Rating **** 4/5 Stars
Media composers working in the horror or dark drama genres have a pretty insatiable appetite for scary musical sound effects. If that’s you, then you might be interested in Unstrung from Fallout Music Group. As the title suggests, this is a collection of string‑based sound effects designed with horror or tension in mind. The library is built from around 750MB of original content featuring samples from mostly unconventional uses of violin, viola and cello with various screeches, odd pluck and knocking sounds, grinding noises, pitch slides and bow ricochets.
As well as access to the raw WAV files, you get three Kontakt front‑ends, one each for the three main sound effects types: Hits, Patterns and Risers. For both the Hits and Risers sounds, you can combine up to three of the underlying samples. The Hits engine features a short ‘whoosh’ before the blend of three sounds creates the impact while, for the Risers, the three sounds form an extended riser sound to be used as a tension builder. You get basic mixing and global saturation, distortion, reverb and delay effects, while for each of the three samples used you have ADSR, low‑/high‑pass filters and tuning. Simple randomise buttons also allow you to roll the dice and see what a new combination of sounds might create.
In terms of the style of the sounds, the Snapshot presets do creepy very well and, for creating tension, many of the Riser sounds build over multiple bars. In terms of the Hits, these are not the mega‑impacts that you might get in a drum‑based library, but they are very effective in a ‘mad strings’ sort of a way. They could, of course, easily be layered with other sounds if required.
The third sound category — Patterns — was rather a nice surprise and the UI contains a very effective and quite flexible pattern sequencer. It includes some cool randomisation options and offers effective mixing and effects features. The Snapshot presets run from basic tick‑tock sequences through to more complex (and unsettling) rhythms, but all the tools are here to let you get creative and there are some suitably unusual sounds to work with if you want to get experimental.
I’m not sure you would buy Unstrung as your first impacts/risers library, but as a slightly quirky addition to your collection of more bombastic or conventional contenders for your scary/tension transitions, Fallout have provided something just a little different within a UI that is simple but effective. While the underlying sound content is fairly compact, Unstrung is available at a very competitive price and it certainly hits the intended horror/tension target.