Review: The Sounds of Eduardo Tarilonte Through The Ages by Best Service

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Today we take you on a journey through ages exploring the sounds of Eduardo Tarilonte’s ERA Series. Probably the most famous ethnic and historical sample library developer, Tarilonte’s work and brings the sound of ancient instruments from beyond the centuries to your fingers.

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Review: The Sounds of Eduardo Tarilonte Through The Ages by Best Service

If you like ancient and ethnic instruments and music, you would have heard the name of Eduardo Tarilonte. His research and sample library creation are mostly focused in that world. He created vocal libraries like the Elvish Shevannai,the African Kwaya and the Gregorian Mystica and Cantus, but also instrumental ones, and today I’ll take you on a historical journey inside his renowned Era Series.

See all the SLR news and video reviews we have posted about these libraries here

The Era Series, released by Best Service, includes 5 libraries covering different ages and places: Ancient Era Persia, Dark Era, Celtic Era, Era II Medieval Legends and Era II Vocal Codex. They run in the free Engine player that you can download from the Best Service website. It works both as a plugin inside your sequencer and Standalone, and you can activate the licenses following the instructions included with your purchase. The Engine player, and therefore the libraries running in it, doesn’t support the NKS protocol at this time.

The Sounds of Eduardo Tarilonte Through The Ages are made up of

Ancient ERA Persia 
Dark ERA
ERA II Medieval Legends
ERA II Vocal Codex
Celtic ERA

Each normally sells for €259.00 (with Vocal Codex at €159.00) from Best Service

Thoughts

Let’s start our journey from the most ancient library, in the middle east forgotten times of Ancient Persia.

In all the libraries of the series, the GUI is amazing, well designed, and easy to use. It shows a background picture that suddenly reminds of the Era the library is about. You can see a big circle in the center showing the name of the selected instrument and on both sides some knobs you can use to trigger parameters like Volume, Attack, Release and  Reverb. The Reverb can be turned off by clicking on the smaller circled button nearby. The sound of the samples without Reverb is generally very dry, which is awesome for those composers who prefer to add a Convolution Reverb to it.

You realize how historically reliable those libraries are when you click on the Info Tab and you can read a description of the selected instrument with an image showing how it looks. This page is very important because it provides important information to help you understand better the nature of those instruments and sometimes offers clues on how you could use them. And the Tune tab lets you set the range of the instrument into a different scale. You can choose between several scales, from Ethnic like the Chinese Pentatonic 5-tone and the Arabic 17-tone Up or Down, to Historical, like the Pythagorean Scale and the Zarlino Temp Scale from 1558. When you choose to tune the selected instrument to any other scale the keyboard will play only the notes from that scale and on that tuning frequency.

Of course, some parameters are available only on specific instruments, for example the legato speed, or the vibrato, or the Drone volume. It’s very interesting to dig deeper into the instruments because you can see how much realism is there not only speaking about the sound itself but also about the choice of the available parameters which allow you to control them like you were actually playing them. Multiple articulations are available, and you can switch between them by using keyswitches. The choice of the playing techniques help you to get an even more realistic performance because you can add many ornaments, trills, sometimes glissandos and portamento.

Ancient Persia, like any other library of the series, doesn’t include instruments only, but also loops and soundscapes. The Soundscapes are particularly intriguing because they allow you to add a factor of interest to your music. They are indeed many and of different nature, mood and sound, based on what the library itself offers. In Ancient Persia you will find soundscapes like “Lost in the Desert”, a very mysterious and creepy one, or “Dune Wind”, which includes 3 different Wind layers, or “Mirage”, a very sparkly soundscape with 5 layers including also bells and a flute pad. As you can see, the choice of names is always made to match the library’s settings and the sound itself follows closely. Each layer has its own volume knob so you can mix them, or turn off the volume of one or more layers and therefore shape your own soundscape with the given sound if you want.

Moving forward through the centuries, we cross to Europe from South to North, into the cold and mystic regions of Scandinavia. Dark Era is inspired by the Nordic and ritual music of the Vikings.

The GUI shows the library’s name at the top, written in a font that recalls the way ancient Nordic runes were written. The background is painted of a kind of blue that reminds of dark and nocturnal ambiences. The more I look at this library and play it, the more I feel like I am in an old forest lightened only by a few torches in the middle of a sacred ritual to the Gods.

The main parameters available are the same you can find in Ancient Persia, and all of them are CC assignable. If you click on the Info tab you can read a few lines explaining what the selected instrument is and see the list of keyswitches. The included instruments are very common to this setting. You can find several percussions of different types, from shamanic drums to the simplest instruments made with bones. Very interesting and quite distinctive are the 3 Viking Mouth Harps. Among the Winds there are quite a few flutes and Horns made of bones, woods or even seashell the ancient people of the North used to call for war or danger.

Of course, we’ve got several soundscapes whose names (Fate of the Gods, Sorcery, Into the Woods, Ragnarok…) remind you of the main concept of the library. Besides the most common soundscapes you will also find loops and rhythmic pads, which give you a very interesting substrate to start developing ethnic music of this style. This library involves also some vocal patches inspired mostly to shamanic chants and rituals, including whispers, shouts, rhythms, and of course different kinds of throat singing which is very peculiar of these settings.

We move now to the Mid/South of Europe, and a few centuries ahead.

