Wide Blue Sound has fused tonal rhythms with beautiful sounds to give us a utopia of possibility in Elysium, their new flagship Kontakt-based software synthesizer.
Kontakt has enabled a huge range of sample and synthesis based instruments to bring animated soundscapes to our desktops and DAWs. Running on the same sound engine there’s a danger of them all feeling a bit similar. Certainly, there will be elements in Elysium that will be familiar but Wide Blue Sound believes that they’re onto something special. Let’s check it out.
Elysium is a two-layer instrument. One layer is filled with percussive sounds, the other with synth sounds. The basic premise is that you are encouraged to play with the macro knobs, generators and motion sequencers to create movement and a never-ending supply of new and engaging sounds. It doesn’t want to be a preset synth, although there are plenty of presets, it wants to be a place of exploration and adventure.
The sounds come from a variety of multi-sampled instruments and monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers. It gives you an interesting way of selecting sounds by categorising them by mood. While this is an intriguing and satisfying way of browsing sounds it’s a bit more difficult if all you want is some strings or a Moog bass. But Elysium is all about the journey, discovering and morphing worlds together and it’s best to see it in those ethereal terms.
Elysium is immediately different and I really like that in the Kontakt environment. A patch is made up of a single percussive layer plus a synth layer which is made up of 4 sounds that you can blend or move between. The movement is there from the start with a Phase Sequencer front and centre running the percussion and dictating how the synths sound blend into each other. It can do everything from stab from one sound to another following a “phases of a moon” concept or you can morph from one to another either rhythmically or spacially. Very quickly you get the idea of how you can control the movement or disavow it and focus on the morphology aspects. And I haven’t gone beyond the first preset yet.
The FX pages add a rack of useful effects including a really nice convolution reverb, some stompbox models and delay. You can have different racks setup for the percussion layer, synth layer and master output – so lots of effects! The Motion side has the familiar Kontakt step sequencers that you can direct to whatever parameters you like. There’s also a “Tide” section which forces an envelope over each layer by as much as you like with vast options on length and timing.
The sounds coming out of Elysium are lush and lively. There’s a lot of big sounds and movement going on that are sometimes in danger of becoming one finger atmospheric tracks. It’s a bit like Omnisphere where the sounds can become too epic and overwhelming to be useful. But it is not difficult to wrangle them into a usable state because the interface is easy, inviting and lets you play to find the sort of atmospheres you’re after. If you run out of ideas then it has a built-in “Generate” engine that will help you discover new pathways.
I’m going to play with this some more.
Elysium is available now for Kontakt and Kontakt Player for a special price of $179.
- Wide Blue Sound website.
- More from Wide Blue Sound.