Review: Philtre Labs Bollywood Elements
Bollywood Elements is the 2nd sample library by Philtre Labs, a company which aims to provide “authentic” Bollywood flavour to your productions.
BOLLYWOOD ELEMENTS is a ‘premium’ sample library on a DVD-ROM, inspired by the sound of “Bollywood”, using the same melodic instruments and styles typically featured in songs, background scores of films of the genre.
Production directors at Philtre Labs are Salim and Sulaiman Merchant, two brothers who have scored for some of the biggest Bollywood films.
After the percussion loops of Bollywood Grooves, it is now time for the melodic loops of Bollywood Elements. This new library features recordings of various traditional Indian plucked and bowed instruments, played by seasoned musicians.
Bollywood Elements instruments
- Bulbul tarang (Indian banjo), is a string instrument featuring two sets of strings, one set for drone, and one for melody.
- Flute, the ‘bansuri’ is made of a single length of bamboo with six or seven open finger holes.
- Mandolin, a musical instrument in the lute family (plucked, or strummed).
- Sarangi, an important bowed string instrument of India’s Hindustani classical music tradition.
- Sarod, the most popular and prominent instrument in Hindustani (north Indian) classical music, known for a deep, weighty, introspective sound.
- Sitar, a plucked stringed instrument using sympathetic strings along with a long hollow neck and agourd resonating chamber to produce a very rich sound with complex harmonic resonance.
- Shehnai, an aerophonic tube-like instrument which is thought to bring good luck.
- Tumbi, a traditional North Indian high pitched, single string plucking instrument from the Punjab region.
- Ravan-hattha, a royal string instrument made with horse hair and ghunghroos (small bells) tied to the rod.
- Shankh, a conch shell that is blown to announce victory of good over evil.
- NarSingha/RanaSingha (bonus instrument), a long horn of ancient Indian origin used in ceremonial and royal rituals.
Each instrument has its own folder, containing a combination of licks, raga phrases, one-shots and FX.
The folder structure can be a little hard to navigate as each folder has different contents. One instrument only has a bunch of files in its folder, while the other has files three levels deep (i.e. Sarod -> Sarod Ragas -> Charukeshi -> Bandish). The licks folders are divided into BPM, and most files have the key in their names which is handy.
The sample library includes a total of over 1,000 unique performances, all recorded at 24bit/48KHz quality.
You can have listen to some demo tracks here.
Bollywood Elements is available on DVD (including .wav & Apple Loops) from Time+Space for £69.95 GBP inc. VAT (~84 EUR / $106 USD).
So what do I think?
It’s hard to find anything that can do traditional instruments as well as sample libraries. Sure there are some great virtual instruments out there (mostly sample based), but nothing comes as close to the real thing as… well, recordings of the real thing!
Bollywood Elements has all the sounds you would expect from a collection of Indian instrument loops. I am no connoisseur but they do sound totally authentic to me.
Plus: good quality samples, lots of variety, authentic sounds.
Minus: the samples could have been categorized better (some folders have .aiff files instead of .wav)
Visit Philtre Labs for more information and some audio demos.