VIOLIN TEXTURES BY EMERGENCE AUDIO
As a review writer, I can often find myself guilty of focusing on releases from the major players within the industry, without perhaps giving enough due credence to those emerging talents who come up with innovative ideas and are brave enough to venture forth with some fresh perspectives.
With this confession on the table, I was pleased to see the aptly named Emergence Audio releasing their latest library Violin Textures, which further builds on the success of last years Quantum.
I looked at Quantum at the time of release, and despite being very impressed with it’s sound potential, felt that the NKS mapping in terms of accessibility for us blind users was not quite ready for prime time, however following some further communication, Violin Textures NKS mapping has addressed some of this shortfall, enough at least to make it a viable consideration, and I’m told that this new improved template will also find it’s way into a future Quantum update as a matter of course.
At the heart of all current Emergence Audio products is the infinite Emotion Engine, which also incorporates what they call the NON-STATIC sampling process.
This clever piece of coding ensures that played notes and chords will continually evolve, sometimes subtly, sometimes aggressively, but never repetitively over a period of time.
The sample sources that have been put through the Infinite Motion Engine can be very diverse, previous excursions have seen a Steel Tongue drum and even a humble Bird Whistle going through the sonic mill with impressive results, this has been reflected in
full version Kontakt libraries of the same name, which may even see a Kontakt player NKS edition released at some point.
With Violin Textures, as the name suggests, the resulting output is a sonic palette of lush textural and organic washes, a of varied articulations that can ebb, flow, pulse, evolve and generally shimmer their way around the stereo sound stage.
Beautiful, dark, ambient, Ethereal, tranquil, mesmerizing, scary, creepy and hypnotic are just some of the many descriptors that can be applied to the multiple sound personalities that Violin Textures within the Infinite Motion Engine is capable of generating.
If you are scoring for picture or creating ambient soundscapes, this is certainly a product you will want to consider, with warm timbres that lend themselves perfectly to such works.
Violin Textures runs in Kontakt or the free Kontakt Player 6.6 or later, and is Komplete Kontrol NKS ready, occupying a fairly conservative 1.91 GB after installation.
Violin Textures like all Emergence Audio products uses NKI files for it’s source of presets, there is 1 master initial NKI, with a further 88 NKI’s spread over four categories.
Download & Installation
This could not be much easier, just paste your after sales authorisation code into Native Access to register your library, then head to the ‘not installed’ tab and hit ‘install’.
Launching Komplete Kontrol in either standalone or the plugin will then scan Violin Textures into your Komplete Kontrol database, and you are then all set to embark upon your voyage of discovery!
Komplete Kontrol Browser & Plug-in Edit NKS Parameters
Knob 1 & 2 – Vendor & Product
Knob 3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Type: Bowed Strings
Knob 6 – Violin
Knob 7 – Character: Additive, Airy, Analog, Bright, clean, Dark, Deep, Digital, Dirty, Distorted, Electric, Evolving, Filtered, Granular, Lead, Lo-Fi, Long Release, Metallic, Percussive, Processed, Tempo Synced,
Knob 8 – Presets x 88
Plug-in Edit NKS Parameter Mapping
Page One – LFO/Master/Main FX
Knob 1 – LFO Cross fade Expressed as a percentage
Knob 2 – LFO Speed Expressed as Hz or beat values (dependent upon loaded preset)
Knob 3 – LFO Intensity expressed as a percentage
Knob 4 – Master Volume
Knob 5 – Main FX Reverb
Knob 6 – Delay
Knob 7 – Distortion
Knob 8 – Stereo Width
Page Two – Layer 1 & Layer 2 Envelope
Knob 1 – Layer 1 Attack
Knob 2 – Layer 1 Decay
Knob 3 – Layer 1 Sustain
Knob 4 – Layer 1 Release
Knob 5 – Layer 2 Attack
Knob 6 – Layer 2 Decay
Knob 7 – Layer 2 Sustain
Knob 8 – Layer 2 Release
Page Three – Layer 1/Layer 2
Knob 1 – Layer 1 Volume
Knob 2 – Layer 1 Pan
Knob 3 – Layer 1 Tune
Knob 4 – Layer 1 Unallocated
Knob 5 – Layer 2 Volume
Knob 6 – Layer 2 Pan
Knob 7 – Layer 2 Tune
Knob 8 – Unallocated
Page Four – Layer 1 Filter/Layer 2 Filter
Knob 1 – Layer 1 LP Cut-off
Knob 2 – Layer 1 LP Resonance
Knob 3 – Layer 1 HP Cut-off
Knob 4 – Layer 1 HP Resonance
Knob 5 – Layer 2 LP Cut-off
Knob 6 – Layer 2 LP Resonance
Knob 7 – Layer 2 HP Cut-off
Knob 8 – HP Resonance
Page Five – Secondary FX/Tape FX
Knob 1 – Saturation
Knob 2 – Chorus
Knob 3 – Rotator
Knob 4 – Phaser
Knob 5 – Tape FX, Tape Warmth
Knob 6 – Tape FX, Tape Gain
Knob 7 – Tape FX, Tape Roll-off
Page Six – Lo-Fi FX
Knob 1 – Bits
Knob 2 – Sample Rate
Knob 3 – Noise
Knob 4 – Color
Knob 5 to 8 – Not Allocated
The important parameters that are needed for a library of this nature are present. Both master volume controls as well as per layer (of which there are two), ADSR (again per layer), Pan, Filters and global LFO.
