<img src="https://certify.alexametrics.com/atrk.gif?account=43vOv1Y1Mn20Io" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="">

Horror audio: Orchestral Tools releases Grimm with Bleeding Fingers in cooperation with Hans Zimmer

2 minute read

Want to use medieval musical instruments in compositions for horror and fantasy movies? Orchestral Tools' latest library, the wonderfully named Grimm with Bleeding Fingers, has you covered.

Grimm with Bleeding Fingers is an evocative collection of historic instrument ensembles created in close collaboration with the Hans Zimmer-led composing collective Bleeding Fingers Music for an upcoming series. I’d never heard of Bleeding Fingers, not in a musical context anyway, but they have worked on projects like The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Prehistoric Planet, Faraway Downs, Blue Angels, Beckham, Colossum, and many more.

The Orchestral Tools library uses the instruments of a medieval orchestra but with expressions crafted for the modern composer. When I traversed the library’s ensembles, I immediately recognised some of these in articulations that would sound nice in pre-20th Century music. However, a good number of them are clearly not intended to be used for playing La Quarte Estampie Royal, as they are mildly inharmonic or dissonant.
And so, besides the harmonic articulations in this new library, you will find many authentic sounds and timbres designed specifically for contemporary melodic and textural expression with a nice bias towards modern drama, horror scoring, historical fiction, and fantasy.

The three ensembles include a “high strings” ensemble with a Hurdy-gurdy, an instrument that is played by cranking a wheel that serves as a bow continuously rubbing against the strings. It produces a sound with rich overtones and a buzzing, thrumming character. I personally liken the sound of that instrument with scratching your nails across a blackboard and it appears I’m not the only one, as it has been encased in a mellow soundbed of two baroque violins.

grimm with bleeding fingers

Creepiness suffuses everything, including the branding...

Another instrument that can easily be played to give you the creeps is the sackbut, the baroque and renaissance era precursor to the modern trombone. The bell shape and smaller bore give the sackbut a different timbre. They sound much less majestic but harsher, which can become more threatening in the hands of a skilful artist. I find the dryness of the sound quite discomforting, mostly because we are used to hearing a round sound from brass instruments.

In addition to the six instrument ensembles, Grimm contains an array of processed pads and impacts. For those articulation sets, distortion, filters, and other digital and analogue effects were used. And it must be said the results are mouth watering unique. In those sets, there’s one specific articulation that blew my mind. It’s an indescribably deep, dark sound so “defined” for lack of a better term that you can’t possibly make it using a synth.

While the other articulations can be used for period movies or series besides horror, sci-fi and fantasy, those pads and impacts firmly sit in the gritty, dark, eerie, melancholic, or dystopian categories. Most send shivers down your spine. Articulations from the other ensembles are best combined if you want them to also result in audio that is exceptionally well suited for a scene from Grimms’ original version of “Snow White”, where, although the Queen is little Snow White’s mother instead of her stepmother, she still orders her Huntsman to kill the poor girl and bring home the child’s lungs and liver so that she can eat them.

Orchestral Tools has released other libraries that can be used to give an audience an uncomfortable feeling, but this set of cinematic scoring tools beats them all. And yet, Grimm with Bleeding Fingers also contains enough articulations to be useful for less bloody drama.

Orchestral Tools’s Grimm with Bleeding Fingers is available now for €249.


Tags: Audio