Viola + twine × reverb = Cloud Viola.
The DNA of a viola, but not a viola anymore
Cloud Viola is a deeply multisampled hybrid Kontakt instrument that takes a humble 17th century classical stringed instrument and lovingly cajoles it into joining the modern world. This isn’t an attempt at any kind of authenticity (there are plenty of other Kontakt libraries out there for that already) Cloud Viola is all about creating new tones and textures which can work in a similar way to the original and go beyond.
Cloud Viola is perfect for adding interesting texture to a “proper” orchestra, using midi controllers and an expression pedal she can be played with organic expressiveness and genuine emotion. But unlike more conventional classical instruments she is completely at home with contemporary electronics and sound design elements.
She can easily go from delicate to feisty, sound like a haunted ballroom, a huge busted orchestra, a hundred rusty mandolins, a swarm of angry bees, a dusty Mellotron.
SYNTHiC4TE | April 27 2015 | 1.39 GB
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The starting point is a viola clamped to a stand, all strings removed except one and tuned with a capo. The exciting thing happens when you ditch the conventional bow and look for something else to stimulate the strings. After much experimentation I discovered that a ball of course green garden string sounded “best”, but stringing a standard bow with garden twine doesnt work, you’d need an impossible 10 metre bow to play a smooth note (I know it’s impossible because I tried to make one !). After more experiments and many cups of coffee a retractable dog lead came to the rescue. It can hold long lengths of string under tension and when fixed to one end of the studio it could be drawn evenly over the viola string. After a week perfecting the art of dogbowing and recording hundreds and hundreds of dogbowed, accented and col legno notes it was all starting to make sense and fortunately sounding pretty good too. The final step was to push each note 100% wet through a bespoke swirly setting on my Strymon Big Sky reverb pedal, and then do the same thing all over again with a different setting for 200% wetness ! The Cloud Viola was born.
1.72GB of 24bit samples (uncompressed).
3 octave keyrange – G2 to A5
5 deeply sampled articulations through 8 “oscillators”.
Accented bow : short bowed note with conventional bow. 5 x round robin per note. 2 mic positions- valve condensor and contact mic.
Col Legno : latin for “gently thwacked with the back of the bow”. 5 x round robin per note. 2 mic positions- valve condensor and contact mic.
Twine : bowed with 5 meters of green garden string. 5 x round robin per note, minimum 20 seconds per sample. 2 mic positions- valve condensor and contact mic. Hard-wired to CC11 for expression pedal or midi controllers.
Dark Cloud : Twine recorded 100% wet reverbed through Strymon Big Sky hardware reverb. Playback through Kontakt grain oscillator.
Pale Cloud : the Dark Cloud recorded 100% wet reverbed through Strymon Big Sky hardware reverb unit, so basically 200% wet !
Effects per oscillator : tremolo, vibrato, saturation, pitch selection, pan, lowpass filter, reverb and delay.
Master output effects : low pass filter, highpass filter, rotor effect, delay, cabinet modelling and EQ.
Velocity to volume amount control.
Aftertouch to pitchbend amount control.
Advanced architecture with automatable midi control of everything on the interface.
74 specially created convolution reverb impulses recorded from real spaces, expensive hardware, and some less obvious sources including a Roland Space Echo, Strymon Big Sky and the stage of Glyndebourne Opera House.
37 themed instrument presets (.nki’s) each with modwheel PTCH morphing for gazilions of variation.
Built in instruction manual in RTFM tab.
FULL version of Kontakt 4 or above needed.
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