REVIEW, Acoustic Refractions – Native Instruments Kore Soundpack

May 1, 2009

I used to make a living making music. Now, it’s more of a hobby, yet I’ve been pretty delirious with glee at how some things have advanced. I used to struggle with sloppy MIDI setups which impugned my craft; now, USB interfaces like Native Instruments Kore not only have more bandwidth, they make it ludicrously simple to drill down to a specific sound out of 1,000s. Take that, old SysEx dumps!

Some people collect visual art. I used to collect sound samples fervently, but that hunger’s returning again, to such a degree that I’ve considered getting a mobile recorder like a Zoom H4n to capture the sonic world around me. In the meantime, there’s Kore with its Soundpacks — each one is a collection focused around a theme. And I’ve found a new fave, Acoustic Refractions:

ACOUSTIC REFRACTIONS draws inspiration from many idiosyncratic sources, as well as everyday objects and circumstances. Their transformation into playable instruments is a triumph of imagination, creativity and advanced programming. Beautifully sampled from such diverse sources as ice instruments, spinning washing machines, traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge, carpets being ripped, underground parking garages, and rain on a car windshield; ACOUSTIC REFRACTIONS is a celebration of refreshingly off-kilter sound design.

There are some “Ah! I hear what you mean” demos up on the site, but I wanted to show you how I’m exploring it. Kore has beyond a gargantuan base palette: for each sound, up to 8 variations can be created and smoothly morphed through. This is killer for evolving pads, shifting timbres, and anything you don’t want to be boring. Acoustic Refractions makes excellent use of this, as I show you in this video tour:

Even if you aren’t big into computer music, maybe this fires a spark in you. If so, check out the free Kore player. You’ll understand what amazing possibilities lie before us. Memories slip into my mind like the first time I got on a friend’s Roland XP-50 (whose orange screen, in some respects, isn’t too dissimilar from the Kore hardware controller’s red one) in 1996 and started rocking out, or being tantalized by the possibility of playing an analogue behemoth with many patch cables but not having the money to afford one.

Lovely sounds, Jeremiah Savage (kickass name). MAKE MORE PLEASE!


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