Spitfire Audio adds another ‘off-grid’ twist to evolving, EMS VCS3-inspired VIs for its Producer Portfolio
Spitfire Audio, purveyors of the finest virtual instruments from the finest musical samples in the world, is proud to announce availability of PP025 EVO GRID 004 WOODWINDS, the latest creative chapter in its evocatively- named, evolving EVO GRID series of ‘off-grid’ sample-based virtual instruments initially inspired by the trailblazing late-Sixties-vintage EMS VCS3 portable analogue monosynth and perfectly executed for the Native Instruments KONTAKT platform-compatible Producer Portfolio range — itself launched to satisfy repeated requests for drier- sounding, more manipulative samples for more non-orchestral material, as of September 20th.
Following on from the success of Spitfire Audio’s prototypical PP017 EVO GRID 001 STRINGS and its phenomenal PP020 EVO GRID 002 STRINGS followup, as implied by name, PP025 EVO GRID 004 WOODWINDS takes the so-called ‘Evo’ concept from its inception in strings into the wonderful world of woodwinds. What is an Evo, exactly? Evos are hyper-long, sample-based articulations that evolve — sometimes subtly, sometimes severely — over time before looping. These are then organised on a grid so users can plot which evolution or ‘Evo’ sits on which key range, resulting in a GUI (Graphical User Interface) inspired by the breakthrough British EMS VCS3, which made musical history upon its introduction in 1969 by being the first commercially portable synthesiser available anywhere in the world, thanks to its innovative modular matrix-based patchboard dispensing with the telephone exchange-like cabling of other (much larger) modular systems in favour of making space-saving connections with (removable) coloured pins.
PP025 EVO GRID 004 WOODWINDS heads on a similarly flexible sonic bearing, but within the computer-hosted context of a truly 21st Century sample-based virtual instrument fit for ‘off-grid’ minimal musical explorations. Employing some of the UK’s finest, most progressive, and avant-garde woodwind players performing beautifully-orchestrated long notes that increase in intensity and expression, evolving into out-of-this world soundscapes, this eclectic collection of woodwind evolutions designed by Ben Foskett foster an exceptional edge to anyone’s musical endeavours. Returning to record at the ultra-dry, yet warm-sounding surroundings of Central London’s Air-Edel Recording Studios using the finest vintage microphones, Neve preamps, and the last Cadac studio console ever built, ‘Foskett & Co.’ set about creating a product that oozes originality and positively provides inspiration to all that use it. The result? 3,312 superlative samples — some 18.5GB of uncompressed .WAV files — that do just that by doing things with woodwinds that are totally unexpected, yet uniquely musical in execution.
At Air-Edel Recording Studios two subtly different performing lineups — Band A comprising FLUTE (3), ALTO FLUTE (1), BASS FLUTE (1), CONTRA BASS FLUTE (1), Bb CLARINET (3), and Bb BASS CLARINET (3); Band B comprising OBOE (3), COR ANGLAIS (2), Bb CLARINET (2), Bb BASS CLARINET (1), Bb BASS CLARINET (1), BARITONE SAX (1), and BASSOON (3) — led Spitfire Audio to ultimately provide PP025 EVO GRID 004 WOODWINDS users with a nuanced selection of sounds. Some are more reedy-sounding, others more flutey. This time the resultant Evo count stands at a healthy 48 spread across 12 pitch regions — including an additional five grids of wonderfully-warped, saturated, and totally transformed versions of each and every Evo — resulting in an almost infinite number of possibilities. Pressing the save button is important… all the more so given the many randomisation options that are also provided!
