Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars
Jade Evolutions can be regarded as a partner product to Strezov’s existing Jade Orchestra, but with all‑new content and a substantially different instrument construct. Evolutions is less about multisamples, round robins and legato modes, and far more about texture and timbral layers. It weighs in at a substantial 21GB.
Residing within the NI ecosphere, this Kontakt instrument sounds reassuringly expensive and authentic. The main thrust is provided by four sampled elements, which are loaded in a familiar ‘four‑corners‑of‑a‑square’ arrangement, with an X‑Y pad providing fading/mixing between each element. The samples are loaded through the Zones page, before a number of additional parameters may be applied, all at the individual sample level. This includes ADSR envelope, high‑ and low‑pass resonant filtering, EQ, distortion, compression and reverb/delay effects. It’s a very comprehensive arrangement, which easily allows partials to come and go over time, exactly as one might expect in a cinematic suite of this kind. All of this, before you even attend to the manual control of the X/Y pad, which is also open to hardware control via MIDI CC.
Jade Evolutions oozes sheer quality; while the resultant output is hugely impressive, the individually constructed samples are stunning, and categorised to make it easy to locate a particular sample colour. All of the samples originate from East Asia, with a blend of strings, percussion, winds, vocals and chants, allowing for the conjuring of inspirational backdrops. Editing is easily navigable, with a healthy number of included factory patches, which may be used in original form or edited at will.
While the World nature of Jade Evolutions absorbs the centre of the instrument, there are two further sample channels which may be added to further bolster a given patch. Described as Synth Overlay A & B, these also provide pre‑prepared samples, drawn from a collection of synths. This range is similarly substantial, with samples that range from basic saws to LFO‑generated patterns and occasional blips. This could certainly provide an entire patch section of its own, but at the least, it provides a perfectly integrated process for bolstering a given harmony, which can be useful if your World elements are providing swathes of flowery colour.
Jade Evolutions oozes sheer quality; while the resultant output is hugely impressive, the individually constructed samples are stunning.
Jade Evolutions occupies a place in the market which could be considered cinematic, but it could almost certainly have its uses elsewhere, as a World library. Used alongside Jade Orchestra for lead‑line colour or melodic detail, leaving Evolutions to provide the perfect Asian‑inspired backdrop, would undoubtedly work well. It’s impressive, nuanced and colourful, much like the part of the world that has inspired the collection.