Jon Meyer Sounds releases Woven Strings, a free Kontakt library (requires the full version of Native Instruments Kontakt).
Woven Strings is part of the Prototypes collection of free instruments by Jon Meyer, a media composer and sound designer based in Dallas, Texas.
The library includes a collection of drones and phrases performed by Avery Bright, featuring violin, viola, and octave viola.
While Woven Strings is free, it does require the paid Kontakt 6.
Avery bright has recorded and performed with a diverse list of incredible artists as a session musician out of Nashville. His credits range from U2 to Lauryn Hill and Bela Fleck; he’s one of those musicians that you’ve probably heard, even if you don’t know his name.
Jon Meyer recorded a video tour of Bright’s studio that’s worth watching. It’s worth watching in the sense that unless you are very lucky, it will make you feel terrible about your own studio space – watch it!
The instrument is pretty simple, with just a few controls for Volume, Articulations (Drones/Phrases), Delay, and Reverb. With the Delay and Reverb, you can click the wrench (top left corner) and edit the Instrument Send FX parameters.
On the interface, blue keys represent the Drones, and red keys represent the Phrases. There are just under four octaves of drones, which matches the range a gifted player can get from a violin/viola.
The Phrases (just over an octave) start higher up the keyboard but are pitched an octave lower than the GUI suggests.
Something simple that Jon Meyer points out in the overview video is how good it sounds when you combine Drones with a Phrase in a simple triad. He also points out that it can get messy when playing with the articulation. Still, when it’s good, it’s a beautifully haunting sound.
You don’t need to play anything complex, and in most cases, never should. It’s just about letting those sounds create atmosphere, and it’s not surprising it came from a media composer because it sounds perfect for that kind of work.
Something that Woven Strings has going for it is Avery Bright’s playing. It might not be the same as hiring him for a bespoke session, but it has his touch and feel, adding a more organic quality to the instrument.
Instruments with pre-recorded Phrases, like Woven Strings, can seem limited by design. But context changes everything, and they often provide far more content than expected.
Also, trying to recreate the articulation of an elite violinist using faders convincingly doesn’t always end well.
If you have Kontakt 6, check it out. You can also get a 25% discount on The Meyer Felt piano library through February. Use the discount code 25OFF at checkout.
Download: Woven Strings