Review: Fragments Modern Percussion by Sonuscore


Sonuscore explore the subtle power of everyday sounds for their latest release Fragments – Modern Percussion. A plethora of organic ticks, clicks, thumps, bumps, taps and clacks have been meticulously sampled and then fed into a compelling Kontakt engine, with humanistic pattern playback at its core.

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Review: Fragments Modern Percussion by Sonuscore

Alongside sampling traditional instruments for products like their impressive The Orchestra series, Sonuscore have long been advocates of recording less commonplace instruments. This has often been in the guise of unusual ethnic instruments, but for Fragments the emphasis is firmly on found sounds; everyday noises that are repurposed to take the place of a more familiar kick, snare, hat and percussion combo. Armed with the trusty duo of a Sennheiser MKH 8020 and Microtech Gefell m930 a huge range of organic sources such as clocks, cameras, locks, dice, bowls, sticks and much more were deep sampled with twelve round robins and up to five velocity layers. There’s even a large bank of various human body noises, like tongue clicks and mouth pops. Once inside a very intuitive Kontakt engine the power of how well they can work to create complex and unique rhythms, when sequenced and layered, quickly becomes apparent. Sonuscore have also developed some innovative features that breathe real life into the samples, as I will explain in more detail below.

Fragments Modern Percussion normally sells for $99 from Sonuscore


Fragments features three slots, each with identical controls and a dedicated sequencer, but with entirely different samples. These samples are sub divided up into colour palettes: Wood, Metal, Mech and Body. The Bass Drum and Snare Drum channels have three samples in each palette (so twelve samples in total), whilst the Fragments channel has seventeen of each (68 samples). Some users might lament the lack of flexibility in how they work; whilst you can layer sound types you cannot alter the levels between them and also you cannot combine say, Wood sound 1 with Metal sound 3 – they must match numbers. On the flip side, it does mean programming and selecting sounds is very quick and intuitive. It also means the sound randomiser can be implemented, which keeps changing the samples used as the sequencer plays, by dragging the slider under the sound selector dial. There is also a similar function for pan which randomises the left to right location.

Main Page


The samples here are really well recorded and border on that ASMR thing with crisp detail up close and personal. I really like how dry they are, as that’s really key when using short found sounds like this for percussive purposes. The Woods have that warm, soft knock and organic cracks and taps. The Metals are more transient with higher frequencies and some lovely biting clicks, hits and whip sounds. The Mechs are all about clock ticks, latches, keys turning, clasps closing and such like and are full of unusual character. Finally, we have the Body sounds ranging from foot taps to thigh slaps and all manner of mouth tongue clicks, pops and ticks.

Each slot has its own unique sample bank, with the Bass Drum focussing on low end thumps, Snare Drum on midrange crack and Fragments on the highest frequency and shortest sounds that reflect the role hi-hats or percussion plays in a traditional drum set. I would have liked to have had more samples for the kick and snare ideally; maybe not 68 like the Fragments, but just three of each colour palette feels a little meagre.

C3 will play back all three sound slots together and D3, E3 and F3 respectively play back the Bass Drum, Snare Drum and Fragments sequences. Each slot has its own individual sequencer with control over the step number and time divisions. A number of features set it apart from the norm though. A x2 button quickly duplicates your pattern, automatically adding more steps and next to that is a dice for randomising the pattern, with arrows to scroll through previous patterns for when you find a good one and want to go back to it. I feel it would have been nice to also have some basic sequencer shapes available as presets. Another dice randomises the pattern every time the sequencer loops back to the start, which is an effective way to make your beats less repetitive, though it can also make them very unpredictable! My favourite part of the sequencer section is without doubt the built in functions of CC1 and CC11. The former introduces extra notes on any step with nothing programmed, thus giving the ability for the sequencer to play ghost notes on the fly (displayed in peach rather than white). This can be enabled on a per slot basis by pressing the Density button. The latter globally adds some high EQ, compression and saturation, effectively making the sounds punchier and more aggressive (displayed with a white line). By judicious riding of your midi faders previously rigid sequences are transformed into something that breathes and evolves in a more organic fashion – brilliant!


