Review: Stringache: Twisted String Gestures by Silence + Other Sounds

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Brutal, tragic, chilling and tense, Stringache is one of the few libraries to focus on stabs, scrapes, screeches, pizzicatos, staccatos, crescendos and bow noise. There are low growls, high screams, quick squeaks and dark stutters – All of it perfectly suited to leave you feeling delightfully unsettled and disturbed.

Jump to the Videos of Stringache: Twisted String Gestures by Silence +Other Sounds

Jump to the Demos of Stringache: Twisted String Gestures by Silence +Other Sounds

 

Review: Stringache: Twisted String Gestures by Silence + Other Sounds

Silence and Other Sounds began as a personal musical outlet for founder, composer and sound designer Giuseppe Caiazzo. It has evolved to become a boutique sound design company, offering finely crafted, high quality, modern sound design assets and tools. Mr. Caiazzo’s first public offering, “Relict,” is an impressive collection of dark, spine-chilling sounds, trailer-worthy impacts and scene-setting atmospheres which (as of this writing, is still FREE and highly recommended!) This was followed by “Transfer,” an equally impressive futuristic sample library. “Stringache” followed shortly after.

Stringache: Twisted String Gestures sells for $59.00 from Silence +Other Sounds

Thoughts

If your work leads you to be even remotely involved in the genres of horror, suspense, action, true crime or reality, you would be hard-pressed to find a better value than Stringache for developing tension-filled accents, jump-scares, sound effects, and compositions. But before I get too deep into why I believe this, first let me describe what this library is not.

Stringache is not a collection of sustained, playable notes, legato transitions or melodic musical passages. This is pure string mangling mayhem, performed on double bass, cello, viola and violin. The result is nothing less than horrific. Exactly what it should be!

With virtually hundreds of libraries available offering various string-oriented samples, Stringache stands apart as being one of the few libraries to focus on stabs, scrapes, screeches, pizzicatos, staccatos, crescendos and bow noise. It is brutal, tragic, chilling and tense. There are low growls, high screams, quick squeaks and dark stutters – All of it perfectly suited to leave you feeling delightfully unsettled and disturbed.

As someone who works in horror on a daily basis, Silence and Other Sounds first grabbed my attention with the release of “Relict”– as possibly the best freebie library I’ve ever encountered. Then “Transfer” was released and while aimed more at modern trailer score and sci-fi realms, it sealed the deal for me and my constant search for high-quality sound libraries.

When “Stringache” was released, I purchased it without previewing it the very moment the announcement came through my inbox. I didn’t need to preview the library to know that I would be able to utilize the sounds in my productions. Over time, I find myself continually inspired by this library with new uses for both the processed sounds and unprocessed source recordings included in the set.

In a general sense, the presets simply play the sounds. Tempo-synching is not applied. The Clock presets are the only place where some people may be mildly disappointed.

Tempo synching was not applied to the clocks due to alterations to the sounds which the developer felt were unattractive. At first, I was disappointed by this choice, but I have to respect the fact that sound quality is always the prime objective at S+OS. Besides, building up tempo specific clocks is easy enough using the source or processed recordings.

To realize this library’s full potential, you need to be open to adventure. Experimentation with the included effect controls will help you extract the most from this library. The sounds are organized into six folders. While the folder labels indicate something about what you can expect, it is worthwhile to explore and listen to the subtleties and nuanced feel for each sound. For building “clocks” for instance, you can find many useful combinations of various strokes and plucks. As with each of Silence and Other Sound’s other offerings thus far, the 24bit / 96k .wav files are directly accessible for fast access for those who simply want to drag and drop the .wav files into their projects. When used as sound effects, this is my preferred method.

However, Kontakt users will find 14 separate “.nki” instruments offering a convenient Kontakt user interface, where, sounds can be pitched, mangled and manipulated through the Kontakt interface. This includes access to the source recordings, in addition to the processed sounds.

Looking at the interface, you can see a number of clues as to what’s possible, however, I strongly recommend watching the video tutorial (below) so you can fully understand the layout and controls available to you when using Kontakt. If I had to nit-pick about anything with this library, it would be with the GUI. I personally found the interface to be less than intuitive and given the amount of “screen” available in Kontakt some of the subtleties may not be apparent to those with visual impediments. Thankfully, the tutorial video clarifies all the control functions.

Starting with the Kontakt keyboard display, you’ll see 3 groups illustrated by color. Grey (or Black, depending on your monitor settings) is Group One. Blue is Group 2 and Violet (Pink) is Group 3. Now, moving to the top left of the interface you will see 3 dials. These control pitch for each group and while it may be difficult to discern, are color-coded to follow the same Grey, Blue, Violet order.
The waveform for each sound is displayed in the center screen and again, the color-coding indicates which group the sound belongs to. On the righthand side of the waveform display is a set of volume controls for each group, also color-coded and following the same group order.

Looking at the center of the screen, there are three rectangular buttons labeled Layer 1, Layer 2 and Layer 3. These correspond to the controls for the groups I mentioned previously. Here, “Group = Layer.” Layer 1 is Grey and corresponds to controls for Group 1. Layer 2 is Blue and thus, clicking these buttons toggles controls to group 2 and so on.

The controls I’m referring to are Parametric EQ, Volume Envelope, Low Pass Filter (LPF), High Pass Filter (HPF) and Resonance (which effects both LPF & HPF.) Below the filter controls are knobs for Drive, Damp and Saturation if you want to add more distortion to the sound. Finally, Reverb and Delay are master effects which will modify any of the sounds, regardless of which group or layer is selected.

This is a complimentary library, meaning it is not duplicative but rather, additive to the many dark, horror-oriented, string and orchestral offerings.

When attempting to assess Stringache, comparing it to other libraries isn’t the correct approach. This is a complimentary library, meaning it is not duplicative but rather, additive to the many dark, horror-oriented, string and orchestral offerings. Stringache is indeed unique and offers a very specific kind of double bass, cello, viola and violin sounds, which can be useful whether you are a composer, sound designer or producer looking for chilling sound effects. With the inclusion of the source recordings and Kontakt instrument presets, it easily straddles the line between classic horror and modern cinematic sound nicely, And, with a retail price of just $59.00, it is, in my opinion, an excellent value.

I would be remiss not to mention that purchasing Stringache (or any other library) from Silence and Other Sounds, automatically adds you to their “Free Sounds” mailing list, where small but extremely high-quality libraries magically appear in your inbox on occasion, as a token of appreciation for being a customer. This, plus the fact that Relic is still available (as of this writing) as a free download will make an investment with S+OS, one of the best things you’ll do all day.

Facts

Stringache includes a total of 570 individual royalty-free sounds recorded at 96k, 24bit and delivered as unlocked .wav files. The entire product will take 1.8GB of hard drive space on your computer. Kontakt is not required to utilize the files, however, to take full advantage of the 14 included Kontakt instruments, you must have the full retail version of Kontakt 5.8.1 or higher.

Stringache: Twisted String Gestures sells for $59.00 from Silence +Other Sounds

 

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Demos of Stringache by Silence + Other Sounds

Videos of Stringache by Silence + Other Sounds

Contributor Steve Blizin reviews Stringache: Twisted String Gestures by Silence +Other Sounds
“Brutal, tragic, chilling and tense, Stringache is one of the few libraries to focus on stabs, scrapes, screeches, pizzicatos, staccatos, crescendos and bow noise. There are low growls, high screams, quick squeaks and dark stutters – All of it perfectly suited to leave you feeling delightfully unsettled and disturbed.”