Best Service Shevannai The Voice of the Elves Review

This latest Best Service collection could bring out your inner Elf. Eärendur Mithrandír dons cape and whispers ‘Enni e bain’…


Price £119/€149
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Minimum System Requirements – PC Windows – Mac OSX 10.6

So is Elvish (or Elven) now a ‘proper’ language? It’s one question, among others, that sprang to mind when looking through the feature set of Shevannai, the latest instrument/library from Best Service, because whether the answer is yes or no, Elvish now has its own sample collection. Described as the perfect tool for designers to create ambience for films, Shevannai is all about fantasy, Elvish voices, soundscapes and vocal phrases – 4,000 in total – that will take your music to other realms, planets and parallel universes. Places where Elvish really is a language.

Make Kontakt
Shevannai is a boxed or download collection that runs through Kontakt Player (supplied) and essentially comprises three different sets of collections: Voices, Phrases and Soundscapes. Within Voices you get five legatos (the vowel sounds) plus 33 words (variations of consonant sounds). Clever use of Kontakt’s keyswitching (in Solo mode) enables you to hold down a note, select another type and morph between the two, thus creating ‘proper’ words or variations. Importantly, the voices haven’t been recorded with any vibrato, which if required can be added using the mod wheel. Also in the Voices section is a set of inhales, which can be placed before your Voices notes to add realism.

Speak up
Next up is the Phrases section, which comprises spoken and whispered (long and short) words in Elvish (or Elven – see box for more on the language). The most useful here are probably the whispered ones, which could add a lot of atmosphere – menace, even – to a broader sweep of genres. The spoken ones, though, as good as they are, are really just useful in out-and-out fantasy.


Finally, there is a great section focusing on Soundscapes. This is full of choir-like sounds and just plain out-there atmospheres, and features some superbly wafting ambience which is incredibly inspiring. Each preset tends to consist of four parts, so there is a lot going on and you can adjust the volume of each part to create your own pad variations. Indeed, within each section of Shevannai there is plenty of control over your sounds (easy adding of reverb, for example), making the whole package very easy to use.

Good Elf?
The problem, if there is one, is not of quality or price as the recordings are pristine and beautiful and the price is very reasonable. It’s more to do with the narrow focus of the collection. The soundscapes are excellent and I will be using them and the whispers in projects that need that kind of distant atmosphere. But some of the rest won’t get used simply because, and very sadly, I’m not involved composition for Elvish projects (but I am open to offers if you need any doing!). As a quality collection for a very specific job, however, Shevannai is excellent.