An intimate felted piano
Our second Spitfire collaboration is with BAFTA-winning, multi-instrumentalist producer and composer Ólafur Arnalds, who mixes organic instruments with loops and edgy beats to create textural tracks and scores, from ambient to electronic.
So many virtual instrument libraries are focused on the art of production, while the nuanced and beautiful Ólafur Arnalds Composer Toolkit was designed with the writer in mind. Ólafur conceived what would be his staple set of sounds that would enable him to continue to produce original, inspiring, and moving music, wherever he was in the world. Spitfire’s expert team of technicians, musicians, and engineers descended on Ólafur’s studio in Reykjavik, working closely with the composer to capture the essence of Ólafur’s approach and to harness the spirit of his surroundings.
Behind the samples
Ólafur Composer Toolkit is centered around a ‘felted’ antique 1904 Bechstein grand which was customized by Ólafur after several tests using various strips of felt. This was sampled in meticulous detail over several days to capture the subtle nuances of the softest layers. Fed through Ólafur’s vintage outboard, it was recorded ultra quiet — the levels of recording were so hyped that everyone in the room had to hold their breaths for the duration of every sound. The felt piano is presented with 4 unique signals; KM84, Coles, Processed, and Spaced. The KM84 signal is the pure sound of the small condensers, giving you a tight crisp sound. The Coles is a mono signal below the soundboard, processed through a Roland Space Echo as a LoFi tape simulation for a gritty low end. The processed signal is a mix of the KM84s with a pair of C12s, mixed by Ólafur into a pair of Pultec EQs, then slammed through an 1178 stereo compressor to give you the distinctive Arnalds sound. This processed sound has been paired with a ‘Spaced’ sound in a ‘Mixed’ patch that Ólafur has further processed creating a unique take on his signature piano.
To accompany and complement the felt piano, Ólafur has programmed and created various sonic manipulations of the original piano and other instruments, for instant inspiration.With nearly 100 presets, presented by type in Spitfire’s sophisticated Mercury synth engine, this library will enable your musical creativity to flow.
Ólafur Arnalds is a BAFTA-winning Icelandic composer and producer (Broadchurch, Kiasmos, Erased Tapes), known for his unique ambient electronic sound. He takes strings and pianos to a new place, treating them with effects and mixing them with loops and beats. His most recent albums include For Now I Am Winter, and The Chopin Project, a collaboration with classical pianist Alice Sara Ott. Based in Reykjavík, Iceland, Ólafur’s approach to sound and composition has inspired a new generation to enjoy and create modern orchestral music. He gained huge notoriety with a new audience for his BAFTA-winning score featuring haunting strings, pianos and electronics for the British crime drama, Broadchurch. He has drawn heavily on the techniques he explored for that project for this selection of samples.
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