Composition and invention are two tasks that always blur – there’s some engineering to making music, and that extends to sound design.

But let’s get real: when you come across someone like Antonio Blanca, you reach a whole other level.

Blanca does exquisite work in Reaktor ensembles and carefully-crafted Lemur templates to match. And DRON-E is a masterpiece, a Reaktor ensemble capable of generating entire universes of ambient sound. Eerie drones will transport you to feeling like you’re crawling about a distant asteroid or entered a convent that has retreated to an alien mineshaft. (I wasn’t the only person who felt that way – Killzone Shadow Fall sound designer Lewis James made heavy use of this on the PS4 game, among other composers.) It can be darkly gorgeous, or unsettlingly rich with sound. You know … Christmas-y stuff.

So here’s quite a Christmas present: you get DRON-E for free once you sign up at Twisted Tools. It’s almost worth buying Reaktor just to get this for free. If you happen already to have DRON-E, you can pick up other wonderful Twisted Tools work at a discount.

DRON-E is an OSC and MIDI-controllable, modern, rich sound world of its own.

Just expect to feel some pangs of envy at the Reaktor-patching genius here, and perhaps a little shadow of guilt switching it on. It’s that good.

I’m not trying to gush. But I am trying to think of the last time a set of Reaktor snapshots sounded like it could get an album release. It was all I could do to actually write this story and not just get lost in a dreamland drifting away to the sound samples:

When you are ready to come back to Earth (aw, do I have to?), there’s a handy video tutorial to get you started with using the free ensemble you’ve just grabbed, courtesy Brent Kallmer. (An older version of the ensemble, but still worth ten minutes.)

Full description of the ensemble:

Dron-e is a Reaktor Instrument specialised in creating ambient, generative, abstract and cinematic soundscapes and drones. Dron-e contains flexible parameters and controls for creating everything from delicate atmospheres to complex walls of sound. Included is a custom created sound bank of acoustic and synthetic instrument and field recordings designed specially for Dron-e , but you can load your own and venture into unknown sonic territories. In addition to the pre-established modulators and controls. it’s possible to use your own modulators built in Reaktor such as sequencers or break-point envelopes using the EXT option,as well as MIDI/OSC signals to further shape your sounds.

And Antonio has joined Twisted Tools. Good stuff. Go enjoy this and more:

DRON-E Free @ Twisted Tools Shop

This and the fact the old Fallout games are free and I think we should find a bunker to alternate gaming and sound design for the rest of the winter.