Spaced Out Sounds with Spitfire Audio: Kepler Orchestra

Complex poly rhythms? Cyclical scales? Inspired by Terry Riley and Philip Glass? That was more than enough to get me interested.. Along with the Johannes Kepler title reference, it felt like this sample library was made specifically for my own tastes!

Spitfire Audio’s KEPLER ORCHESTRA — like many of their top tier libraries (such as the Bernard Hermann toolkit review I posted a while back), was recorded at London’s legendary AIR Studios’ Studio 1. The entire polyrhythms feature is centred around their newly developed and rather impressive sounding, “interactive Systems Grid articulation mapping tool”, based on its innovative Evo Grid technology, which apparently will “allow anyone to easily write and create complex polyrhythms a la late-20th Century composers like John Adams, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley”, that’s me basically sold then!

The ‘Evo Grid’ is a fairly novel matrix approach to creating the poly rhythms, something I like about using modular synthesisers is running a sequencer module alongside a traditional DAW sequencer and this feels a along those lines, breaking out of the linear comfort can often result in an interesting (or accidental?) spark of inspiration. The grid itself is split by time divisions — duplet (pair of equal notes to be performed in the time of three), triplet (group of three equal notes to be performed in the time of two or four), quintuplet (group of five notes to be performed in the time of three or four), and septuplet (group of seven notes to be performed in the time of four or six), tempo locked to the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), which allows users to quickly create sophisticated combinations of different rhythms. I’ll be looking into mapping this to my Kenton midi controller to jam on-the-fly.

kepler orchestra, with new evo grid for repeating notes

In practice, one thing I did notice using the evo grid, is some of my arpeggiations/polyrhythms would result in audible clicks when changing chords, even after some meticulous quantising and aligning, this was with only one track and hitting around 38% CPU. I’m hoping this is a bug that will be remedied in an update, because it made some of my takes unusable.

warped instruments

Also included, is the complementary ‘warped’ instruments, which is a welcome surprise! A really nice sounding ambient synth with lots of variations to accompany the ‘main’ orchestral section, these ran without any of the glitches I was experiencing earlier.

Kepler Orchestra will be available at a special promotional price of £199 direct from the Spitfire site until 6th June 2019.

Audified DW Drum Enhancer

Czech plug-in developers Audified, known for their meticulous recreations of rare outboard equipment, have teamed up with DWe (Drum Workshop Electronics) to create a new drum-focused processor. Designed to speed up your workflow when processing drums, the Drum Enhancer has specifically designed parameters designed simplify and speed up working with drum and percussive sounds.

Continue reading “Audified DW Drum Enhancer”

Get Mangled With Eventide!

Eventide return with another one of their great algorithms lifted from the H9 effects pedal. I first came across the MangledVerb in their Space pedal. It combined nice distortion with strange modulated reverb tails, I actually always preferred this algorithm to the more famous ‘Black Hole’ setting also on the Space and H9 pedals. This is part of a series of plug in releases from the aforementioned H9 pedal (you can see my UltraTap review here)

Continue reading “Get Mangled With Eventide!”

Newfangled Music Elevation!

I wouldn’t call myself a mastering engineer by trade, although I have mastered a lot of tracks for different labels and artists over the years and continue to do so. I also taught audio mastering for a number of years at a higher education college. So I have a fairly good handle on what sounds good to my ears and how various tools are used for the process of enhancing audio, in the digital domain at least.

Continue reading “Newfangled Music Elevation!”

Spectral Soundscapes, with SpecOps

Glitch plugins. To be honest, I cant stand them and I’ve used most of them over the years. From SupaTrigga and Buffer Override, to dBlue Glitch and Reaktor patches like ‘The Finger’ etc. They all provided  instant “wow” sounding FX, however they are so obvious, it’s like putting a time-stamp on your track saying “this was made in 20xx”. I kind of cringe whenever I hear them on a record (especially my own releases) as it just screams lazy producer to me. Anyway, flash forward to 2017 and Unfiltered Audio SpecOps brand new audio manipulation effect drops in my mailbox and it’s super quick to get up and running using the slick Plugin Alliance online registration. Continue reading “Spectral Soundscapes, with SpecOps”

NUGEN Add Nu Encoding Flavours

If you are in the business of producing audio, in the majority of cases this will be consumed online in some form or another. Even vinyl or cassette only releases will most likely have an online streaming preview uploaded somewhere. The trouble with streaming music online, is there is a myriad of services, many of which use different compression codecs (mp3, AAC etc) and more recently, incorporate loudness normalisation. This means your ultra-compressed loud dance track may get attenuated by the playback service (iTunes Radio or Spotify for example), so making your tracks ‘louder’ does not necessarily work to your benefit in these contexts.

Continue reading “NUGEN Add Nu Encoding Flavours”

Audified Hits The Sweet Spot

The RZ062, as you may or may not be aware, were originally designed in 1960s Germany and were installed in mixing consoles to produce particular tonal colouring and a certain acoustic impression. Unlike today’s modern EQ’s, the RZ062 were designed with fixed bandwidths that simultaneously boost and cut on the selected bandwidth, something that I have not personally come across before and had me somewhat intrigued from the start. Brief history lesson over.

Continue reading “Audified Hits The Sweet Spot”

Find Your Inner Space, With Fiedler Audio’s Stage

A lot of my current output, both for upcoming releases and for tv/media, have been composed ‘live’ on my modular synth. I tend to record a few takes in one shot, until I get something that I’m happy with as a complete piece. Once I have a stereo file I am content with, I will apply various mastering processes in the box to get the audio sounding balanced and enhanced as appropriate.

Continue reading “Find Your Inner Space, With Fiedler Audio’s Stage”