MIDI CC Control

The one thing I did miss however, was some way to change the timing of the sequencer so patterns could be swung, or samples shifted slightly backwards and forwards in time to make it less precise and looser. However, it is possible to do this in your DAW if you use the export to MIDI button in the bottom left, which can also be configured to export individual slots if needed.

The usability here is intuitive enough I would happily dive in and create my own patterns from scratch, but for added inspiration or if on a deadline there are over 100 presets included. You can quickly get where you want due to the detailed options allowing the user to specify the type, time signature, colour and time division – it’s not just sequencer presets, but also the sample selection and FX which are customised. Arrows on the main page let you quickly cycle through presets.



Of course, you might want to sequence in your DAW or use the sounds as one shots, so by pressing the Engine button the sequencer is disabled and now every single sample (all 92 of them)
is spread across the keyboard. This opens up the possibility of layering between colour palettes and as velocity controls volume in this method, the relative levels can also be balanced to suit.


Alternative Key Mapping

There is a workmanlike FX page which gives per layer control over reverb send, delay, two band EQ and a resonant filter which can be configured to move or stay static. A global compressor using the Supercharger GT internally is handy to keep things under control if required. The reverb is also global and with similarly minimal controls to select short, medium or long (the first two being plates, the last one a hall) plus a size knob for finer control over reverb decay.

FX Page


By clicking the User tab there is the option to drag and drop your own samples into the three channels and they can then be used alongside the 4 factory colour palettes. It’s quick and easy with knobs for volume and attack, but it lacks any deeper features. Incidentally, the User page is also where you configure CC1 and CC11.


User Page

Fragments is ideal for when you want organic sounding drum loops with a unique timbre. Although the sounds originate directly from everyday noises, very few are recognisable as to what they actually are. This is ideal to stop it sounding like foley percussion which can limit the scope of usage. What you get is simply detailed and textural beats with a lovely earthy quality that seems to work brilliantly in knitting together all the drums and percussion in a composition. Obviously, you are not going to be loading up Fragments for creating banging pop drums or epic trailer rhythms. Instead, it’s perfect for creating anything from natural, energetic pulses to off-kilter quirky patterns to sporadic and moody underscore loops.

Of great appeal is the combination of the randomisation options in both the sound source section and the sequencer, meaning long, ever changing percussive parts can be generated that feel more like a real human performance. On top of that is the user controlled Density and Sweetener/Squash/Saturation on CC1 and CC11. All of this in combination with plenty of dynamic layers and a very high number of round robins results in a very naturalistic feel. Indeed, the samples might not be modern, but how it is all put together totally is, hence the full product title. It’s the kind of sound you hear artists like Four Tet and Jon Hopkins do with their intricate textural percussive programming and it does work very nicely alongside synthetic elements too.

Fragments – Modern Percussion is one of the those clever and subtle tools that can provide an unusual and nuanced edge to your beats. It’s not the most glamorous library, but it sets out with a specific aim and really delivers. The main drawback it might face is a relatively high price point for less than 100 sample sources, though that does mean a staggeringly low hard disk footprint at a mere 98MB! For me though, it is more than just the constituent parts and the speed at which you can get excellent results is a big draw. If you are looking to energise your drums and percussion with something exuding bags of unusual organic character, Fragments needs checking out.


Fragments – Modern Percussion is a 98MB download for the free Kontakt Player. It features 92 varied sound sources and thousands of individual samples. The engine has three sound slots and a detailed individual sequencer for each. There are over 100 cinematic and experimental presets.

Fragments Modern Percussion normally sells for $99 from Sonuscore


Demos of Fragments Modern Percussion by Sonuscore

Videos of Fragments Modern Percussion by Sonuscore


Contributor Sam Burt reviews Fragments Modern Percussion by Sonuscore
Sonuscore explore the subtle power of everyday sounds for their latest release Fragments – Modern Percussion. A plethora of organic ticks, clicks, thumps, bumps, taps and clacks have been meticulously sampled and then fed into a compelling Kontakt engine, with humanistic pattern playback at its core.”