Update: Here is a fixed version of the performance and ensemble I originally linked. Since Kore saves absolute path references in its performances, you will have to locate the BlackBox ensemble wherever you unzipped it and load it into the instance of Reaktor in the second channel. This time, doing that will fix the controller mappings. Sorry for the mix up! Hat tip to Sowari for alerting us to the problem.
The new Spark instrument for Reaktor evolved through many iterations out of Stephan Schmitt’s desire for an instrument that responds to the player in a performance situation. It’s aimed at realtime manipulation by a skilled player, and keeps the built-in LFOs and envelopes to a bare minimum.
As I played with Spark over the weekend, I noticed that some of the richest sonic possibilities emerged from using it in Kore for hands-on control, especially when morphing between sound variations. I started thinking about ways to add motion to the sound while still respecting Stephan’s vision of a performance oriented instrument. This is what I came up with:
It’s a Reaktor motion recorder designed especially for use in Kore in conjunction with Spark. The three knobs are mapped to the three macro controls in Spark, and record your movements, then play them back. Since the motion comes from you, from your reactions and musical intuition as you play, it’s a live and human kind of modulation source – but it also gives you three extra hands to perform.
Here’s how it works: the three upper left knobs on the Kore controller are mapped to the BlackBox knobs, and the three buttons above them enable recording. It’s easy to hold down the record button with a middle finger and move a knob with your thumb and index. When you release the record button, the automation begins playing back and looping automatically. The three leftmost buttons on the bottom row enable or disable the automation.
Since the lengths of the recorded sequences aren’t quantized, they phase-shift against each other and against the tempo of your music. It creates an organic push and pull that I like. Here’s what it sounds like:
Native Instruments Spark plus Blackbox from Create Digital Media on Vimeo.
I’ll provide you with a Kore performance and the Blackbox ensemble, but you’ll need to go get Spark at the NI online shop. One thing you’ll also have to do is activate the MIDI in option in the properties of the three Spark macro controls, which is as simple as ticking a box: