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New Sample Library - Koto, bass koto, shamisen - "Koto Nation"!


zircon
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Reposted from KVR/Vi-Control, this is the latest sample library from Impact Soundworks, a collaboration between myself and fellow composer/remixer Will Roget, II (aka bustatunez!)

After 13+ months of development, we're proud to announce the release of Koto Nation: Classical Instruments of Japan, the deepest koto, bass koto and shamisen sample library ever! After officially launching Impact Soundworks in 2008 with Sitar Nation, a North Indian sample library, we received lots of positive feedback. Prior to that library, nobody had so thoroughly sampled Indian instruments with the same depth as Western instruments, with a wide range of articulations AND enough velocities/round robins to provide realistic solo performances.

TRAILER VIDEO:

Koto Nation applies the same design philosophy to instruments of the Japanese classical tradition. We focused on the koto, bass koto and shamisen because none of these beautiful instruments have been sampled in any depth, while the taiko and shakuhachi have typically received much more attention. In fact, the bass koto has never been sampled before... a shame, as you'll hear it is an incredible instrument with a deep, warm tone and amazing playability!

To create the best classical Japanese library, we could not settle for an average session player. Our performer, Masayo Ishigure, is among the best koto players in the world; a student of koto legends Tadao and Kazue Sawai, she has continued their legacy and toured the globe with her performances. She has worked with, among others, John Williams for his award-winning score to "Memoirs of a Geisha", and so we consider ourselves both extremely lucky and thankful to have her talent associated with this project. Masayo's extensive background in the classical traditions of Japanese music combined with her experience in recording for film allowed us to capture a true breadth of playing techniques!

Here are some facts and features of the library at a glance.

* Deep, thorough sampling with multiple velocities and round robins - typically 4x velocity layers and 4x round robins per note!

* Close and room mic positions, miced to blend perfectly with our Sitar Nation library

* Simple control schemes 'designed with composers in mind'. As with our other libraries, we map our patches to be as immediately playable as possible.

* Koto articulations include: picked sustains, pizzicato, finger hits, octaves, tremolos (fast and slow), mordents (fast and slow), vibrato (up and down), tonal glissandos, atonal glissandos, scrapes, hard pluck, short phrases and harmonics.

* Bass koto articulations include: sustains, pizzicato, mutes, slides, tonal string hits, and body hits.

* Jiuta-style Shamisen articulations include deep-sampled sustains (up to 8xRR per note, up/down) and various slides/bends.

* An assortment of FX patches, ranging from deep drums to warm pads, airy ambiances and synth sounds (all using nothing but the library's audio files and on/offline processing)

* $99, Kontakt 2 format with nearly 9gb of open 24/44.1 WAVs for your editing pleasure - instant digital download!

Koto Nation is available now at our website, where you can read even more details about the features and instruments, as well as download the product manual:

http://impactsoundworks.com/products/instrumental/koto-nation-classical-instruments-of-japan/

Or you can check out some demos here below!

Sakura (Traditional) - 100% KN

http://www.impactsoundworks.com/audio/demos/Koto_Nation_Sakura.mp3

Koto Solo (Traditional) - 100% KN with ext. reverb

http://www.impactsoundworks.com/audio/demos/Koto_Nation_Traditional_Demo_1.mp3

Koto & Shamisen Duet (Traditional) - 100% KN with ext. reverb

http://www.impactsoundworks.com/audio/demos/Koto_Nation_Traditional_Demo_2.mp3

Bass Koto Dreams (Contemporary) - 100% KN

http://www.impactsoundworks.com/audio/demos/Koto_Nation_Unconventional_Demo.mp3

We hope you enjoy this library as much as we enjoyed making it! Feel free to post any questions or comments here and I'd be happy to answer them :)

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Dang, you guys had me at Sitar Nation.

While I'm not very excited by traditional Koto arrangements, the contemporary possibilities are out of this world. You guys do such a stellar job I don't even feel worthy of commenting XD

Any plans for more Nations libraries? There better be.

