Mandolin Swarm

Capt. Corelli Overload

19 guitarists, a perfect blend based on a series of test sessions; charangos, mandolins, ukuleles were placed in pairs between ribbon microphones around the hall at Air Studios. It has to be heard to be understood.

Swarm Playbutton

Swarming Simplicity - Oliver Patrice Weder (0:00 / 2:08)

The Swarm - Oliver Patrice Weder (0:00 / 2:31)

Product Info

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Overview

Christian was commissioned to write a film in September 2014. A film operatic in its expanse with acres of space, time and air to let the score sing. Always a fan of the work of Terence Malick, Christian observed arcing fields of barley, a climax which filled a film lens with exploding teardrops of rain. How best to create something unique enough to illustrate these chaotic patterns of beauty? Spitfire carried out a test with a group of guitarists playing all around the hall at Air. The results were sublime, from a beautiful patina of plucked notes, to a jet of long tones created by a multitude of chaotic un-measured trems played by players all over the room. The combination of sublime players, sublime instruments and an expansive room, proved a heady mix.

With lessons learned we returned to Air Studios, but this time with a “Swarm” of players. 19 in total, playing a specially selected blend of instruments to balance out dominant characteristics, sense of geographical place and sheer sonic beauty. Over a period of days we found the perfect mix of Charangos, Ukuleles and Mandolins to offer up a worldly but also unearthly set of tools.

Whilst the upper dynamic layers provided shocking drama and definition it was the quieter and quietest layers that offered most intrigue, so with the idea of having a total surround effect of players, this posed difficulties with micing. Jake Jackson attacked this challenge with gusto, elevating a second tree and third ambient and outrigger to create a perfect symmetry between every player. What is more, by placing the guitarists in pairs either side of a Coles 4038, the players became their own reflection filters, providing a shockingly dry signal with these figure of eight mics.

The sessions ended on a hair-raising set of slowly played chords. When combined with Blake's excellent scripting and our gang of talented programmers, producers and composers, we are sure you'll agree that Swarm is out-of-the-box inspiration, of a very very special kind.

Background

Spitfire Audio has curated a useful set of articulations with this extraordinary band with multiple dynamic layers and round robins. The players were placed in three waves: the first 7 huddled around the first tree, the second 6 around the second tree, and the third 6 guitarists in each gallery quadrant.

One of the key areas of interest with this instrument type is the tremolandi. You have control not only of the dynamic level of these extraordinarily long articulations, but also the speed. From a gentle trickle to a haze of notes. We also have two sets of measured trems that, depending on the application, can sync to your host tempo with varying levels of tightness.

Combined with the majesty of the hall at Air, that signal chain, that 2” tape, Jake Jackson’s mastery of the room and the mixes, and a beautifully programmed instrument, we’re sure you’ll agree you’ve just laid your hands on something truly special.

Spitfire’s Definitive Range aims to offer the world a one-stop shop for classic and esoteric instruments played by the greats. As all these instruments are recorded in situ, in the same room, they’re designed to lock together sonically, whether it be timpani from the percussion range, coupled with your Sable libraries, or indeed a more curious band made up of the Hg20, a plucked piano and a harp, it is designed to sound like they’re together in the same room.

We provide a series of detailed mixing options that allow you to dry the sound up or make it more ambient, whilst preserving the acoustic integrity and perspective of a consistent microphone set up and room configuration. The instruments are all sampled in great detail but designed to play easily out-of-the-box, with simple integration into larger arrangements and templates without risk of demanding too much from your system resources.

Recorded by Jake Jackson at Lyndhurst Hall, Air Studios, on one of the finest scoring stages in the world, through an array of vintage microphones via Neve “Montserrat” pre-amps, to a beautifully serviced Studer 2” tape machine and then into digital at 96k via Prism AD converters, this is an unparalleled signal chain.

Features

The library is presented with six microphone positions and three stereo mixes which you can not only mix and blend to fit the application you’re working on, but also automate for dramatic shifts in focus and depth. They're also fully output assignable for surround and 5.1 use. The definitive range is designed to fit in with Spitfire's entire orchestral canon, including Albion, BML and some of the Signature Range as if they're performing in the same room at the same time.

GUIs

The Overview Panel

This is the main interface for melodic instruments. Its default view displays all available playing techniques, has a simple microphone mixer and includes the main feature controllers.

General Controls Panel

This view allows further in-depth control of the instrument, showing all available signals and feature controllers, as well as the ability to purge techniques from memory to reduce system usage.

Presets / Techniques / Articulations / Mics / Mixes

Instruments main mics:

  • Big ensemble chords
  • Big ensemble
  • Small ensemble
COG patches:
  • Big ensemble chords
  • Big ensemble
  • Small ensemble
Individual patches:
  • Big ensemble - Long Chords
  • Big ensemble - Long Measured Tremolo 90bpm
  • Big ensemble - Long Measured Tremolo 120bpm
  • Big ensemble - Long Tremolo
  • Big ensemble - Short FX Behind Bridge
  • Big ensemble - Short Pluck Alt
  • Big ensemble - Short Pluck Muted
  • Big ensemble - Short Pluck
  • Small ensemble - Long Tremolo
  • Small ensemble - Short Pluck Muted
  • Small ensemble - Short Pluck
Time machine patches:
  • Big ensemble
  • Small ensemble

Instruments stereo mixes:

  • Big ensemble chords
  • Big ensemble
  • Small ensemble
COG patches:
  • Big ensemble chords
  • Big ensemble
  • Small ensemble
Individual patches:
  • Big ensemble - Long chords
  • Big ensemble - Long Measured Tremolo 90bpm
  • Big ensemble - Long Measured Tremolo 120bpm
  • Big ensemble - Long Tremolo
  • Big ensemble - Short FX Behind Bridge
  • Big ensemble - Short Pluck Alt
  • Big ensemble - Short Pluck Muted
  • Big ensemble - Short Pluck
  • Small ensemble - Long Tremolo
  • Small ensemble - Short Pluck Muted
  • Small ensemble - Short Pluck
Time machine patches:
  • Big ensemble
  • Small ensemble

Mics & Mixes

MICROPHONES

  • Close
  • Tree
  • Ambient
  • Outrigger
  • Tree 2
  • Gallery

MIXES

  • Fine
  • Medium
  • Broad