Simon Stockhausen’s soundset draws a rave from Marty Cutler
I always look forward to new releases for UVI Falcon, especially when they are from Simon Stockhausen He is a brilliant musician as well as a sound-design expert.
Stockhausen’s latest release, Fluidity is no exception.
Fluidity takes free advantage of Falcon’s deep, musical wellspring of synthesis, sampling, and processing. For instance, one patch may rely on a wavetable oscillator and FM synthesis, while another may add analog modeling, a granular oscillator, and a sequencer. The result yields heady, animated patches and a generous palette of sound-shaping tools.
Fluidity’s patches are divided loosely into seven categories: Electronic, Mallets, Sequencer, Soundscapes, Strings, Water, Wind – a diverse bunch of titles, to be sure, but the collection defies a literal interpretation. Even Mallets, which start with percussive attacks, often bloom into lush, shimmering pads.
Patch timbres are often extremely complex, as reflected by there being seven to twelve useful macros (the controls in the center of the interface) in each patch. The Synth Vibes patch has ten of them, for example, and these go well beyond filter cutoff and resonance controls.
Synth Vibes starts off sounding more like Steel Pans, but there’s plenty to work with: a pair of Pluck oscillators feeding resonators, stacked with a pair of FM engines, layered with a 3-oscillator analog-modeling stack, and a ton of modulation.
The result is a pad with a steel pan attack whose gorgeous, flowing echoes create an undercurrent of subtle timbral motion and sparkle.
Less subtle, but powerful and inspiring are some of the patches in the Sequencer section. Fluidity Bass Seq is reminiscent of the driving force behind Jeff Beck’s Star Cycle – but with a more syncopated rhythm, due to different components playing in sync, each with a different number of steps.
Playing with the formant filter knobs sends the patch into wah-wah Wackyland.
In the Strings folder you’ll find a bunch of enormous-sounding cittern patches, all sampled by Stockhausen and melded with wavetables, granular processing, and other techniques.
Sul Pont Scape is a sonic mind-blower, with wavetables virtually advancing gradually closer to the sampled cello’s bridge. It’s spooky and gorgeous.
Ethereal sounds predominate in the Water and Wind folders, and most are unlike anything you would probably expect. If not, twisting the MIDI-controllable macros yields dramatic changes, either in timbre, motion, or rhythm.
These derive some component of the sound from sampled elements of water and wind, whether in impulse responses, as wavetables or granular sample playback, merged with analog oscillators. The sound ranges from dripping water to a talk box tube immersed in water to drastically granulated saxophone arpeggios.
Many of the macros offer controls for speed, position, or density of the granulation, among other tweaks.
There’s plenty more. The Soundscape patches are a cinematic treasure trove, from tonal pads to unusual atonal sound effects.
Fluidity will open your ear to some new sonic possibilities. Better yet, as in Stockhausen’s earlier libraries, each patch contains details regarding its creation, all of which are valuable sound design pointers. Study these patches in conjunction with Stockhausen’s notes, to become a Falcon power user.
I enthusiastically recommend Fluidity to anyone, whether cinematically-inclined electronic musicians or composers in search of fresh, lively sounds. Fluidity is considerably more than a sound library, it’s a synthesizer unto itself, and it bubbles with life.