Animato String and Flute FX for Cinema from Zero-G is a 4.5GB library consisting of 3,000 24-bit samples and 139 separate KONTAKT instruments, each with its own custom GUI. Recorded over a week in May 2010 at Liverpool's Parr Street Studios, four world class Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra players were heavily multi-tracked to create 16 violins, 8 cellos, 6 flutes and 6 piccolos and to deliver the big ensemble effect.
The library is perfect for creating soundtracks to films, TV programs and games, with a leaning towards eerie and tortured content. However, the library also contains some beautiful pads that are very suitable for contemporary music production. The sonic textures range from chaotic, tense effects to beautiful undulating pads. Distant pianissimo sirens can shift seamlessly to fortissimo ungodly screeches all with the simple move of the modulation wheel.
The KONTAKT Instruments are divided into two top categories, Live and Mutated. The Live Instruments present the sounds as they were recorded - no effects, pitch shifting, time stretching or other audio processing. The Mutated sounds have been bent and tortured every which way possible - time stretched, pitch shifted, effected, reversed, distorted and so on. Being built from real orchestral recordings, they always retain an organic feel even when the result is distinctly synthesized.
The performers were recorded at 3 microphone positions - close, overhead and room. You can access each of these channels from the user interface. The positions each have their own character, and your blend will depend on your needs. The Close versions are great for dry, close-up intimacy. The Overhead versions have a rich, well-balanced clarity, while the Room versions are more wide and cinematic.
- Atonal Atmospheres
Looped, un-pitched instruments with a high degree of Mod Wheel control from delicate softness to screechy power. Generally speaking they have overtones of suspense and horror, and fall into the following sub-categories:
- Eerie Sirens - notes slide slowly around a semitone interval, producing an eerie emotional effect like 'things are going wrong, and something awful is about to happen'
- Swarm - notes are played tremolo (rapid bowing (strings), or flutter tongue (flutes)), while moving rapidly and randomly around a one-octave interval. The effect is one of chaos, as if many bad things are arriving at the same time - perfect to represent insect swarm or zombie attacks
- Sick Swirl - similar to Swarms, but played legato not tremolo, the effect is one of nausea, vertigo and awful realization
- Pizzicato Swarm (strings only) - random pizzicato notes played across a one-octave range, this sounds like a swarm of many bad little creatures
- Needle Swarm (strings only) - random col legno notes (played by tapping the strings with the back of the bow), similar in effect to Pizzicato Swarm, but the creatures are smaller and more scurrying
- Air Needle Swarm (flute and piccolo only) - similar in concept to the string Needle Swarm, the effect is something like an attack of mechanical wooden birds
- Solo Creaks (strings only) - velocity sensitive rather than Mod Wheel controlled and gives you a big set of cello and violin creaks, created by dragging the bow intensely against the strings. They might suggest squealing pigs or (say) a haunted house with an evil no-faced grandma rocking contentedly on her chair just before hurling knitting needles into your eyes. Or creaking old ships and taut ropes about to break
- Pitched Pads
Played on specific notes and spread across the keyboard so they can be used for chords or notes that harmonize with the rest of your score:
- Celestial Tremolo (strings only) - quiet tremolo notes with occasional loud notes, panned around so that the louder notes only hit randomly and sparsely, like the twinkling of stars. A good twinkling effect is with minor 6th or augmented 5th chords in the high registers, with a more tense and dark feel in the lower cello registers
- Trembling Needles (strings only) - similar to Celestial Tremolo but played col legno (tapping the strings with the wooden back of the bow). The atmosphere is light, tense and expectant
- Pizzicato Sea (strings only) - also similar to Celestial Tremolo but played pizzicato. Suits being played with a random cluster of notes to give a sense of dislocation and strangeness
- Undulations - an oasis of beauty; gentle vibrato notes drift in and out, creating elegant natural movement while a chord is held down.
- Shivers (flute and piccolo only) - similar to Celestial Tremolo but on flutes, the mood is suspended and tense.
- Sung Harmonics (flute and piccolo only) - unearthly sound created by the female flautist singing wavering notes that clash against the simultaneously played notes, creating strange harmonic interferences. Great for a feeling of otherworldly oddness
These instruments are velocity sensitive rather than reacting to the Mod Wheel, and generally consist of starting low and ending high:
- Familiar sounds from film scores and movie trailer music
- The flute and piccolo versions also include extra fast rises and falls, perfect for suggestions of flying, wind or birds
- As a usage tip, you can create your own custom rise sounds by playing different notes at the same time - they are designed to all end at exactly the same time. For example, you may wish to trigger all the pp rises together for a large ensemble but soft rise, or sprawl both hands across every note for a 100-player mega-rise
- The Mutated Instruments
Heavily programmed sounds that follow the same overall categories as the Live Instruments - Atonal Atmospheres, Pitched Pads and Rises - but they are no longer bound by the need to be as realistic as possible:
- For example, they extend into bottom bass registers (rather than going no lower than the flute or cello bottom range), and come with a myriad of ear-catching sonic manipulations including filters, distortion, effects, EQ, compression, reversing, time stretching, pitch shifting, envelopes and LFOs
- Nothing was done for the sake of tweaking - every sound has an expressive purpose hinted at in its colorful title
- Atonal Atmospheres bring you extreme, eerie, complex ambiences
- Pitched Pads bring you some of the most outstandingly beautiful and emotional pads you'll ever hear
- Rises bring you all manner of dark and filthy specimens, dragging you in a multitude of corrupt ways from deep in the bowels of hell up to the heights of ear-bleeding agony