Zebra Refrakt II released - The Unfinished
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Zebra Refrakt II released

I often get asked the question: “How do you come up with ideas for your soundsets?”

Well, one answer is “Definitely not like the way I’ve come up with Zebra Refrakt II.”

As some of you will know, I’ve been working through the process of putting the many many unreleased synth sounds I have into coherent soundset collections, for future release. This has been particularly onerous for Zebra2/ZebraHZ where I literally have thousands of patches from abandoned bespoke projects, personal projects, general programming sessions and also (mostly) patches that were made for bespoke projects but neither sent or used.

During the process of dividing them up into established release folders (where I then will need to sort them into which ones will make the final release versions), I found there was a really solid collection of patches growing that didn’t fit into those established soundset folders.

The tone of these patches felt like they had a similarity. They were all contemporary, cinematic patches; they frequently used distortion and compression, and a LOT of them were tempo-synced patches (basslines, sequences, drumloops), plenty of which involved Zebra‘s fabulous multi-stage envelopes.

All of which began to remind me of my Refrakt soundset from 2021. So, I decided to organise them into a sequel; a little further tweaking here and there to ensure the brief was fit. It all felt like it worked out nicely. A happy accident.

There are more ways in which Refrakt II deviates from my normal programming/release process. Firstly, the sounds were all originally designed in ZebraHZ, rather than Zebra2. This means, technically, the Dark Edition is the original version of Refrakt II and the Zebra2 version is where I’ve done the remixing and reworking of patches this time.

This will happen more often in the future, as much of my bespoke work over the last few years has been done in ZebraHZ rather than Zebra2.

Another way it differs is that there is a third version of this soundset: the Dark & Expanded edition. What is the Dark & Expanded edition, you ask? Well…

Because the majority of sounds in Refrakt II are unused patches from bespoke programming jobs, I’ll often have numerous variations of ideas, where I rework a sound many times to try and perfect it (whilst keeping all the versions, just incase, of course).

I thought it would be a fun idea to create and expanded version of Refrakt II with some of my favoruite “alternate” versions of patches. I think this is a useful tool for when you like a patch but, maybe want a couple of different versions of it to use in a score.

Most of the alternate presets are sequenced patches (particularly drumloops), as well as drum hits and sfx sounds – so yes, it’s quite a percussive soundset once you have the Dark & Expanded version!

Hope you dig the sounds and the idea of having the expansion version, as there’s potential for doing that with a number of other Zebra release ideas I have in the locker.

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