Alien Skies - Cinematic Ambiences 2 is a 2 DVD set from
Zero-G and the sequel to our critically acclaimed library Dark Skies:
Cinematic Ambiences. Alien Skies is a vast collection of ambient
soundscapes, textures, drones, hits, and special FX designed to suit the
needs of professional media producers such as TV, cinema & game
score composers, music producers and web designers.
"...Mind-blowing sound design skills.. Insanely inspiring.. Highly recommended.. 10 out of 10"
Extending on from the cutting edge sound design techniques showcased in Dark Skies, this fantastic new library utilizes the most innovative, modern studio technologies to provide a vast range of emotional and evocative timbral experiences.
The creative aesthetic behind Alien Skies required considerable musical artistry as well as amazing virtuosity behind the mixing desk. Many of these samples were created through exhaustive processing and mixing of live instrumental and field recordings.
In sourcing recordings for the project no stone was left unturned. A diverse selection of sound sources were utilized, ranging from Indian flutes and bowed Ecuadorian folk strings to found metallic percussion and industrial machines, to ensure the perfect array of raw sonic material. These sounds were then processed in the studio using literally hundreds of different manipulation programs and tools. Finally, the processed sounds were re-sampled and treated as traditional instruments in musical arrangements to create a fantastic array of synthetic, yet clearly organic, textures.
In short, Alien Skies is truly at the zenith of modern cinematic sound design!
All of the samples have been pre-cleared and are 100% original & royalty-free for your musical use without any additional licensing fees.
20 Acidized WAV files
720 AIFF Apple Loops
810 Kontakt Instruments
810 EXS24 Instruments
810 NN-XT Instruments
About The Library
WHAT'S IT FOR?
The starting point was to make this library perfect for creating soundtracks to films, TV programs and games, with a leaning towards the eerie and tortured.
However, for contemporary commercial pop/rock/hip-hop production you will also find some of the most beautiful pads you'll ever hear. It is also ideal for contemporary commercial producers looking for authentic live sounds that give their productions a leading edge.
WHY WAS IT DONE?
It started with a problem: how can you get world class orchestral effects, that sound like a real orchestra playing, which are highly expressive, completely controllable and easy to play, and yet avoid having to pay for £10,000 recording sessions? After sifting in vain through commercially available premium orchestral sound libraries, producer Dan Graham found nothing that could fulfill all of these requirements.
And so, he set out to record his own dream orchestral sample collection – all the weird and wonderful effects he'd employed in his own live orchestral recordings – something that would be complex, alive but easily controllable with a Mod Wheel.
Recorded over a week in May 2010 at Liverpool's famous Parr Street Studios (Coldplay, Genesis amongst others), four world class Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra players were heavily multi-tracked up to create 16 violins, 8 cellos, 6 flutes and 6 piccolos for that big ensemble effect.
20 hours of stereo 24-bit 44.kHz audio was painstakingly edited down, looped and programmed in Kontakt 3.5 over 3 months by Dan Graham, programmer Andy Flett and scripter Mario Krušelj until this beautiful library was finished and put to immediate effective use on a series of tracks for movie trailers.
Tried, tested and satisfied, the collection was then finally handed over to Zero G so that these wonderful sounds could be shared with the most demanding composers and producers in the world.
LIVE vs MUTATED
The Kontakt Instruments are divided into two top categories – Live and Mutated. The Live Instruments present the sounds as they were recorded – no effects, pitch shifting, time stretching or other audio trickery. You should use these for realism and expensive orchestral depth. The Mutated sounds have been bent and tortured every which way – time stretched, pitch shifted, effected, reversed, distorted and so on. Being built from real orchestral recordings they always exude organic class, even when the result is distinctly synthesized.
The performers were recorded at 3 mic positions: close, overhead and room. You can access each of these channels from the user interface.
The mic positions each have their own character, and your blend will depend on your needs. The Close versions are great for dry, close-up intimacy. The Overhead versions have a rich, well-balanced clarity, while the Room versions are more wide and cinematic.
LARGE ENSEMBLE vs SMALL ENSEMBLE
The Live sounds are mostly presented in Large Ensemble and Small Ensemble versions – typically this will mean 6 to 16 players on the Large Instruments and 2 players on the Small Instruments. As you'll hear, the small versions give a more intimate sound while the larger versions have more power.
The Live Instruments
These are looped, unpitched Instruments with a high degree of Mod Wheel control from delicate softness to screechy power. Generally speaking they have overtones of suspense and horror, and fall into the following sub-categories:
Eerie Sirens: Here notes slide slowly around a semitone interval, producing an eerie emotional effect like 'things are going wrong, and something awful is about to happen'.
Swarm: Here notes are played tremolo (rapid bowing (strings), or flutter tongue (flutes)), while moving rapidly and randomly around a one-octave interval. The effect is one of chaos, as if many bad things are arriving at the same time – perfect to represent insect swarm or zombie attacks.
Sick Swirl: Similar to Swarms, but played legato not tremolo, the effect is one of nausea, vertigo and awful realizations.
Pizzicato Swarm (strings only): Random pizzicato notes played across a one-octave range, this sounds like a swarm of many bad little creatures.
Needle Swarm (strings only): Random col legno notes (played by tapping the strings with the back of the bow), similar in effect to Pizzicato Swarm, but the creatures are smaller and more scurrying.
Air Needle Swarm (flute & piccolo only): Similar in concept to the string Needle Swarm, the effect is something like an attack of mechanical wooden birds.
Solo Creaks (strings only): This set is velocity sensitive rather than Mod Wheel controlled and gives you a big set of cello and violin creaks, created by dragging the bow intensely against the strings. They might suggest squealing pigs or (say) a haunted house with an evil no-faced grandma rocking contentedly on her chair just before hurling knitting needles into your eyes. Or creaking old ships and taut ropes about to break.
