AURAS is a virtual instrument that was created by Will Slater and Simon Ashdown, composers and musical sound designers based in Bristol, UK.

Their focus on creating experimental sounds and textures from acoustic and electronic sources has lead to them working with some of the most interesting voices in modern film scoring, including Jóhann Jóhannsson (Arrival), Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury (Annihilation, Black Mirror, Ex Machina), and Daniel Pemberton (One Strange Rock, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse).

AURAS is a sample instrument for use with NI Kontakt (requires full version of Kontakt) that explores the realm of musical sounds that are formless or undefinable in nature, encouraging exploration of texture and movement through performance.

Shape and control these sonic sculptures using MIDI keyboards and controllers, or use MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) technology such as the ROLI Seaboard or Haken Continuum, to mould the sound per note whilst playing. 

As well as exploring the curated sound world of the AURAS patches, create your own sonic landscape using the COLOURS environment. Simple assignment of sound shaping parameters to any MIDI sliders, knobs or controllers makes designing completely unique performable textures easy and quick. 

The best way to discover what this virtual instrument is able to do is to listen to what a number of artists have done by working with. And so, Slate and Ash invites you to listen to AURAS Ep. The album contains a compilation of tracks created by a variety of contemporary artists and producers including Jamie Teasdale/Kuedo, Michael Price , Yair Elazar Glotman/Ketev, Sam Slater, and VEILS, using the AURAS library as an inspiration point and combining it with electronic and live instrumentation.


The sound world of AURAS focuses primarily on abstract and impressionistic textures and rhythms. It is influenced by the styles of composers and artists who blur the boundaries between sound design, orchestration and music. John Luther Adams, Ben Frost, Ingram Marshall, Tim Hecker, Ian William Craig, Machinedrum and William Basinski were all reference points for a library that explores the manipulation of sound as if it were an energetic field or aura of sonic textures that constantly shift in shape and colour.

The ROLI Seaboard enables you to play with this concept due to its intuitive and expressive performance capabilities. Unlike the way a regular sample library gives a strictly defined and static snapshot of a sound, AURAS allows you to play with the shapes and forms of each sound in a dynamic and unique way.

A wide variety of sounds were recorded as material for the sound design, with an emphasis on capturing performance and movement rather than a vast array of multi-sampled notes. Strings, synths, winds, field recordings, percussion and more were used as source material that was processed using a number of techniques and effects to create a sonic landscape that ranges from soft and fragile to complete chaos.

If you feel interested in discovering this virtual instrument, I invite you to follow this link to discover a number of demos here

Ep’s full streaming below :

Graphic Design: Joe Gilmore (Qubik)
Image: Tjitske Oosterholt