REVIEW: Artifact - Fractal by Audio Imperia
Audio Imperia has not been around for very long, but they have quickly risen to be one of the top picks for a lot trailer music composers, with high-quality releases such as Scenes From The Multiverse and the Photosynthesis series. Artifact - Fractal is the first release in their new Artifact series, created by Valentin Boomes, who is known for his gritty and unique trailer music style.
This library is made to fulfill the needs of trailer music producers and features 40 hard-hitting construction kits, 3 signature drums, and 11 great sounding drum kits and 14 elements spread across 29 presets. It requires the full version of Kontakt, and is, as I write, available for $149 (full price is $199).
Full price: $199
40 Construction Kits
3 Signature drums
11 Drum Kits
High definition audio quality (includes 48/24 Wav files)
4.2 GB installed
Multisampled Signature Drums
Custom Kontakt Engine & GUI with dual FX page layout
29 Individual Kontakt Patches
Convenient and reliable download via Continuata Connect
The first thing that meets my eye as I open my first construction kit patch, is a new, dark and sleek graphical interface. It consists of a big knob in the middle, surrounded by knobs to control the volume, pitch, attack and release.
However, by a single click you can open the EQ panel, giving you a wide range of options including Frequency, Bandwidth and Gain controls, plus Resonance and Cutoff knobs. The interface looks good and straight-forward. Now, before I get more into the options for tweaking the samples, I want to simply check out what it sounds like out of the box.
Let’s load up a few patches and try them out.
As I hit the C key on my Keyboard, the kick drum makes my subwoofer shake my room enough to scare my cat away. Good sign. The construction sound great, and are easy to use. It’s loop based (compared to the other patches which are single samples), and will quickly give you an idea of the sound and capabilities of the library . The kits are easy to use, good sounding, and fun to play around with. A nice mix of powerful kicks gritty snares, and glitchy hats and effects. However, I’m not the biggest fan of loops - so I was quickly eager to explore the other patches a bit deeper.
I continue by checking out the signature kits, which is a part I was really excited to check out. The first two patches I tried (Giant Percussion and Secret Artifact Ensemble) consists of huge hits and impacts. It all sounds really good straight out of the box, but the range of effects and tweaking possibilities makes it a breeze to explore other combinations.
If you switch from the “main” to the FX panel, you’ll find a lot of possibilities to tweak the samples, with 10 Step Modulators (4 Volume, 4 Pan, 1 Low Pass + 1 High Pass), options to control what the Big Center Knob does (Compressor, Distortion, Lo-Fi, Rotator, Chorus, Phaser and Flanger), as well as Send FX (Delay and Reverb) and Insert FX (Compressor, Distortion, Lo-Fi, Rotator, Chorus, Flanger and Phaser). As you explore all these options, you’ll find an infinite amount of ways to create interesting and great sounding stuff.
Now, as I keep going through the signature kits, what I started missing was a more standard “drum kit” setup, with kicks, snares, and so on. It turns out the signature kits are rather a combination of different hits and impacts, more than something that resembles a real drum-kit based combination. That said, my wish for drum kits turned out to be fulfilled (and more) in the next patches.
What I really fell in love with from this library, was the 11 amazing drum kits. I was originally gonna quickly browse through them to get a quick overview at first, but ended up spending 10 minute on each patch creating grooves and tweaking the sounds, grinning like a kid playing with his toys on Christmas eve. The sound is fantastic. Gritty, loud, heavy and in your face. Some of the kick drums are the most massive drum samples I’ve ever heard, kind of blurring the lines between a kick drum and a pure trailer-hit sample. Perfect for massive, hybrid trailer style tracks.
What I love about the drum kits, is that there are so many opportunities. A lot of the kits have up to 4+ octaves with samples on every key, giving you an ocean of possibilities of combinations to play around with.
The only thing I missed from these kits, was a recurring structure of the samples. Coming from a lot of drum kit libraries (like Studio Drummer and Abbey Road ++ from Native Instruments), I’m used to having the Kick on C2, snares around D2, hats on the black keys from F#-A#, cymbals from C3-E3 and so on. While some of the patches are laid out similarly to that, I found that the placements of different key elements in kits (snares and hats for example) were placed pretty randomly from patch to patch, making you have to search for them on the keyboard if you want to play grooves live.
If you’re a mouse-input based producer, this is not an issue however, and this preference is purely personal. All in all, the drum kits and their sound blew me away, and I can’t wait to use them in my tracks. These are personally my favorite part of the library.
When I thought I had reached the top after the 11 great sounding drum kits, Audio Imperia puts the icing on the cake by including a folder of “elements”, including cloud snares (basically snare reverb tails), trailer hits, woosh hits, risers and other great effects. This addition really made the library a lot more complete, making it easy to start producing trailer cues straight away without having to look any further. That said, those who want a wider range of sound design and trailer FX options should look into Audio Imperia’s highly praised Scenes From The Multiverse from Generdyn.
If you’re hungry from some massive, gritty and hard-hitting drum samples, Artifact - Fractal gives you a full 3-course dinner with the appetizer, main course, dessert and leftovers to bring home. You’ll get both great construction kits, some signature kits, a great range of drum kits, as well as a nice elements pack. While some people might feel is a little bit pricey compared to their other libraries ($199 vs around $50), it’s also probably their biggest library to date, with over 2000 samples to choose from.
The engine is easy to use and makes it a blast to play around with. While it is a pure percussion and drum library only, it truly nails what it aims to do; industrial, gritty and massive percussion for trailer music composers.
And while it claims to be targeted towards trailer composers, I can easily see this being used in both film and game scores, as well as other types of music calling for this hard-hitting, gritty feel. Heck, I could even see this being used in dark and aggressive hip-hop tracks and similar styles.
All in all, this is a great library for its use. There are tons of kits to choose from, and the fact that it includes the “elements” patches with risers, woosh-hits, impacts and other snacks is a fantastic bonus for a trailer composer. With over 2000 samples to choose from, and a huge range of options for tweaking and manipulation - there will always be new gems and uses to find for this library. If you’re looking for massive industrial trailer drums, I can only recommend checking this library out.
Artifact - Fractal
Total Score: 4.66/5
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Composer, producer, entrepreneur and digital nomad from Norway, and the co-founder of Evenant. Has a strong passion for traveling, exploring new cultures, learning new skills and creating new things.