This innovative sample library launches the electric guitar into new sonic territory.
Hosted by NI's Kontakt (full or free player versions), Quartarone Guitar Reveries is described as a cinematic electric guitar instrument that captures the avant-garde sound and personal sound palette of European composer and guitarist Claudio Quartarone. Split into Guitar, Pad and Keys sections with 50 presets per section, the instrument is, as its name suggests, based on sounds that originate from Claudio's guitar, though these have been extensively 'massaged' to create a range of ambient, abstract and cinematic sounds, many of which belie their guitar-centric origins.
The instrument works by mixing two sound sources, A and B, from a choice of 25 multi-velocity samples, each of which can be treated with individual effects before being sent to a master effects section. The sample set includes sustained sounds, tremolo guitar, muted picked notes, reversed, harmonics, granular processing and so on.
There's a surprising variety of guitar-inspired sounds here and the vast majority are usable just as they come. However, tweaking them to your own liking is extremely easy.
Once loaded the samples can be shaped with individual ADSR envelope controls and also by changing the sample start position. The level and pan positions of the A and B samples can be set individually. At the bottom of the main screen is a row of circular controls that can be used to adjust the effects in a straightforward way for both A and B at the same time. Here you'll find delay/reverb, low-pass filter, saturation, stereo width and tremolo/LFO modulation. Clicking the Effects tab opens a new window with 10 separate effects sections, seven of which have A and B tabs so you can decide what to apply to each part of the sound. Some of these overlap with the circular controls on the main page but there's much more detail here with sections for EQ, Amplifier, Lo-fi, Chorus, Filter, Tremolo, Delay, Saturate, Stereo and Reverb. The LFO rate can be sync'ed to host. Note that Saturate, Stereo (width) and Reverb apply globally to both parts.
It is easy to take a preset and make changes, but if you want to start from scratch, there's also a blank preset. The included presets give a good impression of the range of this instrument with the guitar section being the most noticeably guitar-like, though even these are processed in a way to make them sound ambient and dreamy with lush reverbs, filtering and delay. Most have a cinematic quality and would fit straight into an ambient music composition as an alternative to straight guitar or electric piano, while others are so heavily treated that their true origin is virtually obscured. There's a surprising variety of guitar-inspired sounds here and the vast majority are usable just as they come. However, tweaking them to your own liking is extremely easy.
Pads sees more 'disguised' sounds that have something of the texture of a synthesizer but still with the organic timbral quality of the guitar. Again most are gentle, but there are some more aggressive examples that use amplifier distortion. Others create shimmering washes of sound or atonal punctuations. There are some seriously lush and lovely sounds in this section.
In Keys there are treated sounds that can be played as alternative piano or other keyboard parts, but don't expect the ordinary. Again everything is highly textured with generous helpings of reverb, delay or gently pulsing modulation — a gift to the ambient music or TV soundtrack composer perhaps, but certainly usable across a number of genres.
This is not the product to go for if you want to fire your guitar player and replace them with samples, but if you are on the lookout for smooth, beautiful and spacious tones that still evoke the ghost of the guitar, then this very sensibly priced instrument provides lots of potential without unnecessary complexity. Definitely one I'll be using in my own hippy ramblings.
An excellent library of lush sounds that transcend their guitar origins.