Review: Infundibulum #2 by Sound Dust
Immensely enjoyable to work with
A real starting point for exploration into unexpected sonic vistas
A seemingly endless variety of strange and novel textures and rhythms
Pretty simple interface
Everything you need on one page
Some 230 themed new and revised snapshots to get you started
Lots of opportunity to mess up your sounds with the provided effects which can be applied to each oscillator separately
Pretty small processor footprint unless (see con)
Arp recorder lets you make a single or multi midi file of your creation which you can then load into your DAW to trigger other sample libraries
As far as I can see, still no latch function if you're craving that
The provided 'snapshots' don't really describe what you'll get
Having all your parameters on one page can be hard to read especially with Kontakt's minuscule GUI
Needs some time to find and develop something musically useful and exciting
It's eccentric sound won't mix easily with more traditional textures and instruments
Processor footprint will increase the more complicated and effects laden your creation becomes
If you’re looking for something very different that could open up whole new unimagined vistas of sound, then this product is for you. For what you get, the value is exceptional. No need to worry about legato or different articulations or room sound, this product is all about mangling, stretching and revelling in the noise and effects that extreme sampling can create. With some tweaking obviously, it can be surprisingly lush and cinematic. Gorgeous even! It obviously also lends itself very well to lofi and experimental electronica and trance.
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Review: Infundibulum #2 by Sound Dust
Well, frankly, most of what I was going to say about this product has already been nicely summed up by my esteemed colleague Sam Burt in his review of Infundibulum #1. So, I see no real need to repeat or try to top what he already reviewed.
The two products are very similar, in fact, almost indistinguishable from each other in the way they function and are organized. Makes sense because this is version 2 of version 1! So, if you’re looking for a detailed description of how Infundibulum works, what your options are and what to tweak and so on, please refer to Sam’s excellent rundown. He’s a good composer and so gives valuable insight into how he actually has been using the initial product.
Infundibulum #2 sells for $80 USD from Sound Dust
Seems like the Brits are turning out some of the most innovative and interesting virtual instruments lately. Not sure if it’s the tea or the beer, or both, or maybe its the tea biscuits, but I must say, some of these products are stellar. Many of course are niche and boutique offerings.
No massive thundering brass libraries that will shake the roof of your studio, or thick string libraries to create thumping and driving ostinatos. Well, I think you get my point. Not everyone needs or wants to be the next Wagner or Mahler. (that’s actually another good discussion for another time) For those composers, these products are a god-send.
I know that in my limited repertoire and sonic world, Infundibulum #2 and some of Pendle’s (owner and mad scientist behind Sound Dust) other products, have become a mainstay. Infundibulum #2 in particular provides a kind of off-centre way of coming into music creation. That’s no doubt due to Pendle’s unique musical mind and sensibility. Infundibulum #2 comes from a world of ethereal, grating, dusty, lofi type of music making, that like its title suggests, is a kind of time tunnel that blends the now with what came before into one big hash. Esoteric I know, but the results are eminently inspiring, and with some work, ultimately gratifying. Both versions of Infundibulum don’t sound remotely like anything else and by putting the creative controls in your hands, you’re able to make unique and personal musical statements.
Let me reiterate though, with SOME work. Sometimes with a LOT of work. It’s not a load it up and play the presets and hit record type of instrument. To get the best out of it, you have to tinker and play with it. ( I won’t mention the ‘fun’ play on words, because Sam did an admirable job of tying that into his whole review of #1. )
As I said, Sam’s review can give you some of the working details you might want to know. But then, maybe the best thing is just to load it up and start playing around. No harm in doing that.
I would though like to address a couple of the ‘cons’ mentioned at the beginning of the review. I put them down as ‘cons’, not because they’re negative, but because for some people they may be a source of frustration.
Con #1: ‘still no latch function’.
Not really a con in the sense that what Infundibulum is forcing you to do, is to move you away from standard sequencing models and see what you can discover. Latch is a great feature if you want a sequence to repeat over and over while you add other chords, notes or rhythms. But Pendle wants you to discover different and new sequences that build and grow organically off of your initial sequence. So a con for some, but a feature many won’t really miss.
Con #2: ‘The provided ‘snapshots’ don’t really describe what you’ll get.’
Well again, how difficult it must be to come up with descriptive titles for the weird stuff that Pendle creates. Besides, the snap shots are not intended as presets. They’re just starting points for your explorations. If you find the titles less than helpful, just play through them to get a feel of what they sound like. Guaranteed you won’t make it much past the first 3 or 4!
Con # 3: ‘Having all your parameters on one page can be hard to read.’
Now this is a real con. While convenient to see everything on one page, that page can get so crowded and stuffed looking that those of us of a certain age, are at a real handicap here. I’m not exaggerating by saying that at some points I had to pull out a magnifying glass to see what was going on! But of course Infundibulum is not the only virtual instrument lacking in this area. So, yeah, a con but one that is industry wide.
Con #4: ‘Needs some time to find and develop something musically useful.’
Again a con only for the ‘punch in the preset and get out’ crowd. And maybe not the product to reach for when you have a deadline in 2 hours.
Con #5: ‘It’s eccentric sound won’t mix easily with more traditional textures.’
This is true! But again, really only a con if you’re looking for something to beef up a traditional chugging string ostinato. It will be hard to match the two seamlessly. But not impossible! Especially if you’re willing to experiment and take some chances. And isn’t innovation all about trying new stuff out?
The final con is again just a feature of today’s virtual instruments. Many, especially the good ones, need some serious processing muscle. Particularly when you start to add up effects, real time processing and heaven forbid, convolution reverb IRs, of which Pendle provides 24 to choose from.
So in conclusion, a wonderful example of sideway thinking that opens up sonorities and textures you may never have imagined. That alone is worth the price of entry to me. Like all great tools, you have to become familiar with how to use it. But once you do, I’m sure you will never look back. My highest compliment for what’s it’s worth? It’s become a stable element of all my recent trailer and underscore tracks. But I daresay, any experimental trance, ambient. lofi, or electronica composer will find this product eminently useful.
It fits squarely in the ‘roll your own’ ethic and will make sure that what you create does NOT sound like everyone else!. So go and have some ‘fun’ dibulum! (sorry Sam couldn’t resist!)
Needs full version of Kontakt 5.8.1 or later
Includes 250 themed ‘snapshots’
It’s a 3.1 GB download from 4 GB compressed files
Please see the developer website for details and a listing of the actual samples
Works best with a recent multi-core computer like an Intel core duo with a minimum of 8GB RAM and a fast external drive
Infundibulum #2 sells for $80 USD from Sound Dust
Contributor MCR reviews Infundibulum #2 by Sound Dust
“If you’re looking for something very different that could open up whole new unimagined vistas of sound, then this product is for you. For what you get, the value is exceptional. No need to worry about legato or different articulations or room sound, this product is all about mangling, stretching and revelling in the noise and effects that extreme sampling can create. With some tweaking obviously, it can be surprisingly lush and cinematic. Gorgeous even! It obviously also lends itself very well to lofi and experimental electronica and trance.”