These are played on specific notes and spread across the keyboard so they can be used for chords or notes that harmonize with the rest of your score.
Celestial Tremolo (strings only): Quiet tremolo notes with occasional loud notes, panned around so that the louder notes only hit randomly and sparsely, like the twinkling of stars. A good twinkling effect is with minor 6th or augmented 5th chords in the high registers, with a more tense and dark feel in the lower cello registers.
Trembling Needles (strings only): Similar to Celestial Tremolo but played with the clicky taps of col legno (tapping the strings with the wooden back of the bow). The atmosphere is light, tense and expectant.
Pizzicato Sea (strings only): Also similar to Celestial Tremolo but played pizzicato. Suits being played with a random cluster of notes to give a sense of dislocation and strangeness.
Undulations: An oasis of beauty; gentle vibrato notes drift in and out, creating elegant natural movement while a chord is held down.
Shivers (flute & piccolo only): similar to Celestial Tremolo but on flutes, the mood is suspended and tense.
Sung Harmonics (flute and piccolo only): an unearthly sound created by the female flautist singing wavering notes that clash against the simultaneously played notes, creating strange harmonic interferences. Great for a feeling of otherworldly oddness.
These Instruments are velocity sensitive rather than reacting to the Mod Wheel, and generally consist of starting low and ending high. These sounds should be familiar from film scores and movie trailer music.
The flute and piccolo versions also include extra fast rises and falls, perfect for suggestions of flying, wind or birds.
As a usage tip, you can create your own custom rise sounds by playing different notes at the same time – they are designed to all end at exactly the same time. For example, you may wish to trigger all the pp rises together for a large ensemble but soft rise, or sprawl both hands across every note for a 100-player mega-rise.
THE MUTATED INSTRUMENTS
These heavily programmed sounds follow the same overall categories as the Live Instruments – Atonal Atmospheres, Pitched Pads and Rises – but they are no longer bound by the need to be as realistic as possible. For example they extend into bottom bass registers (rather than going no lower than the flute or cello bottom range), and come with a myriad of ear-catching sonic manipulations including filters, distortion, effects, EQ, compression, reversing, time stretching, pitch shifting, envelopes and LFOs.
However, nothing was done for the sake of tweaking – every sound has an expressive purpose hinted at in its colourful title.
The Atonal Atmospheres bring you extreme, eerie, complex ambiences. The Pitched Pads bring you some of the most outstandingly beautiful and emotional pads you'll ever hear, while the rises bring you all manner of dark and filthy specimens, dragging you in a multitude of corrupt ways from deep in the bowels of hell up to the heights of ear-bleeding agony.
"Having new sounds at my fingertips is always an inspiration and these new PLAY plug-ins have plenty of great sounds to choose from."
- The Dark Knight, King Kong, Michael Clayton
"Quantum Leap instruments have become an important part of my sonic template. I am really looking forward to using EW/QL Pianos and Silk in my future scores and I am using STORMDRUM 2 right now on Terminator 4."
- Spiderman, Nightmare Before Christmas, Terminator 4
"I am a big fan of the EastWest / Quantum Leap libraries. Their collections contain generous sound palettes with great attention to detail. I am also very impressed by the power of the PLAY engine."
- Hancock, Kung Fu Panda, The Bourne Trilogy
Mark "Spike" Stent
"Quantum Leap SPACES from EastWest is my new go to reverb, it's absolutely the best reverb plug-in on the market."
- Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Muse
"These are real acoustic piano sounds. I'm absolutley amazed. EastWest/Quantum Leap has gone the extra mile to provide stunning quality acoustic pianocharacter - the whole collection is superb!"
- 12 time Grammy Winning Pianist & Composer
"Pianos is the best software available today. The recording quality and playability are fantastic. These are the only digital piano sounds that faithfully reproduce the resonances of a well tuned piano."
- The Spirit, Cat in the Hat, Ice Age
"If you're lucky, the tools themselves will inspire you. It looks- and sounds- like EastWest/Quantum Leap does just that with every new product they release."
- Director/Creator: Star Trek, Lost, The Fringe
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- KÀ, Mystère, Alegria - Cirque du Soleil
"The entire line of EastWest instruments are an essential part of my composing rig. The sounds are impeccable and naturalistically captured while the ease of use and the power of the PLAY engine makes the instruments top of their field."
- Dragonalball, Eagle Eye, Fast and the Furious
"Quantum Leap sound libraries have enjoyed an invaluable place in my palette for many years both in the mock up and final phase, these sounds offer absolute stunning quality, fidelity, and musicality."
- Rome, Appaloosa, He Was A Quiet Man
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- Producer: Paul McCartney, Bangles, Regina Spektor
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- Composer Rage, Dead Space, The Hobbit
"EastWest / Quantum Leap Virtual Instruments offer an amazing palette of colors and flavors, plusthe sonic quality is just beyond belief."
- Luis Miguel's keyboardist, composer, programmer
"This is not just a Virtual Piano collection, it's a
masterpiece ... it's love at first touch. When I first heard it, I had to play it, and I fell in love - WOW!!"
- Producer Michael Jackson "Dangerous" and "Invincible"
Paul "Wix" Wickens
"As musical director/keyboard player for PAUL McCARTNEY, I need the best sounds available, EASTWEST / QUANTUM LEAP Virtual Instruments give me that and are an essential part of my set-up."
- Musical Director / Keyboards - PAUL McCARTNEY
"The Quantum Leap samples have that rare ability to inspire creative thinking. Always something I want out of sounds to lead me somewhere, to let myself go."
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