Review - Strix Instruments - Pripyat Pianos

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Those of you who follow my music will know I am a big fan of using sampled pianos in my compositions. While I use a range of piano libraries I am always on the lookout for new and interesting sounds and Pripyat Pianos from Strix Instruments really caught my attention.

Pripyat Pianos is a playable piano instrument created using sounds recorded from 20 different pianos that were left behind in various locations around Pripyat. Pripyat is a ghost city, evacuated in 1986 in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the area remains in the Chernobyl exclusion zone to this day.

As well as sampling the sounds of the instruments, the team have captured a number of impulse responses from various spaces in Pripyat. To give context, the GUI includes photos of these locations along with the radiation level reading taken on the day of visit. It is easy and fun to manipulate the sounds within the instrument with controls including an age slider to vary the degradation, the distance to the instrument, the starting point of the samples, the opening of the lid of the piano, parameters for the reverb, and 5 detail controls; overtones, key strokes, sustain pedal, dampers and resonance.

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Pripyat Pianos is perfect for darker TV and film scores and its incredibly effective when accompanied by atmospheres and soundscapes to create desolate and bleak pieces of music. The aged and detuned characteristic of the recordings also hints at uses in the horror genre with the instrument capable of creepy and sinister tones.

It is incredible to think that many of the pianos used in this project have not been played for over 30 years. With over 25 trips to the city over a 7 year time span it is a testament to the developers commitment the lengths undertaken and health risks posed to produce this product. When you play the instrument you are transported into the world Pripyat and you can really feel and hear the history and context of the instrument. This product is an excellent addition to my sonic library and one which will certainly feature on my upcoming releases.

For a detailed insight into the scale of the process and risks undertaken by the libraries creator Vlad I highly recommend the interview he gave over on the Woody Piano Shack YouTube channel:

You can find out more and purchase the product from the Strix Instruments website: