Spitfire Audio has released Fractured Strings, created in close collaboration with Bleeding Fingers Music, the Emmy Award-winning and BAFTA Award-nominated composer collective, hand-selected and mentored by Hans Zimmer.
They say that it introduces a novel approach to articulations as a new kind of chamber string library featuring a 10-piece ensemble inspired by the Arctic and brought to life in the unparalleled acoustics of Lyndhurst Hall in London's AIR Studios. Here's their press release with the details...
Being billed as a journey through Earth's frozen worlds, home to unique and remarkable wildlife, it is little wonder that Santa Monica, CA, USA-based Bleeding Fingers Music were looking for a library that could not only support scenes of frozen silence but also scenes of action, tension, crisis, and drama when composers Hans Zimmer, James Everingham, and Adam Lukas started scoring the small screen wonder that is Frozen Planet II, the 2022-broadcast British nature documentary series co- produced by the BBC and The Open University as a sequel to 2011's Frozen Planet. Putting it this way, James Everingham and Adam Lukas collectively comment: "Early on in the process of scoring Frozen Planet II, we looked at the patterns of splintering ice and the individuality of snowflakes; in creating FRACTURED STRINGS, we worked closely with the Spitfire [Audio] team and London's best players to represent these natural phenomena in musical performances -- creating a toolkit that became the foundation of our score for the show."
Serious demands demand serious solutions, so a small section of London's finest string players were brought by the Spitfire Audio team tasked with bringing Bleeding Fingers Music's requirements to life in the unparalleled acoustics of Lyndhurst Hall -- home to many a blockbuster film scoring session by Hans Zimmer and many more -- in London's legendary AIR Studios. The ten players concerned closely collaborated with the Bleeding Fingers Music team and Spitfire Audio's own collective of composers, conductors, and engineers there to create a vast suite of intricate decorations, leaps, and swells.
So who better to formally introduce the finished FRACTURED STRINGS, then, than Spitfire Audio co-founder Paul Thomson -- truly no stranger to the wonderful world of music-to-picture scoring himself as an English composer for film, television, and video games, as well as a music technologist to boot: "This is our latest collaboration with Bleeding Fingers [Music], and it is a set of unique and original content made for the BBC show Frozen Planet II. It showcases a huge amount of string articulations and gestures -- wispy, ice-y, ethereal fragments that we have never before recorded, and that you can't play very easily with existing string libraries."
Indeed, its resulting sound makes for a sublime companion to other outstanding Spitfire Audio libraries recorded at AIR Studios -- such as ALBION NEO (https://www.spitfireaudio.com/albion-neo), OLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS (https://www.spitfireaudio.com/olafur-arnalds-chamber-evolutions), and SPITFIRE CHAMBER STRINGS (https://www.spitfireaudio.com/spitfire-chamber-strings), yet FRACTURED STRINGS truly lives in a world of its own making -- as evidenced by the numerous key features highlighted in the various display modes available in its easy-on-the-eye UI (User Interface). Its seven diatonic modes each play their part in the musical proceedings; Paul Thomson duly draws attention, however, to one mode in particular: "Something new that we've developed specifically for this library is called SCALE MODE, and it intelligently selects the right samples, so that you can conform to a specific scale that you enter on the UI. As I play softly, I get the smallest interval, but if I play harder, I get a wider interval. So while the engine is selecting the correct samples to conform to the scale that you've entered, they're then split by velocity, so as you play -- just from the pressure that you're putting on the keyboard -- you can get these really amazingly creative and inspirational different kinds of textures. We've also got dynamic control, so you can shape things as much as you want in that way as well."
And as if that was not exciting enough in itself, FRACTURED STRINGS also comes complete with no fewer than 54 Violin articulations -- comprising 15 Statements (Up/Down/ Same note); 10 Splinters (Up/Down); 14 Rotations (Up/Down); seven Dispersals; three Declamatory Shorts; two Pizzicato Strums; and three 7th Reaches -- and 51 Celli articulations -- comprising 15 Statements (Up/Down/Same note); 10 Splinters (Up/Down); 14 Rotations (Up/Down); seven Dispersals; three Declamatory Shorts; and two Pizzicato Strums -- to its notable name; picking up on some of those technological breakthroughs, Paul Thomson adds: "Again, the approach here is to stay within this sound world of these kind of really beautiful gestures, so -- to that end -- we've recorded three different styles of Declamatory Shorts. Staying within the same sound world, we have these Splinters, and these are, again, a kind of beautiful, ice-y gesture -- things that, when performed, you can immediately hear the emotion behind them, but they're very difficult to reproduce using standard string libraries. Rotations are a really inspirational way of getting something that has a feel of aleatoric style, but it's very tightly controlled and defined -- and you get the same thing when you play it back, so it's not picking randomly, because you're actually controlling the intervals that you're getting, so you definitely get the same thing when you play it back again, but it gives you the ability to improvise something within the parameters that you've given the UI."
Ultimately, that UI provides easy access to a wealth of key features, including 15 signal paths, mic settings, and an already-familiar (Evo) GRID mode -- not forgetting 42 Violin Fractures (orchestral flourishes, covering 10 varieties of chords), nine Solo Violin articulations (arpeggios across a range of chords), and nine Solo Celli articulations (arpeggios across a range of chords). Combining to offer a spectrum of sounds and textures that really reflect the planet's fuller-voiced, more melodic moments -- from microscopic to grand gestures, FRACTURED STRINGS is a library with potential beyond the world's end.
Ending on a high note, Bleeding Fingers Music co-founder and CEO Russell Emanuel notes: "Creating these instruments in partnership with Spitfire Audio is what sets our scores apart on tent-pole projects like those for the BBC Natural History Unit." As a toolkit that became the foundation of the score for Frozen Planet II, clearly FRACTURED STRINGS succeeded in its musical mission of not only supporting scenes of frozen silence but also scenes of action, tension, crisis, and drama -- designed as it is to infuse any gestures, leaps, and cellular motif anyone might compose with warmth, colour, and humanity.
Pricing and Availability:
RRP: £249 / $299 / 299€
Promo Period: £199 / $229 / 229€
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