Panning for Audio Gold
Beautifully crafted steel pans presented in two forms; for use with orchestral material on Films, TV, & Games, to a fantastic selection of presets designed for use on modern RnB and EDM hosted on our popular eDNA engine. From hauntingly beautiful soft layers to searing metallic bites. Session star Frank Ricotti takes us on yet another adventure on the greatest scoring stage in the world.
Having grown up in Notting Hill, Spitfire's Christian Henson has always had a fascination with steel drums or "pans". Not only for their evocative qualities of limes, barbecued jerk, plantain and rum on sandy beaches in Trinidad. But also for their deeply emotional mellow tones, sub-bass harmonics and rich timbral and dynamic range. Having worked with Frank Ricotti on many percussion projects (including the seminal Hans Zimmer percussion range) it was only a matter of time before Christian requested we get some pans into our favourite place to record, the hall at Air Studios, London for a sampling study of steel!
Originally of Trinidadian tradition, using bamboo sticks to hit kitchenware, trash cans and drums had grown into a movement that saw its first all steel bands in the 1930s and by the 1940s had become a popular carnival instrument. 55 gallon oil drums were first employed for this use in the late 40s and made an appearance at the festival of Britain in 1951. Steel pans have echoed round the streets of London's Holland Park and Ladbroke Grove since the inception of the Notting Hill Carnival in 1966 and have become an integral part of the world's second biggest street party ever since. They can also be found on seminal works by Jaco Pastorius and the scores of Cliff Martinez and Hans Zimmer and in 2016 became very much the 'zeitgeist' sound on popular dance, RnB tracks on airwaves across the globe.
Frank Ricotti is a living legend. Beyond being one of the most in demand percussionists in the world for the top recording artists, he has played on innumerable film scores such as Inception, Skyfall, Twilight Saga, Madagascar, Interstellar, Narnia, Fantastic Mr Fox, Dark Knight, Bourne series.. There isn't an hour in the day where, somewhere in the world, his playing isn't being broadcasted.
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.
If you want the definitive and classiest steel drums library, you'll find no competition!
Having a long relationship with applied media composition our first task was to record steel drums for a multitude of uses, so it was essential different microphone positions were captured for different perspectives. So our standard orchestral 'tree' array was employed for those who wish to employ these exotic drums into their orchestral film, games, TV and concert works. But also closer and more focused positions for those wanting to embrace the current zeitgeist of steel pans on their RnB & EDM tracks.
The steel drums are deep sampled, with pristine management of the harmonic language of the drums to give a versatile and really touching tone at the softer levels, almost so they're not immediately recognisable as steel pans. To the louder, brasher dynamic layers which have an unashamed Caribbean 'splang'!
We present our Steel drums with two interfaces, the standard "multi mic" designed for those familiar with our orchestral range, with front-end instant tweaking of articulations and microphones being used. We have also loaded the steel drums into our popular super-tweakable, eDNA engine with dozens of amazing 'spring out of the box' presets designed by our award winning team of composers, producers and sound designers.