There are also FX assignments, however these do not offer significant control other than level percentages, so I would perhaps suggest either adjusting what is available to taste, or alternatively turning them off entirely in favour of your own Komplete Kontrol FX instantiated via slots 2 and onwards through your keyboard hardware controls.
We are unfortunately unable to accessibly select our own choice of sample sources which make up the two sound layers via the NKS controls, which is often in common with many developers due to what in part may be a technical issue, as well as original GUI design.
The good news is that Emergence Audio do already include a respectable number of well crafted and varied preset examples, and as mentioned these are provided in Kontakt NKI format rather than the more usual NKSN snapshots.
When cross referencing the available NKS presets with those available for host automation when loaded directly within Kontakt, there were a few more controls, such as the option to change the LFO between tempo synced beats and free running Hz. Although the layer samples are still not accessible through a DAW parameter list, so in this respect there is no real advantage to loading presets directly into Kontakt, unless you particularly need to alter the parameters not carried over to the Komplete Kontrol environment, and undoubtedly this is where having NKI rather than snapshots will make things easier for us blind & visually impaired users.
Violin Textures Presets
The library presets are divided into four specific types which each have their own distinctive characteristics.
it would have been quite useful if these preset types had been tagged under the banks section of the Komplete Kontrol browser for ease of discovery, as currently the tagging is fairly minimal with descriptions being mostly limited to the character category, meaning you will need to click through the entire preset list to locate specific patch types.
As the name suggests, these 49 presets will evolve and change indefinitely as long as a note or chord is held. Being pads the morphing is generally slow in progression, and the modwheel can be used to switch emphasis between the two layers. These will certainly work well with the creation of slow burning ambient soundscapes.
This selection of 12 presets appear to have the same samples loaded into each layer, however they seem to work independently to one another to a greater or lesser degree, almost like audio ripples & reflections of themselves.
You can detune each layer separately and produce some interesting results, which is great for some avant garde style experimentation, or perhaps something a little more dystopian in nature.
These 15 presets make significant use of the LFO’s which in this scenario do have the NKS presets tempo synced to your DAW clock, where you can select between a variety of rates including triplets up to 32nd note values.
The presets have some nice pulsing and swells going on. They can add motion to an otherwise static composition, and will work well in tandem with the infinite pads when a more rhythmic element is called for, a good example of which being the animated ‘Clock of Nuance’ preset.
The 12 Dimensions patches are single layer presets which also appear elsewhere to supply the sample sources for the mainstream dual layer content.
As such the NKS mapping is reduced to reflect this with Envelope, Filter and FX controls only over two pages which realistically is all that is required.
These can be quite handy if there is a certain articulation element that you want to introduce on a separate track alongside a dual layer preset which may not already include that particular sound flavour, although as a secondary individual instance it would not interact with the first instance in the same way as a dual layer patch would do.
Kontakt NKM Multi Patches
Although these 12 multi patches which come in the Kontakt NKM file format cannot be loaded directly within Komplete Kontrol for use with NKS, they are nevertheless certainly worth a look if you use Kontakt on it’s own.
They consist of various single Violin Texture presets combined together which can deliver a rich multi layer experience.
I would highly recommend checking out the Emergence Audio YouTube playlist for more in depth explanations of how the Infinite Motion Engine and it’s sub sections work, I have linked the Violin Textures specific walkthrough at the review footer for your convenience.
Taming The Textures
Violin Textures is not really designed to be a product that is intended to fit in alongside your conventional orchestral instrument sections.
Strict disciplinarian conductors would probably have fired this unruly Violin section for it’s unorthodox playing techniques.
No criticism is intended by this of course, the concept behind Violin Textures is to offer the modern composer an unusual palette of rich layers of Violin string articulations that will float gracefully through your compositions upon a virtual ocean of bowed bliss.
To be clear, there are no direct options for us to load or keyswitch between different playable articulation techniques in the usual way that some may be more used to.
Instead we get to hear, play and interact with tense tremolos, intermittent bow scrapes, long lush sustains and other Violin timbres which collaboratively, harmonically (or otherwise) waft around our audio soundstage.
It’s very evident that Emergence Audio have constantly been working hard to tweak and further refine their unique Kontakt based Engine.
Not least for us blind creative’s the user experience is now much improved, although a completely accessible ground up sound design NKS solution remains somewhat elusive, and this is by no means due to lack of efforts on the part of Emergence Audio.
There is potentially no end to the sound sources that could be used within the Infinite Motion Engine to create some very interesting and conceptual sample libraries both now and in the future, and these are sure to appeal to both the sound experimentalist as well as the mainstream media composer alike.
Violin Textures can be purchased directly from the Emergence Audio website at the introductory price of $59.00
Violin Textures Product Page:
Violin Textures In Depth Walkthrough:
Emergence Audio Channel:
(c) Chris Ankin
February 12th, 2022
The author can not accept any responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of this review,or Any inaccuracies found therein. All opinions and product functions stated are based solely on information perceived as a blind user whilst using the product and/or gathered from official factual sources such as the developer, web or supplied product manual.
About the Author
Based in Buckinghamshire, England, Chris Ankin has worked previously as a freelance review author and contributor with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.
He has also worked extensively in, and been associated with music, recording, film Soundtrack, Game & media, the creative arts, publishing and investments since 1982 under his own name and various other pseudonyms.