Let’s take a look at the new Kontakt library by Sample Logic called Rhythmology. A few months ago I reviewed their “Cinematic Guitars Infinity” library, and like quite a bit, and since Sample Logic has made quite a few products in the last couple of years that sparked my interest, I jumped on this one right away.
I have to admit I might have had some very high expectations going into this review, of which somewhere were met and some not so much, but more on that later.
What it is?!
When I first opened up Rhythmology I was a bit confused because it looked like a strange hybrid between a step sequencer and a loop player. At first, it was not quite clear to me how that could work, but it turns out if you throw a bunch of effects into the mix as well, then on a very simplified level that’s kind of what it is. Rhythmology consists of four core units (Loop Cores).
Each unit can load loops, play them forward and backward and in both directions, as well as apply effects to it, and sort of “juggle” them. Only the loops that come with the library can be loaded, which is a bit of a bummer for me, but understandable given that these loops aren’t just a standard wave file, but contain quite a bit of extra information beyond that.
Now here is where it gets interesting…
All the loops are preprocessed and cut up into sixteen pieces. Each of those sixteen pieces can be independently triggered, played back, reversed, or be affected by the effects units. It’s almost as if you stacked four MPC’s and a bunch of effect units on top of each other.
Something else that deserves some special attention in this library is the preset browser. As it is slowly becoming a trend with some library producers, Sample Logic continues to provide multiple ways to browse through presets and delivers them sorted by categories to thin out the selection and make the process easier.
While you can load complete presets from the multicore browser, you can also select single loops from the loop browser, or pure effect presets from the corresponding drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can also use the random function that has almost become a trademark function for Sample Logic libraries.
This basically lets you randomize your complete setup with all parameters, or you can choose which parameters you want to randomize and which you rather leave untouched from the randomize options. Randomizable parameters cover volume, panorama, transpose, loop source, stutter, reverse, FX pattern, loop core, FX chain, loop pattern, and loop steps.
What it sounds like
Rhythmology covers a pretty wide sound field but seems definitely aimed at electronic music makers of the last few years.
Sound quality is top class and the different presets make clear that this is a tool for beatmakers, and producers, as well as musicians that like to use a break, and stutter effects, as well as strong, full, and pumping sounds. Within that field, it freshens up the vocabulary by bringing in lots of elements and loops from other genres, ready and cut up to be used.
Rhythmology’s interface is extremely well-designed and intuitive. I found it extremely easy to just play around and figure out what different buttons do, and how I can manipulate the sound. However, it is a little misleading, since its simplicity could easily lead you to believe that this is just a fancier version of a loop player, and some of the cooler options are not as obvious as the rest of the library.
The looks of the interface are however great it seems polished and smooth everything is reflected in an easy, accessible, and instantly recognizable way. And for the amounts of content that is crammed into this library, Sample Logic did a great job of keeping everything in order and providing the user with a good overview.
Like I already mentioned earlier, I started this with a lot of expectations. So let me start with what I like.
Rhythmology has a very clean design and a lot of versatility. It offers a vast array of presets and sounds to choose from, and it provides extremely deep control over various single parameters and enormous room for experimentation. It is also obvious that Rhythmology is made for artists and producers that like to work with loops, and Sample Logic has simplified the workflow of those, by giving them their most commonly used sound manipulations prepackaged in an instrument.
At the same time, I personally don’t work with loops that much, and if I do I like it to be able to manipulate those loops myself, make the cuts where I want them, and use my own loops if I want. It’s clear why that isn’t possible and Rhythmology, but it’s still a minus for me.
Also while I had a lot of fun when I first played with the library, I found it hard to isolate the sound of the single loops in each of the multicores presets, and not all of them seem to fit together sonically. I could overall find very few presets that instantly inspired me. The random function yielded some very cool results for me, but mostly I ended up bouncing them out to audio because I had just that much more creative freedom that way.
To wrap this up, Sample Logic provides with Rhythmology a huge pool of loops prepared with a lot of detail, and pre-marked with fitting effects. It is clearly a very cool package, and I think the reason that I personally didn’t enjoy it as much, is that it just doesn’t fit my personal workflow. I imagine that if you are a loop-based producer or artist this would be a great tool in your arsenal. I personally lack the patience for the time it would take to fiddle with Rhythmology until it yields the results I want.
I feel lost in the browser, and often the results didn’t match what I had in mind. Therefore all that’s left for me to say is: I can see all the signs of a really great tool, technically, creatively, and sonically, but it’s just not for me. I would still recommend you check it out. If you like to work with loops this will probably not be disappointed.
- Price: $ 299 USD
- over 1000 loop sources
- 490 loop cores
- 337 multi-core instruments
- 5.2 GB compressed sample library
- All samples are delivered at 44.1kHz/24-bit
Rhythmology requires Native Instruments KONTAKT and is available priced at $ 299 USD.