Rhythmic Robot's Elektrik Kalimba is a hybrid instrument bringing together the character of a three-octave African thumb piano (or Kalimba, MBira, Marimba, Karimba... it has a lot of names) and the body and weight of a classic electric piano. It is designed to be expressive and playable and is capable of holding down a traditional EP role in a track – though with a unique identity of its own – or of moving into more overt world-music territory; it can even sound a little like a steel drum with the right settings. Thumb noise attack and release samples can be adjusted individually in level, and are randomly picked from multiple round-robin samples to ensure a very organic, natural response. Meanwhile, tremolo and overdrive controls mimic the kind of effects typically associated with classic American electric pianos.
The result is a genuinely unusual keyboard instrument that can sound mellow and warm like an EP, but with a subtle hint of thumb-rattle and tine buzz; or can stretch to full-on African-inspired percussive effects with the thumb noise controls turned up.
Elektrik Kalimba is available now from Rhythmic Robot, and requires Kontakt version 4.2.3 or later to run (including Kontakt 5). Not compatible with Kontakt Player.