Harriet Ford Music’s Reviews
Frozen Glock: My New Secret Weapon
Before watching Dan's video on this sample pack, I was planning to compose a demo for NFO: Orchestral Strings because of how inspiring the string samples sounded. But when I first heard Frozen Glock, I instantly stopped what I was doing and rushed to play with this instrument. I knew this was going to be something else. This sample pack is a melodic instrument, a pad, and a bass all in one. The recording quality is spotless and its reverberant and powerful ambient FX makes a fantastic pad with some LFO and delay. The bass samples also sound great, making it a full register instrument like a piano that has a punchy lower register because of its mallet quality. If you listen to Dan playing this instrument in his walkthrough, you can see how easily accessible and playable this instrument sounds: anyone in favour of jazz motifs and chord progressions should take a peek at what this thing can do. For the GUI: Sondheim famously said that less is more. That's why 2 knobs for Glock and FX is enough and just as powerful as your typical mic shenanigans. I'm proud to call this my new secret weapon. I've been seeking a smooth pad that stands firmly on its own, and I'm happy to have finally found it. Thank you Dan for the amazing instrument!
NFO: Orchestral Swells - The Perfect Orchestral Backdrop
Commercial Orchestral Libraries check under their bed every night for NFO: Orchestral Swells. Over 1GB in size of free orchestral samples, this is a beast to behold and you'll soon find it dominating your intimate scores. The highlight of this sample library is the strings section comprised of violins, violas and celli: a worthy contender to LABS Strings, its power comes from its controllability, something that you'll find reoccurs throughout the library. If you put all three string patches into one Kontakt instance, you've got yourself an ensemble. It also features Expression and Dynamics, courtesy of Spitfire instruments, meaning that anyone used to their products should definitely give this a try. In the brass and woodwind patches, you're able to control how much of each instrument is in the swell, or accent. You don't fancy the flute in your woodwind swells? Just get rid of it. Easy as that. While I tend to find pure orchestral sample libraries to have a basic characteristic, the brass instruments have accented tenuto notes, which is a nice flair to the libraries that most other free orchestras don't have. To summarise, this is something everyone should have a listen to, even if you do own massive amounts of orchestral samples already. The sound quality is commercial quality and will sit perfectly in the backdrop of the most gut-wrenching scenes. As someone who started with barely any money for even £30 libraries, I'm grateful that a library like this exists for people who were in the same position as I was before. Amazing library Dan!
Ideal Bouzouki: An Excellent Gift
This is a beautiful little mini kit that's well deserved to be a part of the Pianobook 2021 advent calendar - this instrument's clear and mix-stabbing resonance is something you'll find yourself revisiting. I like the high-velocity notes with their very aggressive and punchy sound, which is something that'd pierce through intense action-packed cues. I think the true shine of this sample pack is the stunning amount of controls and signals, including dry plucked/fingered articulations with ADSR triggers and an entire patch of pad sounds. This entire packet delivers inspiration, it's a must get.
Pitched Electric Celeste: Warm but Bassy Beauty
A warmer, relaxed voicing with a surprisingly characteristic low-end. If you're looking for spacey bass or arpeggiated goodness then this instrument should be locked in your sights. The sound of the instrument is good and the signal is clear. The sound is short with no kind of noticeable release but comes with a reverb that needs to be tuned to fit your mix or it'll become too muddy. On certain notes, there's sometimes the sound of what I'm presuming is a fingernail hitting a key, which may be irritating to mix or filter out with EQ but perfect for an intimate, up-close performance. I created a demo with the instrument which focuses on arpeggiated rhythms, so because of that, it adds a percussive nature to the sound. With no surprise from Christian's love for low-end bass, the nature of the original Fender Rhodes being pitched down leaves it with strong and concrete bass frequencies - combined with its synth timbre, it's a charming sound with a wavy feel to it, making it grander than your typical sine bass. With the in-house reverb, you may need to compress and EQ the sound to fit your liking and the sounds around it. This instrument is formatted into Decent Sampler, so the UI is very plug-and-play, as well as playing it just like you would a piano. Overall, this short noted synth can bring an other-worldly texture into your palette and your low-end crafting.