Built on the same engine (and ecological principles) as their Sonic Forest instrument, Sonic Ocean explores sound design through water. Mixing together 24 sound sources to create a mix of acoustic and synthesised sounds with recordings of flowing water from two continents.
As an instrument for Kontakt there are plenty of presets, lots of sound layering and rhythmic tools. There’s a sequencer, a polyphonic arpeggiator and detailed microtuning to make for some interesting textures before plunging through a pool of effects. But the coolest thing about the Sonic Ocean engine is in the granula synthesis. Above the portal on the GUI is a button called “Sail”. Once pressed the last generated sound sets sail into a granular engine on a journey of evolving and atmospheric meandering.
Once out on the water the timbre of the sound can be dramatically adjusted via 12 intriguingly named controls such as “Submerge”, “Tides”, “Ripple” and “Current”. The video walk-through (below) takes you through how each of these controls affects the sound in some detail. There’s a lot of scope here for sculpting sounds.
The example sounds played in the video were for me a little too digital sounding. I was hoping for more warmth and depth to the feel, whereas overall it seems very glassy and cold. However, for $25 it would seem almost rude not to splash out on it even if you are only a little bit inspired. I think I’m intrigued enough to give it a go. Also, Impact Soundworks are donating 20% of the proceeds to the Clean Water Fund which is definitely an awesome feature.