Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars
Those that have used one of the Ethera sample libraries may already appreciate that the sounds themselves are pretty epic, but it’s now also true that the whole Ethera library series — produced by Stefano Maccarelli and Zero‑G — has, itself, become fairly epic in proportions. While the focus of the whole series is on cinematic‑style vocals, there is a useful PDF document available from Zero‑G’s website that explains the key differences between the various titles. The latest addition to the series is Ethera Gold Atlantis 2. As with the original Atlantis release, the style of the vocal samples for Atlantis 2 suits epic fantasy with a strong medieval/Celtic vibe. However, the 14GB of sample content is all new, so fans of v1 will find plenty of additional material here for the (undeniably inexpensive) upgrade price.
Indeed, there is a staggering amount of content even for those paying full price. Three different cinematic singers (Ethera regular Clara Sorace is joined by Elena Borroni and Giulia Colantonio) have supplied the raw materials and Stefano has transformed these performances into 26 different vocal instruments for the Kontakt front end. These fall into a number of different forms providing textural/pad sounds, various ‘phrase builder’ options (allowing you to build custom chains of syllables) and collections of vocal phrases (six different instruments — with contrasting vocal styles — and over 2000 phrases in total) that can easily be sequenced to provide extended performances. There is also a fabulous Kontakt multi featuring a combination of the individual instruments that is simply epic to play if you want to fill your sound stage with beautiful ensemble vocals.
However, for me, the undoubted highlights of Atlantis 2 are the various True Legato instruments. These combine the fabulous sampling with very clever Kontakt scripting to deliver some incredible expressive — and very playable — vocals. Each of these offers a distinctive style. The Atlantis True Legato provides the backbone of Celtic‑style but you also get Romantic, Elven and Valhalla True Legato options, each of which has their own character. For example, the Valhalla instrument has a stronger, more dramatic delivery style. With multiple articulations, control over the speed of the legato, no looping, and a wonderfully natural decay, the sounds available here undoubtedly deserve to be described as ‘epic’. And, with the effects options built into the instrument including an excellent reverb, you really do only need to trigger a note or two and the results can be truly magical.
Clearly, like other titles in the series, Ethera Gold Atlantis 2 is a niche product. It’s firmly aimed at film and media composers so it will not be for everyone. However, if your score requires the sound of Celtic/medieval vocals, Atlantis 2 will not disappoint. Beautiful, haunting female vocals suitable for the most blockbuster of musical contexts and for a very modest price.