Cinematique Instruments is a manufacturer of rare and unique instrument sound libraries. Even though their instrument repertory has a slight focus on film music, they are perfectly suitable for all musical genres. It’s all about how you use them.
For a while now, I’ve been playing with one of their Kontakt instruments called Shruti Box.
What is Shruti Box?
Here’s a quote from Cinematique Instruments website: the Shruti Box is a traditional Indian instrument which works on a system of bellows. It is a keyless version of the harmonium, which was invented for the specific purpose of producing drone sounds. On the front it has 12 valves to control the pitch. The instrument is generally used to accompany other instruments in rehearsal sessions or concerts of classical Indian music. But the shruti box is enjoying a renaissance in the West amongst traditional and contemporary musicians who are using it for a range of different styles.
Cinematique Instruments has made a virtual version of the Shruti Box. They have sampled the individual notes from the original Shruti, including the noises which are produced by the bellow. The real Shruti Box has a range of 13 notes, but the virtual version has been expanded up to 3 full octaves. There’s also two kinds of pump actions which can be switched on separately to get a realistic Shruti sound, pump and crackle.
To shape the sound further, you’ll find an effects section which contains distortion, chorus, reverb and a rotary simulation effects plus a special sustain mode which will let the Shruti play as a continuous drone.
There’s also a LFO modulation section which makes it possible to create all kinds of evolving rhythmic textures. You can modulate different parameters such as EQ frequency, LO-FI and panning with four different waveform types with a variable speed. The LFO speed can either be “free” or synced to host. In free mode, there’s also a cool auto move function available which’ll change the LFO speed automatically. It’s great for those endlessly changing, ambient style pads.
Does Shruti Box work in electronic music?
In my opinion, yes. Even though it does fit great for film music, nothing stops you using it in EM as well. I think it suits well for those psychedelic pads in the background of your track. If used with taste, it can give a nice flavor of something different and bit of ethnic to your electronic music. That would be something you won’t hear in every EDM track out there.
Verdict: Shruti box is a nice Kontakt instrument if you want to expand your instrument library to something more ethnic and special. I think it sounds like accordion “in steroids” or something with all those extra effects and modulation possibilities. It’s fresh and psychedelic.
- Shruti Box by Cinematique Instruments
- Kontakt 4.22 or later full version is required
- Price: 28 EUR (approximately 38 USD)
Watch the video below where I create something simple with the Shruti Box: