CLOUD VIOLA² is a deeply multisampled hybrid Kontakt instrument that takes a humble 17th century classical stringed instrument and lovingly shoves it into the modern world. CLOUD VIOLA² uses unlikely playing techniques and sampling magic to create new tones and textures. From cinematic pads to strange leads she is perfect as a standalone signature instrument or for adding interesting texture to a ‘proper’ orchestra. Using midi controllers and DAW automation she can be played with organic expressiveness and genuine emotion. CLOUD VIOLA² is completely in her comfort zone in cutting edge electronica, epic trailer massiveness, quirky sound design and delicate contemporary classical.
How? A Cloud Viola happens when you ditch the conventional viola bow and look for something else to stimulate the strings.
After much experimentation I discovered that a ball of course green garden string sounded ‘best’, but stringing a standard bow with garden twine doesnt work, you’d need an impossible 10 metre bow to play a smooth note (I know it’s impossible because I tried). After many experiments a retractable dog lead came to the rescue. It can hold long lengths of twine under tension and when fixed to one end of the studio it can allow the twine to be drawn evenly over the viola string.
Another week perfecting the art of dogbowing and recording hundreds and hundreds of dogbowed, accented and col legno notes it was all starting to make sense and fortunately sounding pretty good too. The final step was to push each note 100% wet through a bespoke swirly setting on my Strymon Big Sky reverb pedal, and then do the same thing all over again with different settings for 200% wetness.