When it comes to VST instruments I would grade myself as an absolute novice. As a Reason user for the past 7+ years, I was always going with my sandboxed rack emulation providing ample tools for my musical creation needs. But the previous 6 months have been hard on my creative mind.
In these previous months, have been unable to finish a track, or ever get past that initial eight or sixteen-bar loop that we all think is God’s gift to music when we first birth it from our mind to sequencer. So, a few days ago, not only did, I decide to take the plunge into something different, I chose to sail 100 miles into the metaphorical ocean, strap some weights to my ankles and dive in with a purchase of Reaktor 6.
I just grabbed Twisted Tools: Totally Twisted pack, and, as providence may have it that I bought the NI Reaktor to run it. I was looking forward to the beautiful frustration and eureka moments that accompany the new software.
First up is ULTRALOOP, a first-of-its-kind loop remixing sampler with a fast and intuitive visual workflow for Native Instruments Reaktor the website tells me. My little gripe with this is that there is a pretty steep learning curve with it (Even though, through trial and error with this, the phrase “nothing worthwhile comes easy” leaps to mind!).
Also, the manual’s pictures and references all refer to Reaktor, which as a Reaktor virgin, was quite confusing at the start, but I am slowly finding my footing.
Out of the starting block, the factory presets sound huge!
Everything is glitched out, well-sequenced, and feels like you could be the next Aphex twin or Ruby my dear just from scrolling through the user bank. With the “Totally Twisted” bundle, I count an additional 18 loop expansion banks ( as I said I am a complete beginner with Reaktor, so there is probably more) coupled with the likes of the “dark morph” banks and multiple kits, so there is plenty for everyone’s tastes and styles and some.
At the time of writing, I currently do not have a MIDI keyboard due to a faulty keyboard stand and the forces of gravity, but this has not hindered me, from being able to see the crazy potential this has for live performance. Everything you can think of, and many things you wouldn’t have been meticulously planned out and included. Sequencing the FX, length, pan, pitch, FX gestures (I wasn’t sure what that was either, but its variations of the current fx selected), you name it, it is there with multiple controls.
Now, I have the dexterity of an armless statue when it comes to “controllerism”, but the nimble-fingered you reading this should be mildly salivating at this as this unique program hands you enormous power and manipulation over your audio if you are willing to put the time and effort in.
You will not be the next Jeremy Ellis the minute you install the program, but I would put money on it that this program would be in his arsenal and certainly give him a raised eyebrow or two and definitely one of those inward grins when we discover something that brings our production/performance to the next level.
I do not have a grasp on how to use this program in the slightest, I will admit that even with nearly five days of use under my belt. I do not think that in six months’ time I will have a good grasp on this program and it is a fact for me that I believe this to be a potential game changer.
How many of us here have bought a new VST or piece of kit on the back of some video or audio carefully planned out to get your credit card number to migrate from your wallet to the purchase form? Only for that VST or hardware to sit in the bowels of your hard drive only to be used when you remember that you bought it many moons later.
ULTRALOOP is like a golden elastic band ball of sample manipulation, with each layer of knowledge you add to understanding it, your production ability and complexity can grow exponentially. This program will give you exactly what you put into it, If you want something that gives you great sounds and presets to use straight away, this fits the bill, but it will not be long before you get a bit frustrated with it.
You give it patience and attention, and like any fruitful relationship with these attributes, something greater may blossom!