When Things Go Away
I don’t like change much. And, I especially don’t like changes that deprive me (and others) of creative tools and options.
Twenty-two years ago, when I was first seriously starting to use software synthesizers, my creative partner and I were doing a lot of work with products from Native Instruments (specifically Reaktor, B4, and Traktor). Around the same time, NI entered into an agreement with Rhizomatic Software to bring an incredibly unique instrument called Absynth to a broader market.
Yesterday, after 22 years, Absynth was removed from NI’s product line with the introduction of Komplete 14. Some in the music community have said that it’s about time — that Absynth is “dated.” And, while I suppose that the GUI looks …. gooey …. and is at the same time a bit intimidating, there’s no denying that Absynth still sounds awesome and that it’s semi-modular design and multiple “oscillator” models still have great sonic potential. Some will argue that it sounds too much like Vital or Falcon or any of a dozen other soft-synths that make sweepy, swirly, granulated, moving pads and leads, or warped and twisted versions of pianos and organs and flutes. To those people, I say, “You’re wrong! Your shiny new wonder-synth sounds a lot like Absynth has for years!”
I will admit to being a little sad, and a perhaps little angry I suppose, not just because Absynth was being dropped altogether, but also because I’d just shelled out for an older version of the rest of NI’s software. On the other hand, I can consider myself lucky. Komplete 13 still includes Absynth as part of the bundle.
So, after too long of an absence, Absynth is back in my toolkit. And, it still sounds just as great as it always did. As of this writing, Sweetwater does still have Komplete 13 in stock, but quantities are very limited. (link: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=komplete).
As for the discontinuance of Absynth, it’s creator Brian Clevinger offered his statement on the matter:
Twenty-two years is a really long run for a software instrument, and while it disappointing that the version I now have will be the last, it seems to run just fine on both Windows 10 and Windows 11. Meanwhile, neither Native Instruments, nor Clevinger are sitting idle. Komplete 14 is available for pre-order, and contains a few interesting looking new additions and updates, and Rhizomatic has released Plasmonic, which looks and sounds amazing. Both companies are forging ahead, still breaking ground in virtual instrument development. I am excited to see — and hear — what will be new under the sun!