Despite this name, Era II Medieval Legends doesn’t include instruments from the Middle Ages only (even though they are the most part) but also from thee Renaissance, Baroque and even a Napoleonic Snare Drum of the XVIII century.
The choice of instruments here is very huge, and the sound pretty realistic and detailed. I’m just not a great fan of the legato on some bowed instruments because it seems like the bow direction changes on each note. In the main page you’ll find the most general parameters, like Volume, Reverb, Pan, Attack and Release, while in the Controls page you can find some instrument-based features, like Vibrato Speed, or Fret Noise Volume, or Drones Volume. Some patches have also a Pitch Humanizer button you can turn on/off to slightly detune the notes and make the performance more human-like. The Info page has the same function as in the other libraries. It’s very nice to notice that the information and the Keyswitches list are wrote on a yellow page with ruined borders to emulate an old paper from that period.

As mentioned above, this library includes a great variety of instruments. Some of them are even later versions of Medieval instruments included in the library as well, like the Medieval Lute and the Renaissance Lute. A lot of various percussion are available: Claps, Bells, 3 Tambourines and different kinds of Drums and Snares, including 2 Execution Snares. The voices are limited to a couple of Tavern Singers patches but there is an entire library, that we could consider as an extension of this one, which is entirely focused on vocals: Era II Vocal Codex.

It includes 2 Male (Bard, Medieval Tenor) and 2 Female (Celtia, Heroica) kind of Vocals as well as some Soundscapes connected to the Medieval and Fantasy worlds. Celtia is a beautiful and heavenly voice, perfect for fantasy, Celtic and dreamy settings, while Heroica is a more powerful voice, particularly suited for epic and emotional songs; Bard is a gentle male voice perfect for ancient and storytelling music while Medieval Tenor is more for sacred chants. All of them are available as playable patches as well as phrases of different natures and rhythms. I am not a huge fan of pre-recorded phrases but some of them are very interesting and if you’ve got a tuning plug-in like, for example, Melodyne, you can use it to shape the melody to match your piece. All these libraries have a patch including some breaths only, so you can add them between notes to get the effect of the singer breathing.

Kind of same period, different country. We are now in the Scotland’s highlands and Ireland with the Celtic Era library.

Inside Celtic Era you will find a good choice of instruments from those regions and times. Very effective are the different kinds of flutes (Irish Flute, Low Whistle in D, Whistle in D) and pipes (Highland Pipes, Uilleann Pipes and a patch of Uilleann Pipes Drones). The info tab shows you information about the selected instrument and the list of keyswitches. The keyswitches themselves are very detailed and lets you add an important touch of realism to the performance. Some strings instruments have rhythmic patches besides the playable one, and a few Soundscapes are available. Like in the other libraries of the series, they are strictly connected to this Era and you can mix the layers as you wish. There are not many instruments in this library, but the choice and sampling attention of sound and details make this one a must have if you like this kind of music. A few parameters are available on the main window, including Attack, Release, Volume, Reverb and Expression. Some instruments have specific parameters to help you make the performance of that instrument even more realistic. For example, the Fiddle has an Accent Volume, a Vibrato, a Vibrato Speed knob, as well as two buttons to activate the D-Drone and/or the A-Drone, meaning that if turned on, respectively the open D string and the open A string will play along with any other note; the flutes have a Fingered Vibrato knob; the two Concertinas have knobs to control the buttons noise’s volume.

In conclusion, I believe these five libraries are a must have for all those composers who want to add an ethnic or ancient touch to their compositions. They cover different ages and places that you cannot easily find in the sampling world and with such a quality. The sounds are in general very realistic and the available parameters and keyswitches give you important features to add a lot of realism to the performances. If you turn the reverb off the samples are very dry, perfect to add a convolution reverb to space them into a room. I honestly couldn’t believe my own eyes when I saw how many Soundscapes there are in these products. Each library showcases its own world, and the soundscapes reflect the feeling of that by mixing instruments of that age with pads or sounds of nature like wind, for instance. You can trigger dynamic layers using velocities: this could be a con for some composers who prefer to use the ModWheel to change dynamics, especially on long notes. Anyways, every parameter is CC assignable so you can try to assign Expression to CC1 instead of CC11 to record a crescendo or diminuendo real-time on long notes. I’m so curious to see what will come out from Eduardo’s mind in the future. I think there could be a lot of new areas and eras to explore. For me personally it would be amazing to see something from the deepest east, or from the ancient Greek and Roman Empire.

Facts

All the libraries run in the Engine player, freely downloadable from the Best Service’s website.
You can use them both Standalone and as plug-in inside your sequencer

Ancient Persia downloads as 18.85 GB, Celtic Era as 11.97 GB, Dark Era as 8.16 GB, Era II Medieval Legends as 13.47 GB, and Era II Vocal Codex as 6.51 GB.

The Sounds of Eduardo Tarilonte Through The Ages is made up of

Ancient ERA Persia 
Dark ERA
ERA II Medieval Legends
ERA II Vocal Codex
Celtic ERA

Each normally sells for €259.00 (with Vocal Codex at €159.00) from Best Service

Demos of The Sounds of Eduardo Tarilonte Through The Ages by Best Service

Videos of The Sounds of Eduardo Tarilonte Through The Ages by Best Service

Contributor Giuseppe Corcella reviews The Sounds of Eduardo Tarilonte Through The Ages by Best Service
“Today we take you on a journey through ages exploring the sounds of Eduardo Tarilonte’s ERA Series. Probably the most famous ethnic and historical sample library developer, Tarilonte’s work and brings the sound of ancient instruments from beyond the centuries to your fingers.”