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sounding great.

price is alright, can't justify buying it for the occasional use it'd get though.

in case you ever decide to do a deal like the previous one again, i'll be picking it up most likely. shreddage+koto nation for $99 for example would be something i'd seriously consider.

by the way, ever thought about doing a competitively priced brass library? thinking of something that's somewhat flexible in terms of genre (jazz, funk, classical etc). no need for every articulation possible, just cover some popular standards in different genres. it should have decent solo patches but the focus would probably be on ensembles.

i just don't see any competition in the budget range you typically cater for. horns are probably harder to sample well than a lot of instruments, but if you could get that right it might become a bestseller.

anyway good luck with this lib.

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Thanks for the kind words, both of you :-)

Exo: Yes, we definitely want to do more world instrument libraries - we're thinking about Appalachian instruments (hey, it IS part of the world) as well as Persian ones. My goal is to eventually make a super ethnic collection, sort of like Ethno World or RA except 10x bigger since everything is much more deeply sampled. In the more immediate future, we're strongly considering a Bulgarian choir.

Nase: We probably won't lower the price of KN anytime soon, but we definitely WILL do some nice bundles (eg. Koto + Sitar = $169 instead of $200) and with the survey coupon you get 10% off anything. So, keep your eyes peeled and we'll have some opportunities to get it at a better rate.

As for brass, it's been brought up with us a few times. There are some REALLY strong brass libraries out there for pop stuff (Chris Hein, WIVI, Sample Modeling) which makes it a little scary but I agree, nothing really in the <$100 range.

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Just wanna throw this idea out there: how about a library exclusively for ethnic vocals? Like.. I really want to find varied, high quality samples of the middle eastern type of vocals where they just kind of 'whine'. I don't know how to put it into words but you probably know what I mean.. that singing you hear as the out of focus sun starts rising over the Arabian desert. African chants are always nice and Eastern Noh Theatre singing is something I don't think I've ever heard in a contemporary song.

I bet those libraries are out there somewhere but probably cost $4,000 or something crazy.

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Just wanna throw this idea out there: how about a library exclusively for ethnic vocals? Like.. I really want to find varied, high quality samples of the middle eastern type of vocals where they just kind of 'whine'. I don't know how to put it into words but you probably know what I mean.. that singing you hear as the out of focus sun starts rising over the Arabian desert. African chants are always nice and Eastern Noh Theatre singing is something I don't think I've ever heard in a contemporary song.

I bet those libraries are out there somewhere but probably cost $4,000 or something crazy.

I absolutely second that. I've always wanted middle eastern vocals.

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There have actually been some solo Middle Eastern vocal libraries out there, like "Voices of Passion" and Tonehammer's "Forgotten Voices" series. But the former is very expensive/requires a dongle and the latter is a bit restrictive (phrase-based instead of multisampled.) We ARE going to do an East European choir library though, as well as solo Western vox in various styles (pop stacks, operatic, breathy/straight tone.)

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i second my request for a good saxophone library =) since there is absolutely nothing usable for a traditional composer out there. it's all jazz licks and pops, nothing more normal.

edit: your link for the bass koto link doesn't work. i think you spelled something wrong, as the file's in your /demo directory and works fine.

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There have actually been some solo Middle Eastern vocal libraries out there, like "Voices of Passion" and Tonehammer's "Forgotten Voices" series.

I checked those both out and, correct me if I'm wrong, it seems to be female only for both. When it comes to the Middle Eastern singing I'm actually pretty partial to the male voice. If there's not a male library out there, maybe you have a nice little niche market in that area.

The Voices of Passion library sounds really awesome, but like you said... $350. It was kinda weird that they used barely any reverb in their demos cause I think it would sound really awesome with a ton of reverb. In any case, whatever you guys do is always worth it because your prices are affordable to hobbyists without sacrificing quality. I love how you guys kind of 'commercialize' sound libraries.. it's not just the professionals who get to have fun making music the new way anymore. Everybody gets a chance.

However, down the road I can see the music industry getting really bloated because of this which is why I would never pursue a career in music :P But this is a hobby I'll never drop.

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