ANITRA – PRODUCED BY ANDY BLANEY SOLELY ON SPITFIRE (WITH EXCEPTION TO CHOIR)
I’ve got to admit to feeling just a bit excited about the result of using all Spitfire on this piece and, whilst there’s always going to be a huge difference between what samples can offer and a real band, it’s probably the first virtually realised track of mine that I can listen to without feeling like I might vomit in places.
I hear so many mockups and a number of them very well written, but I just can’t seem to get past that huge, sonic, emotional barrier of the virtual orchestra. For me, it gets in the way of any true appreciation of the music (a vast number of my own pieces are included in this). Thankfully, I don’t believe that samples will truly ever replace what eighty people in a hall, or even one person in a room, is capable of, but being able to communicate musical ideas and emotions without access to human beings is an important part of what we are often asked to do. Spitfire has begun to break down that barrier for me.
The piece is a reworking/orchestration of Grieg’s Anitra’s Dance from Peer Gynt and I wanted it to sound as if someone like Ravel had got hold of it and given it a shake, oh and hopefully a bit of Blaney too. One of the aims of Spitfire has been to try to create patches that allow you to write what’s in your head rather than wholly for what sounds best with the samples. So I’ve tried a few things that I might normally shy away from when using the virtual orchestra. Has it always worked? I don’t know, but this approach is not only liberating but also speeds up the whole composing/orchestration process. I know there are a number of sample libraries available today that allow similar workflows but the fact that Spitfire comes almost premixed with the wonderful sound of the hall at Air, means that I didn’t even need to use one bit of reverb on the track. Anyway, hope you enjoy it.
Back by popular demand here’s a selection of walkthroughs of our extensive percussion module featuring Joby Burgess.
For more information on this module click HERE.
“EDIT” Please note the GUI has changed radically since these videos were made “/EDIT”.
These are non-vib (senza vibrato) to vibrato legato patches that we do not offer service support on as they are By-Popular-Demand “BPD”.
It is our policy to only release patches that we are happy with. It is quirk of the hall at Air that when playing a straight single note, the hall remains fairly dormant, the minute you move notes or even change bow it literally leaps into life. We have legato samples in our bespoke library that literally sound like they’re in a different room to pizzicatos, trills, trems and shorts, and it is the many years spent making this bespoke behemoth that has informed our approach with the legato solo strings.
With legato instruments we have recorded all the possible “in-between” notes. Kontakt recognises what interval you need and then cross fades into these “in-between” samples and out again into the long articulation. This works fairly well when the image is fairly smudged (i.e. has plenty of ambience) is part of a section (i.e. more than one instrument) or has a bit of life to it (vibrato, trem, a trill etc etc). So when presented with a non vibrato soloist playing directly underneath the tree we have understandable problems.
Here at Spitfire we don’t mind a quirk or slightly erroneous or “human” sample this is what adds humanity to the library. However, what we don’t like are artefacts that could be classed as technical errors. This is why we release this patch under duress as it’s quite easy to get things very wrong when using it. But the folks on the VI-CONTROL forum who support our efforts so enthusiastically persuaded us otherwise, hence it’s inclusion in this module.
Andy Blaney on using this patch:
“If you hand a performer a part, he or she will almost certainly include moments of NV as well as V in their performance, even if there’s no mention of vibrato on the page. So, it’s knowing when to change between them, to try and create something closer to a real performance. You’ll often hear string players playing into a note with NV which will then blossom into vib, or suddenly cutting the vib just before moving to a different pitch.
I’m not much of a string player and there are many here much more qualified than I to talk about the use of vibrato in string playing, but with a bit of careful thought about when to use the NV you should be able to get much better results. I suppose it’s quite similar to knowing how much of the portamento to use, and when.
Anyway, these are empty words without also providing something which backs up what I’m saying, so I’ve put together a quick demo as a screen cast so you can see at which points I’m moving the vibrato slider. We’re not saying the BPD patches are perfect but I truly believe there’s more potential in them that some of you may have missed. Don’t forget, keep your eye on the vibrato slider.”
