Sample Science’s new plugin Hexagon Sky not only boasts simplicity, but a unique and specific type of emulation. We explore it’s multitude of sounds…
Developer Sample Science
Contact via website
Now here’s an intriguing plug-in. We’ve seen software that is designed for specific musical genres – country music, EDM, even shoegaze – but this is the first in memory that has been designed to help emulate a specific type of band, namely Boards Of Canada.
Aptly, then, it’s a Canadian developer which is behind the software. Sample Science produces ‘bespoke’ plug-ins, so ones that are clearly highly targeted towards specific needs, and if your needs are wobbly, detuned yet atmospheric sounds, this could be the best 30 bucks you’ll ever spend. The plug-in weighs in at 1.2GB, so you can guess it’s a sample-based instrument. There are 101 presets, which utilise up to four instrument parts, plus some electronic noise to really fill things out. You get a main oscillator, a sub and two types of ‘field recording’, which can be anything from the sounds of children playing to words from documentaries (which are all open source and available to use in your music, apparently).
The interface is very simple – kind of what you’d expect, given the price. There are envelope controls for the four main parts, plus an ‘Electronic’ section that offer the following types of noise: Vinyl (scratching surface noise); VHS (more of a buzzing sound); Tape (for hiss); and Broken (sort of like an out-of-tune radio loop). Despite its simplicity, then, there’s a lot to blend and mix. A flexible LFO sections adds a welcome layer of modulating possibilities.
The results are, on occasion, excellent. You get some fantastic drone-y pads, some atmospheric stabs, loads of slightly off-kilter loops – and noise, lots of it. Yes, it’s come to the point where we’re actually buying plug-ins that do noise, but Hexagon Sky delivers it in a very tuneful (okay, de-tuneful) way. It’s a shame there’s not so much control going on over its sounds – we’d have loved more filter action and effects (you just get reverb) – but we’re guessing an update could easily include more mangling. As it is, we slotted Hexagon Sky straight into some ongoing projects and it added some fantastic slanted sonics every time.
Hexagon Sky Key Features
- 101 sounds inspired by Boards Of Canada, Tycho, Lone and Com Truise
- Four-sound layer engine
- LFO depth and rate controls/destination and source selectors
- Four background-noise layers
- Global reverb, pitch and velocity curve
A simple plug-in that can deliver some incredible, if slightly leftfield, inspiration and ambience.