Reaktor 6 Primary “Krell Music” Generator (Sci-Fi Ambient Music)

Using Reaktor 6 Primary to create some generative Sci Fi music inspired by Todd Barton’s “Krell Music” patch on the Buchla Synthesizer.

As I mentioned last week, in my regular journeys across the internet, I came across the concept of a “Krell Music” patch–a self-generating patch created by Todd Barton, inspired by Bebe and Louis Barron‘s soundtrack to the 1956 film “Forbidden Planet.” The Barrons’ soundtrack to the film is amazing, and a bit beyond what I can get into here (see links below). Barton’s Buchla patch tries to capture some of the dynamic timbres of that score.

My oversimplification of the idea is this: a note has an amplitude envelope–attack and release–and when that amplitude envelope ends it triggers the next envelope. At the same time, that trigger selects a new (likely different) attack and decay time, as well as a new pitch and timbre for the next note. So we create a continuous series of musical tones, each distinct from the one before it. So let’s make that in Reaktor 6 Primary.

Making a Wavefolder in Reaktor 6 Primary

In this week’s video, we make a wavefolder in Reaktor, slowly adding features, and testing out some different types of waveforms.

It’s not terribly effective to filter sine waves, since they only consist of a single frequency, but, using a wavefolder, we can add harmonics, and create a rich, customizable sound.

Wavefolding is distortion of a waveform where, when the input amplitude exceeds a threshold, it becomes inverted. This adds harmonics to the sound (specifically odd harmonics), and, by controlling the amount of fold, we can modulate these in real time.

Reaktor 6 Primary Tutorials

I’ve put together a series of beginner tutorials for getting started designing your own synths in Reaktor 6 Primary.

Over the course of this series, we put together a synth with selectable oscillators, filters, and multiple options for modulation. This can serve as a good hands-on introduction to synthesis in Reaktor or any other synthesis environment.