Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars
Back in 2012, Martin Walker was very enthusiastic about Eduardo Tarilonte’s Forest Kingdom library for Best Service. Niche it most certainly might have been (best suited to media composers working in fantasy, nature, mystical, magical or related fields), but it was also top‑shelf quality. The subject of this review is Forest Kingdom 3. So, is Eduardo’s latest deep‑dive into the sounds of the forest a worthy continuation of the series?
Best Service’s Engine 2 serves as front‑end for FK3 and provides a very neat and tidy UI to access the various instrument groups derived from the 19GB underlying sample library. The instrument collection has been expanded to over 700 presets and also includes 300 multitimbral (each consists of a number of the individual instruments) Engine 2 presets, each with an associated MIDI file. These are a fabulous resource and source of inspiration for your own musical ideas.
The individual instruments are well organised into sub‑categories. These include some 90 percussion presets spanning drums of all sizes and various small percussion instruments. Most include MIDI grooves alongside the playable hits and, with control over the ambience and the pitch (for example, pitching down the Bata drums creates some wonderful additional ‘big drum’ options), they sound fabulous. A selection of plucked sounds includes two beautiful harps — acoustic and electric — and a whole array of wind instruments. Yes, these include pan pipes but, with various performance articulations, and the ability to control both breath noise and blow intensity (for all the wind instruments), you can conjure expressive and utterly convincing performances. A set of new Native American flutes is amongst the things that has been added to an already impressive collection that spans Aztec Clay Flutes to the Didgeridoo. You also get some mystical voices — a beautiful solo legato and some very characterful shaman phrases — and a whole section of wonderful, and sometimes weird, Fantasy Creature sounds.
Take your hat off to Eduardo Tarilonte: he has taken the best of the best and made it even better.
An equally impressive collection of over 200 soundscape presets form a diverse set of atmospheres that can sit under the rhythmic and melodic instruments already mentioned. These are built from multiple pad sounds, and you can control the blend and intensity of them in real time via the mod wheel. With names such as Forest Dreams, Sacred Stones and Whispering Nature, you can easily get a sense of the styles, but these are beautifully constructed and provide extended textures that just keep evolving; if your cue just needs a sonic texture, these could easily stand on their own in even the most demanding musical context.
OK, Forest Kingdom remains a niche library, but this is top‑quality sound design from someone who has obvious passion and real expertise in his field. Whether it’s the upgrade from an earlier version, or a new purchase, if Forest Kingdom 3 is in your musical ballpark, you will not be disappointed. Take your hat off to Eduardo Tarilonte: he has taken the best of the best and made it even better.