Throughout its history, Spitfire Audio have managed to strike an interesting balance between offering highly detailed traditional orchestral sample libraries (like Spitfire Studio Orchestra, reviewed in July's SOS) and more unconventional offerings, which present orchestral sounds in off-the-wall, arguably more creative libraries.
Kepler Orchestra, which was launched down at Spitfire's London HQ recently, falls into the latter category, coupling beautifully recorded performances of traditional orchestral sections and marrying them to Spitfire’s Systems Grid performance technology. As we discovered at the launch event, the result is an orchestral instrument that encourages the rapid creation of very diverse polyrhythmic sequences full of movement — hence the VI’s name, from the German renaissance man who did much to map the maths of planetary and orbital movement.
With the Systems Grid — a development of Spitfire’s Evo Grid performance technology — users can choose note centres for each of the instruments playing in the sequence on the X-axis, and select a rhythmic feel for each one on the Y-axis. It’s easy to generate complex new rhythmic material, but the grid’s finite choices ensure that the results are always musically and rhythmically interesting, and also natural-sounding. Many of the VI’s articulations have also been created to accentuate the sense of movement, for example the ‘Bass Dopplers’, which change in pitch and volume, swelling as they seem to approach and falling off in both pitch and volume as the instruments ‘pass’, and there are many others. For more on the details of this versatile VI, see Spitfire co-founder Paul Thomson’s video walkthrough on Kepler Orchestra below.
Kepler Orchestra requires the full version of NI’s Kontakt or Kontakt Player 5.6.8 or higher. It retails for £249 in the UK$299 in the USA and is out now.