Spitfire Audio has introduced Orbis, described as ‘The World Synthesizer’, based on 4 decades of field recordings by composer and sonic explorer David Fanshawe.
Here’s what they have to say about Orbis:
“Professionally and meticulously recorded on his Nagra, Uher, and Stellavox tape machines with expertly placed mics, these recordings were captured at a time when technology’s inexorable development was making the world a smaller place, and rare cultures and traditions were becoming more homogenised. Fanshawe’s pioneering spirit led him to the most remote corners of the earth to capture the traditions and spirit of rare communities by recording instruments, voices, music, and languages.
Building on Fanshawe’s archive, a collection of immense cultural and historical significance, Orbis makes these sounds accessible to future generations of composers for the very first time, while taking them to an entirely new place, providing you with the DNA of countless cultures from across the globe.”
Here’s a walkthrough of Orbis:
Here’s an example of using Orbis to create a trailer score using an expanded sonic palette:
Pricing and Availability
Orbis is available now in VST, AU and AAX plugin formats, with an introductory price of US $269 through August 1st, 2019. (regular price is US $349.)
11 thoughts on “Spitfire Audio Intros Orbis ‘World Synthesizer’”
It sounds gorgeons but it is on the expensive side, as usual with Spifire.
oh nice only $250
I feel semi-daunted by Spitfire in general, in that their goods are so superior, it almost feels like a cheat unless you’re working for pro video. I don’t want to just push a key or button and have Superman or Jesus pop out automagically, y’know? It calls for added care so you use the material properly instead of just letting the Wow factor do too much of the work. I know they’re pricey, but with good cause. I feel challenged by their demos, so I’m beginning to put money in a jar….
Of course it had to be a plug-in….
Do the communities/original artists receive royalties?
Does Spitfire Audio provide us with a record of their consent (recordings taken over the last four decades, obviously long before there were kontakt libraries)?
Should music producers care about the integrity and meaning of the original music/instruments/performance contexts or, as the Spitfire salesman recommends, make “hip hop beats” and “natural history scores”?
> Do the communities/original artists receive royalties?
I don’t know, but I suspect the answer to this question is no.
> Does Spitfire Audio provide us with a record of their consent (recordings taken over the last four decades, obviously long before there were kontakt libraries)?
No, they licensed the audio from whoever holds the rights to David Fanshawe’s recordings.
> Should music producers care about the integrity and meaning of the original music/instruments/performance contexts or…
> …as the Spitfire salesman recommends, make “hip hop beats” and “natural history scores”?
Yes. Culture is a shared collaboration between all of humanity, not a static identity claimed by only a few.
Not sure if I like the idea of white western producers taking recordings out of their of cultural context to “make hip hop beats“ and monetize them. Smells like cultural appropriation.
1. It’s very unlikely that “white western producers” will be the only people buying this library, and the underlying issues being debated here are no different for other buyers.
2. Everything is culture and it’s all appropriated, because culture is a collaborative effort between all peoples.
3. Note that I’m *not* arguing that it is okay to be insensitive about the identities of others, nor am I arguing that anyone can claim their identity “underlies all cultures” or is “normalized”, only that culture cannot be owned and is in constant state of collaboration and change, whether we like it or not.
1. It‘s more than likely, as most people in other parts of the world can not afford such expensive software.
2. Culture is not global, but local. Culture is an effort by the people that create it, not by the stranger that records it and the other stranger that turns it into an instrument. They have no part in creating these cultures and from the perspective of those that actually did, it might be considered insensitive to utilize them outside of context. We don’t know what the musical recordings this instrument is based on mean. They might be songs of joy, of mourning or of worship.
3. True. But when it’s (once again) the white European man that „collaborates“ and changes the cultures of those he used to exploit in every possible way for centuries, we have to be alert. There is a power imbalance and a long practice of musical exploitation and exotism to be aware of.
The question remains: Have these people been paid for their performance? Have they received royalties? Have they consented to the use of their recordings? All these things are for sure taken care of when Spitfire (or any other sample library company) record an orchestra to create a string library or endorse Hans Zimmer for epic percussion. What is different here? Why are two different sets of rules applied?
1. You need only visit a music trade show like NAMM, PLSG, Musikmesse or the Palm Expo to see that the idea that only “white western producers” buy sample libraries like this is false.
2. No culture is created in isolation, or by a single group of people. Throughout history *all* cultures have stolen and borrowed from each other, and adapted the elements of others to suit their needs. Hence the proliferation of equal temperament outside of China, the proliferation of counterpoint outside of the Catholic Church, the proliferation of the verse-chorus musical form (and synthesizers) outside of USA, the proliferation of sampling outside of France, and for that matter the practice of sampling other musical genres altogether. Should Wu-Tang be criticized for sampling the religious folk song “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”? There are plenty of religious Americans that would say yes, that it’s an insult to their cultural tradition, but I’d argue unequivocally the answer is no.
3. “Safeguarding” a static interpretation of a culture doesn’t protect it, but rather ensures that culture gets the short end of the stick when it comes to the inevitable cultural exchange.
Between 1967 and 1994 David Fanshawe “documented hundreds of tribes, achieving such a close rapport with local communities that they gave him special permission to record their performances”, and in Uganda he “recorded traditional music and dance before the tribes were massacred” by Idi Amin. It may not be ideal, but it’s a lot better than you assumed, and it’s something you could have looked into for yourself but chose not to.
1. You need only visit a music trade show like NAMM, Musikmesse, PLSG, or the Palm Expo to know there isn’t any truth whatsoever to the claim that “white western producers” are the only people buying libraries like this.
2. By this reasoning only the Catholic Church should be allowed to employ counterpoint, only the Chinese should be allowed to employ equal temperament, and only (US) Americans should be allowed to employ the verse-chorus musical form. Sampling other musical traditions should also be strictly prohibited, and only the French should be allowed to construct songs from samples to begin with. But of course all of that is ridiculous. Like it or not cultures aren’t created in isolation, they *all* borrow and steal from one another, and adapt the elements of others to suite their own needs. Whatever notion you have about cultures being created by cleanly divided groups of people is simply false.
3. Throughout history every single culture has been in a constant state of change, adaptation, and exchange, and unfortunately the latter is often uneven. It’s not always fair, and it’s never a justification to treat the identities of others without respect, but anyone who would “safeguard” a static interpretation of their culture is only condemning their culture to the short end of that uneven exchange.
David Fanshawe’s biography states “he succeeded in documenting hundreds of tribes, achieving such close rapport with local communities that they gave him special permission to record their performances”, and that in Uganda he “recorded traditional music and dance before the tribes were massacred” by Idi Amin. Considering these recordings were made between 1967 and 1994 that’s as good as it can get. Is it fair? Maybe, maybe not. But it is more fair than you assumed, and you chose to present assumptions instead of looking into it for yourself.