Darkscore – patches for NI’s Massive, by The Unfinished

Matt Bowdler has been creating sound presets for the last few years as The Unfinished. We were lucky enough to interview him recently in-between busy gigs for hollywood composers and creating sample libraries, where you can find out more about him and his sound creating techniques. Matt Bowdler is a sound designer, synth programmer and composer based in London.
He’s been creating synth patches for artists and composers for the last few years, and has a lot of experience writing bespoke music. You can read a quick interview we did with him here. Lovely chap.

Darkscore is just one of several preset libraries available on The Unfinished website. The darkscore series are a bundle of 4 libraries of patches created explicitly for Native Instruments’ synth Massive. Each library has at least 128 patches; the latest having 200. The sounds use the scope of synthesizing power at Massive’s disposal to create a melange of basses, pads, leads and percussive loops aimed at the darker cinematic atmospheres used in television, film, and video game soundtracks. Hence the title – DARKSCORE.

The first set, darkscore 1 is completely free, to whet the appetite. The other sets run from £14.99 to £19.99 for the latest. There are options to buy the complete bundle, if you’re looking to bulk up your Massive library.

First off, creating patches in this style using the Massive synth is a bit of a niche. I couldn’t find any other designers creating cinematic style patches. Massive has a rep as a proper electro-genre focused synth – creating dirty digital basses and leads that will rip up the dance floor with your dubgrimeelectrostep track. Bowdler has created sets of patches that are much different from that style of sound – spacious, subtle, pads and bass pads that put all the elements of Massive to good use. There is of course a lot of menace within the sounds – tension created with pulsing rhythms and dark filtering. The natural tendencies of Massive can’t help but be present.

There are a few keys and lead sounds knocking around, but the patches are weighted towards soundscape, pad, and bass. Unashamedly intended as foundation sounds to build a tense score off – these fit that bill excellently. Many of the sounds have a pulsing or rhythmic element to them, mostly in 4/4, but some in 5/4 – a good time sig used for building tension, and action moments in score.

The patches all take advantage of the macro controls available within Massive – there are 8 knobs that you can assign to any parameters of the synth. This enables some pretty instant control of the sounds, enabling subtle timbre shifts or addition of mad overdrive and distortion. Most of the patches have cutoff and resonance as the first two, then the others tend to reflect the strengths of the particular patch, and could be delay, reverb, envelope shaping, FM mod; any number of different effectors. All of these can be automated in DAW’s, making it very enticing for composers with need of a large bank of sounds to build off.

I think that the vast majority of the sounds would be really useful as underscore and beds. I can hear them in NCIS or tv shows underneath the taiko drums and ostinato strings. Within that general soundscape, there is an absolute ton of variation, from subtle pulsing, to aggressive cutting rhythms that would really drive a track.

between £15 and £20 per pack, or a Massive patch bundle price of £49

…very enticing for composers with need of a large bank of sounds to build off…

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