Fortunately for (potential) PP025 EVO GRID 004 WOODWINDS purchasers, Spitfire Audio has helpfully seen fit to carefully curate those extraordinary Evos into a number of spring-right-out-of-the-box-style patches — from seemingly-simple tutti-type affairs, featuring all Evos evenly spread across the keyboard, through to various diagonal patterns, as well as a handy feature for randomly creating pinned patterns from the near-infinite number of configuration possibilities — perfectly demonstrating not only the tense and extreme elements of the library but also the effortlessly-engaging ‘episodic’ Evos! Easily-accessible front panel-positioned FX controls (for Reverb, Delay, and Tape Sat.) help make this into a tool truly designed for producers — hence the Producer Portfolio range association, as well as composers, editors, and sound designers alike. Anyone needing a spellbinding solution from the moment they touch the keyboard, in other words! Like the self-explanatory SIMPLE TENSE SCARY subtitling of the PP017 EVO GRID 001 STRINGS and TRADITIONAL EPISODIC EXTREME subtitling of PP020 EVO GRID 002 STRINGS before it, PP025 EVO GRID 004 WOODWINDS can be as time-saving as the trailblazing EMS VCS3 was once space-saving.
Saying that, PP025 EVO GRID 004 WOODWINDS perfectly compliments that recently-released PP017 EVO GRID 001 STRINGS sample-based virtual instrument — an extraordinary collection of long, evolving chamber strings orchestrated by Ben Foskett before being given Spitfire Audio’s adventurous Evo treatment — and its PP020 EVO GRID 002 STRINGS sibling. Says Spitfire Audio Director Paul Thomson: “We’ve got a collection of incredible players here — very progressive, avant-garde wind players, playing beautifully-orchestrated long notes from Ben Foskett that evolve with increases in intensity and expression and different techniques to give you a really beautiful series of long, evolving tones that you can use to work with in a similar way to the STRINGS EVO GRID releases. The EVO GRID GUI is the same as before, so you’ll recognise all of the controls. There are lots and lots of possibilities — millions of possibilities, in fact, so it’s a really creative tool. We’re very proud of it. It’s very different from the strings evolutions that we’ve put out so far, but it’s very, very useful.”
Indeed it is. In this day and age of delivering more musical content against a backdrop of diminishing deadlines and budgetary constraints, composers are often asked to engage the listener by doing very little — least of all changing notes, all those EVO GRID releases represent Spitfire Audio’s masterplan for providing them with a solution to this taxing conundrum. Just ask award-winning composer — and fellow Spitfire Audio Director Christian Henson. Commissioned to write 13 hours of music for a sprawling, epic TV series, but with no budget for orchestra and only three months in which to do it, a quick string sampling session subsequently ensued, during which he fortuitously recorded a series of greatly differing long strings evolutions. Staggered by the resulting sample instrument, where the chaotic nature of different evolutions placed over different intervals made for exciting and unexpected results, he semi-seriously stated, “I could literally hit a big C minor chord, hold my sustain pedal down, reach for my sandwich, and the thing would still be writing itself a minute later while I was wiping mayo off my beard!” From the smallest seed… and all that jazz.
PP025 EVO GRID 004 WOODWINDS and its PP017 EVO GRID 001 STRINGS and PP020 EVO GRID 002 STRINGS sample-based virtual instrument siblings can be purchased and downloaded directly from Spitfire Audio for £179.00 GBP (subject to VAT within the EU) from here: http://www.spitfireaudio.com/products-page (Note that Spitfire Audio’s free Download Manager application for Mac or PC allows you to buy now and download anytime while a full version of Native Instruments KONTAKT 5 is needed to run these Producer Portfolio products.)
Watch Spitfire Audio co-founder and Director Paul Thomson’s telling PP025 EVO GRID 004 WOODWINDS video walkthrough here:
Watch Spitfire Audio co-founder and Director Paul Thomson’s telling PP020 EVO GRID 002 STRINGS video walkthrough here:
For more in-depth information, including two awe-inspiring audio demos from Spitfire Audio co-founder and Director Christian Henson, please visit the PP017 EVO GRID 001 STRINGS webpage here: http://www.spitfireaudio.com/evo-grid-1
Watch Spitfire Audio co-founder and Director Christian Henson’s helpful PP017 EVO GRID 001 STRINGS video walkthrough here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwxM14oSZnY