It’s been a whirlwind of an end of the year and an amazing start of the new year, but I’m finally back on track to start bringing you new installments of This Thing Rules. Here’s one that probably should have come out in time for Halloween, but hey, what better time than now, right?

Tortured Keys is a beautiful new Kontakt-based package from DayTone Audio that features all kinds of crazy, dark samples of a 1937 Gulbransen Grand Piano being, well… tortured.  The sounds were created, according to the website, “with the help of metal files, mallets and wrenches.” That poor piano… Lets listen to my demo (which has more instruments from other sources than my normal This Thing Rules reviews because this is more of an effects package than a full on set of instruments).

As you can hear in “The Beginning”,  while the main melodies and beat are coming from other places, there are huge impacts, and big rips and stings that help set the tone. Generally speaking, there are three kinds of sounds: Mallet Sting, Gliss Down & Gliss Up. However, depending on how you play, the notes are layered in many different ways, and all the samples have huge sustains… Some over 30 seconds. So along with the initial sound, you also get the atmosphere that comes with it, which again, really helps set the dark tone of whatever you’re working on.

These sounds are mainly meant for film scores, and I can absolutely see myself using them in a horror type film. In a song, they’re probably not the most appropriate – although you better believe I’ll be using these on my next MC Randumb & Jewish Dave horror-comedy-rap album haha… whenever that happens to happen. Actually, the reason I ended up making a track with a beat for the demo is because I sort of had some MC Randumb & Jewish Dave on the mind, and also I didn’t have a specific scene to score to using these sounds in a traditional film music style. The sounds are beautifully sampled though, and the available compressor and reverb effects that are built into the GUI help you get exactly what you want out of the samples.

I should be sure to mention that Tortured Keys is not a very large collection, but what it does, it does great. This is a highly specific library of sounds, and if you find yourself working on scores for scary films or video-games, you’re going to find stuff here that you can definitely use… And don’t forget to pay attention to those awesome ambiances that come out of playing long sustain notes… To me, that’s the thing that makes these so awesome.

Tortured Keys is available from DayTone Audio’s website for $49.99.

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on the ABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.