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  • Writer's pictureJack Hughes

NFO: ORCHESTRAL SWELLS - Our new free orchestra sampler instrument produced by Dan Keen.

For many composers, sample libraries represent the entry point into composing music for orchestral instruments. They offer a window into a rich world of sounds that could previously only be accessed through a visit to a concert hall, or for those undergoing formal classical training. We as an orchestra place a high value on innovation and strive to remain forward thinking in our outlook, and as more and more composers from increasingly diverse musical backgrounds join the industry, we feel compelled to play our part in ensuring all composers have access to the tools they need to write orchestral music.

With that said, we are delighted to partner with Dan Keen for our first sample library NFO: Orchestral Swells which is available for free download on the piano book website:

Dan Keen

Dan Keen is a rising star in the world of film music composition and sample library development. His popular YouTube channel, which encompasses a range of topics such as product reviews, sampling and composition tutorials, has become highly favoured by the media music community. He is currently working as a composer at Spitfire Audio and has completed recent orchestral sessions at the famous Abbey Road studios with Gary Barlow.

We first became aware of Dan and his work after discovering his amazing soft string spurs library, which he released on the pianobook platform. There had been multiple discussions within the NFO team about developing our own sample library, but at that point we lacked the technical knowledge to build something that would live up to the playing excellence of our musicians.

Dan and his studio. As we had been so impressed by Dan’s work on Soft String Spurs we figured that he would be a natural fit for a sample library collaboration, and thus our founder Jack reached out to Dan to see if he would be interested. To our delight he agreed and we began the process of creating NFO: Orchestral Swells.

After some discussion with the musicians, we let Dan know the instrumentation that would be available and set him to work. He came back to us with some beautifully crafted swells that had been scored out for each instrument. The musicians then recorded their parts and sent them back to be edited and mapped into Kontakt.

Its worth noting that these recordings were made during the first stages of lockdown in the UK, and due to the variance in our players home recording setups some fairly rudimentary record equipment was used, including phone voice memos, laptop microphones, cameras and basic podcasting microphones.

Dan explaining his process for developing this library in this video from his YouTube channel.

Dan has done an insane job of blending all of these together into a form that feels cohesive and part of the same instrument, and its interesting to see that the logistical limitations of this project did not have a negative effect on the end product.

We hope that you all enjoy creating music with this library, and can find it to be a source of inspiration and creativity! Thanks again to Dan for being such a brilliant collaborator on this project and for producing such an excellent library. You really have done an outstanding job here and we are sure that the community will take this very positively. You can download NFO: Orchestral Swells for free on the Pianobook website:

We hope you enjoyed this article!


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