Ancient ERA – Persia by Best Service
Ediardo Tarilonte strikes again. ERA Persia offers a wealth of sounds from the ancient past, not to mention soundscapes that are simply out of this universe.
by Alex Arksov, July 2017
Another one from Tarilonte. Eduardo is one of a kind. His libraries are not the most standard ones, they don’t come with an ordinary set of articulations that can be seen in most other libraries. His instruments are not always the most playable in a classical way, as not all notes are tamed in an absolute way, preferring an authentic performance, the raw notes as played by an expert. Therefore it happens that sometimes we should adapt our playing style to the instrument and not vice versa. But still I don’t know any person among those that use his libraries that is not a big fan of his products. I like the instruments from the entire ERA collection, as they always sound rather personal and somehow soulful, with a great measure of character. If nothing else, we should admit that Tarilonte always finds some interesting niche to cover, bringing some unusual instruments from some exotic cultures or even from another period of our history that is almost impossible to find anywhere else. He also has a nose for finding the perfect musician for recording sessions, sampling the instrument in all its detail and with all the characteristics of that particular player.
With ERA Persia we get a good number of exotic sounding multi-sampled instruments that come with a set of quite unique articulations ranked through key-switches on the lower part of keyboard, along with instrumental phrases and percussive loops for those instruments presented in this library, allowing us to combine prerecorded phrases with the ones that we create with our keyboard. And as a regular bonus, there is also a load of unique soundscapes – atmospheres, drones and pads.
In detail, we get Kopuz, Santur, Dutar, Balam Big, Oud, Baglama Small, Tambur, Tar and Rabab in the Plucked Strings drop down menu directory inside the Best Service Engine.
Then we get Lyra 1 and 2 along with Turkish Violin inside the Bowed String directory.
Zurna, Duduk, Persian and Turkish Ney with Turkish Mey Low and High and Turkish Clarinet come together inside the Wind directory.
The last instrument group is the Percussion directory where we can find Daf, Darbuka, Davul, Dayre, Bendhir, Riq, Riq Plastic and Tombak.
Of course I didn’t know all of these instruments, but when you’ll hear them, you will recognize that “1001 Nights as told by Scheherzade” sort of sound.
After instruments we get the Loop section with Bendhir, Daf, Darbuka, Davul, Dayre, Rig and Tombak loops. They are all sorted into small groups labeled with tempo and time signature. All loops have that authentic world flavor bringing that floating, driving sort of dense and intense rhythm.
Instrumental phrases sound great and inspiring but I would be grateful for some addition tempo and scale information. The majority of the phrases contain material that would be quite impossible to recreate with MIDI. All those ornamental notes, various overtones, exotic bands and vibratos, not to mention that all the phrases sounds really soulful, being played by real virtuosoes in scales that we are not so familiar with.
No matter that we can’t find any scale tempo information, there is nothing that can’t be done with a modern DAW as they all have some sort of pitch manipulation tools and sound stretching algorithms. So changing the pitch of some notes or synchronizing a phrase with our arrangement is not a such big deal. So I’m quite impressed with quantity and quality of the phrases. Actually, the whole library brings quite an impressive number of instruments, loops, phrases and soundscapes.
Talking about soundscapes. No matter how good all the material, those soundscapes sounds so cool and unique that you start asking yourself if the instruments, phrases and loops come as a bonus and not other way around.
All instruments come with an additional “Info” window where we get some information about a particular instrument, about its origin, characteristics, how it is played and similar stuff. Strings and Winds instruments also contain a “Tune” window where we can apply micro-tuning, or even setting some of those exotic scales that can be heard in the phrases section. There are a number of Turkish, Arabic, Chinese, Historic and even Indian scales, among others. I would like to see some more detailed info about these scales, but nevertheless, there are quite an impressive number of them. I tried some of them and was surprised how authentic the results can be. For instance, I randomly banged out some notes using 5-tone Chinese pentatonic scale and got that recognizable China sound. Not bad at all.
All phrases, loops, instruments and soundscapes share the same set of basic controllers: Volume, Pan, Attack, Release, Reverb and Expression. Along with those, all instruments bring some additional controller knobs, allowing us to fine tune some additional details, adapting the sound to our needs. In Soundscapes we get a number of volume knobs for setting the level for the different sound sources that are part of a soundscape. To tell the truth, I use those only if I find some elements that doesn’t fit right in my arrangement, otherwise the soundscapes are perfect just as they are.
Not an instrument, nor a section, but we should mention Tarilonte’s key-switches as they are not just an ordinary set of key-switches that could be found in other sound libraries. Here we can find key-switches for string bands, or even double bands, double notes, short thrills or some breathy notes, actually anything that makes this instrument unique and special. With some effort it is not so hard to get really unique results with most of these instruments, but it is always recommended to spend some time finding the right scale to best fit that instrument along with studying the melody structure that is specific for that instrument. A great resource for this is the included phrases and loops.
As always, Eduardo Tarilonte made a library that will be automatically ordered by people who already have some of his libraries. It is not a standard sound library with a wide collection of all possible articulations for one or two instruments but a collection of many different instruments and tools that will help you to tell a story in the times of ancient Persia. ERA Persia is the best tool for that purpose, as Eduardo is a great storyteller. If you are in media music production then you are reading this article just to prove to yourself that you did the right thing by buying this library in advance. If this is not the case, then it is maybe a good time to check at least some audio and video demo clips that you can find on the Best Service Era Persia webpage.
Ancient ERA – Persia is a great collection of loops, phrases, instruments and soundscapes covering one very specific era and place. A perfect tool for all games, media and movie composers.