Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars
Produced by sample library legend Stefano Maccarelli and Zero‑G, Elements Cinematic Rhythms is presented with a tagline of “contemporary tribal and warrior percussion”. As we will see in a moment, that accurately reflects the style of the sounds. The library is designed for the full version of Kontakt (version 6.7.1 or above), offers some 15GB of sample data, and combines over 100 single instruments (with multiple dynamics layers and round‑robin hits), hundreds of loops, an impressive collection of multi‑presets, internal sequencing, close and room mic options and a range of effects.
The Kontakt front end may appear minimalist but, via the Expert button (which options a whole series of sliders to customise the sounds) and the Sequencer and FX Rack tabs, there are plenty of sound‑design options to explore. The multitude of supplied presets are divided into two categories — percussion and sound design — and, usefully, the main UI is colour‑coded yellow or red to reflect this. The former group presents the sounds in their natural form, while the latter group offers more of the hybrid sound, giving the user musical options depending upon the scoring context.
In terms of the sound sources, the instruments include bass drums, gran cassa, frame drums, various toms, djembe of different sizes, ‘Warrior’ and ‘Village’ drums (labels that are perhaps indicative of size?) and a whole range of smaller percussion elements including metal, wood, shakers, rattles, maracas, tambourines, cymbals, gongs and cowbell. Without exception, they all sound beautifully recorded and edited. What’s noticeable is how natural they sound. For a ‘big drums’ virtual instrument, this is quite a refreshing (and useful) option compared to the more bombastic approach you might get in a library aimed at, for example, trailer music applications. Yes, you can create some forceful and attention‑grabbing rhythms here, but the sound is not hyped and has room to breathe. The processed sounds offer a sonic palette with a more contemporary edge. Both are very usable.
The keyboard mapping of the samples — with loops, single hits and a selection of rolls arranged in colour‑coded sections across the Kontakt MIDI keyboard — makes it very easy to build a complete performance. The loops themselves are really good and can easily be sequenced or layered to good effect. The additional icing on the performance cake, however, is the Sequencer option. This lets you create your own rhythmic patterns (with up to 32 steps) to trigger the sounds and, rather wonderfully, ships with an impressive set of pattern presets to explore. For busy composers needing inspiration to hit deadlines, there is plenty of help to be found here.
Elements Cinematic Rhythms is top‑notch stuff and a real bargain.
So, Elements Cinematic Rhythms sounds absolutely great, offers a broad selection of percussive sounds, and features all sorts of performance inspiration via the loops and sequencing features. Any media composer looking for some natural‑sounding (not over‑hyped) cinematic percussion could make good use of these sounds. And, given the surprisingly accessible pricing, almost any media composer will also be able to afford it. Elements Cinematic Rhythms is top‑notch stuff and a real bargain.