More than £4000 raised last month for our labs charities. Many thanks as always for your generous donations.

It’s been a busy month here at Spitfire and we have to thank you again for such generous contributions to the Labs causes, helping children’s charities both here in the UK and globally. We’re proud to announce that we kept donations above the £4k mark with a grand total of £4,104 all in 2 quids!

Most of our time this month has been taken up with the launch of our new Albion V Tundra product, which has harnessed immense orchestral forces playing at the very edge of silence. In this month’s newsletter we focus on one of the key experimental Labs that influenced Albion V and talk about an all new labs instrument which is derived from those extraordinary Tundra sessions in The Hall at Air Studios, London.

Introducing... Permafrost Strings

We’re delighted to offer up some of the samples we recorded for the Albion V Tundra sessions as part of the Labs range. Featuring a string band of 20 1st Violins, 18 2nd Violins, NO Violas, 12 Cellos, and 6 Basses, recorded in “Antiphon” (violins left and right, cellos and basses centre) playing at the very edge of silence. Stanley takes us through a very unique experiment he has carried out to produce the all new Permafrost Strings.

“During the recordings for Albion V, Christian wondered if there was a way to hear everything but the note itself. After a bit of thought, I put together this tester patch as a way of just doing that. We’ve removed the fundamental note and its harmonics from a set of tremolo gypsy harmonics recorded in Air Lyndhurst for Albion V. Placing these as the soft dynamic layer, and tweaked originals as the top layer, you can control the amount of tone with the mod wheel. This creates an eerie sheen with a slightly synthetic feel.”

HOW LABS FUELS LEARNING

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How we made... Frozen Strings

Christian talks to us about the genesis of his popular “Frozen” strings instruments.

Like so many of our Labs instruments, Frozen Strings are part of my personal collection of sample sessions for specific projects. I have found, particularly for multi episodic TV series, that there are limits to what you can do with big live bands. Sometimes, it’s finance; often it can be the union restrictions (“you can record me, but only for one episode”), but more often than not the schedules simply won’t allow time for orchestration, copying, recording and mixing. My workaround is to get grab-bags of samples for a project. I pay musicians the top scale sampling rate, which means I have no restrictions on their use. As part of the early stages of production I would have created a theme suite, so I will get the musos to play different iterations of that, along with building blocks of compositions at different speeds and pitches. So: ostinatos, pads, chords and rhythms. But also the ubiquitous multisample.

I was hired in on a detective procedural, which again had a lot of lead time - they were shooting forever - but an absolute bitch of a post production schedule. So I went into one of the new studios at Tileyard in Kings Cross and got some amazing string players to play some cold, frozen sounding strings, including my very first experiment with ‘super sul tasto’. The instruction for the latter was “divisi”, with half of you playing so far up the neck there is no audible tone - just the sound of rosin - and the rest of you playing at the very edge of where there is an audible tone. Whilst these patches have gone on to be favourites both in our symphonic strings range, and the even more epic Tundra, there is something beautifully haunting about this smaller, dryer and closer section. The feedback from these strings over the last few months, and the amount it has raised for charity, convinced us that the epic Tundra odyssey was one worth undertaking!