Here’s his film:
For more information on Solo Strings click HERE.
We are constantly striving to make our library the best there is, and the Spitfire team is constantly working away tweaking scripts, and updating content. Indeed we have an enormous queue of content already recorded at the hall awaiting editing and implementation. But, as working composers too we also hate the full time job that can be updating and upgrading the software we already have and the disruption that this can cause…. “It was working yesterday, updated it, and now it’s broken”. We’ve all been there. This is why we offer only essential or “meaningful” updates here at Spitfire. We also pride ourselves on being a company that listens, which is why we have a policy of releasing whilst still in production. This is so we can take onboard people’s ideas and requests whilst there’s still a production pot to draw from.
99% of the feedback we get is overwhelmingly positive and people are using these libraries on major games, films, TV shows and record releases. We have well over a thousand customers but Spitfire still try and provide everyone with fast, friendly and personal responses.
We do however not make any bones about the fact that there are three of us, and we are all working composers. This along with the fact that competitors products are many many times the price of our own commercial efforts.
We like Albion and Percussion and the rest of our commercial library at the price point it is at, and it is sometimes tempting to have a larger team of programmers so we can issue more frequent updates, but we realise we can’t do both. We chose to remain a small friendly company, and to publicly state that we don’t do regular small updates, as we as composers find them annoying to keep up with.
Rest assured that the announced updates will appear as promised (around the start of the new year) and if we are to keep Spitfire in business, we do also need to work on a few new products, I hope that is obvious as with any company!
In the meantime, keep those requests coming in!
We chaps at Spitfire are delighted to announce SOLO STRINGS – our forthcoming library of three extraordinary soloists recorded in the wonderful Air Studios in London.
The library will be released on Nov 14th. You will need the full version of Kontakt 4 to use the library, which will be watermarked to protect your investment.
The ethos of this library is to provide a tool for sketching out Soloist lines, for adding detail to your existing libs, and with an absolute minimum of fuss, to get a superb sound out of the box.
To that end, we have carefully selected the most useful articulations, and recorded them in two ways, the legato patches have a single mixed mic balance, with a control to allow you to vary the size of the Hall reverb tails. The reason for this is that solo strings legato with multiple mics in our experience, is not with our current technology controllable enough for us to guarantee a perfect sound whatever mix you choose.
However, outside of legato, we have multimic patches with three user controllable mic positions, so that you can still have a lot of control over the sound you want.
In short, a very useful addition to any composer’s toolkit, with the sound and passion of world class players in a great studio.
The price is £179 RRP (plus VAT @20% if you are in Europe.)
Demos will come over the next few weeks, for now we are still busy refining and making things perfect, but we wanted to give plenty of time for our clients to plan their preorder purchase.
Here are some more details about the articulations. We have enough material to construct separate Violin 2 patches as well, which we will be working on prior to release.
V1.0 will include:
Violin: (Andrew Haveron)
3x True legato: Slurred, Bowed & Portamento
Longs MV (molto vibrato)
Longs V (vibrato)
Longs NV (senza vibrato or no vib’)
Spiccato RR (round robin) x4
Staccato RR x4
Harmonics short RR x4
Viola: (Bruce White)
2x True legato: Slurred & Portamento
Spiccato RR x4
Staccato RR x4
‘Cello: (Caroline Dale)
3x True legato: Slurred, Bowed & Portamento
Spiccato RR x4
Harmonics short RR x4
We will be going back into the hall in the new-year to pick up some missing articulations but wanted to get you guys a working V1.0 so we can get feedback before completing production.
THIS WILL BE A WATERMARKED LIBRARY AVAILABLE FROM US DIRECT AND REQUIRES A FULL VERSION OF NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KONTAKT TO RUN.
FOR WIP TECHNICAL DEMOS GO HERE.