FOLKTEK VST The Collection
There are quite a few ‘circuit bent’ sample libraries around which range in price and quality. Maybe the most compressive bending library is Sidsonic’s ‘Circus Circuit‘ at 5.2GB. Possibly the next is the good folk at Folktek. Whereas Sidsonic take a more conventional approach to circuit bending the Folktek library is based on instrument creations created by Arius Blaze and Ben Houston.
Folktek began with collaborations in 2004 although Arius had already been making sound art/synth art instruments for eight years. With the help of Big Pauper (Drew MacIntyre) they have spent a year meticulously recording and multi-sampling some $30grand of Folktek instruments for those of us who are not able to afford or have the space to accommodate such gear. The end product is 1.74GB of data containing 64 gritty and glitched-out virtual instruments.
The first thing to notice is that The Folktek Collection does not come in any fancy packaging. It’s raw like the instruments that create the sounds. You download it from the Folktek site after paying your cash. You should have enough time to download the whole thing, even if your broadband connection is not the greatest, as in my case, but be prepared for a long wait. Once download un-compress the RAR file. The Collection can be bought in one of two versions: a Kontakt 4 version or just a library of sounds. If I’m honest it’s certainly worth spending out the few extra bucks for someone else to do the hard work creating all of the instruments in Kontakt.
To the sounds themselves; they are split into six folders: Abstract, Ambient Noise, Percussive, Simple Keys, and Synths. To comment on every instrument would take too long and would most likely bore you to tears. The Kontakt version most instruments you can alter the normal parameters of ASR and pitch. Many have controls for the amount of glitch, filter, bit crusher and basic effects. Some of these extra tweaks are contained in control panel II.
The Abstract Folder contains nine instruments that create abstract sounds. Some of these like Insectan Vocalist that spans over three octaves consist of an Insect processed by the Time Scape Wave sequencer (sample). Others are recorded instruments such as the Time-Lapse Piano, played then sampled by the time machine (sample).
The Ambient Folder contains 6 instruments of an ambient nature (sample) that would not sound out of place any Sci-fi film or ambient 60’s psychedelia as would not the Noise folder which contains 8 Instruments of a sort of more noisier persuasion.
The Percussive Folder contains perhaps the most impressive array of percussive kits, clicks and pops I've heard. From the slightly oriental sounding Micro Garden (morning sample) to the hard hitting Time Bomb these will add grit to any piece of music. Most of these instruments are a great starting point for any creative spark.
The Folder Simple Keys use Kontakt's Time Machine function to create glitch synths and FX. At first listen this was the folder that lease impressed on me. On further tinkering I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that they may be useful after all. The final folder is Synths and they are synths of a glitchy nature. My personal favorite is Omni Strings.
So what can we say in conclusion about the Folktek sample Library? Anyone involved in experimental, film or electronica will find a creative spark using this library. It contains a raft of very usable but unique sounds that should be an inspiration to creative musicians. Highly recommended!