.
Anywho, there are several samples on the Soniccouture site, and you can read all about it here. I made a little ditty just fooling around with the automagic script stuff, which you can hear here. The drums are from Konkrete V2, and the bass is from Abstrakt Bass, so it's an all-Soniccouture demo. Effects used are Replicant, Reverence, and Dubstation, and Sonalksis TKB3 (my lil' one-knob buddy) on the drums and hang and SV-315 on the 2-buss.