Spitfire Audio has introduced Mercury, a new virtual instrument created in close collaboration with Hollywood instrument-builder Chas Smith, who is known for transforming disused metal into instruments frequently used by film composers.
The company describes Smith’s instruments as “Hollywood’s secret weapon”. They have been used to create the unearthly soundscapes of Hans Zimmer’s Dune and Interstellar, featured in James Newton Howard’s The Hunger Games score, and to score the terrors of Charlie Clouser’s soundtrack for the Saw film franchise.
Spitfire Audio sampled 14 Smith’s acoustic instruments, then incorporated them into Solar, Spitfire Audio’s new eDNA-powered synthesiser, to deliver 600+ organic and synthesized textures, tones, and pads.
Getting those 14 unique, handmade instruments into Mercury meant sampling the unusual instruments, including:
- Bertolia — inspired by Italian-born American artist, sound art sculptor, and modern furniture designer Harry Bertolia, Inconel rods with aluminium resonators on a turbine blade are all tuned to 14 tone scales;
- Dado — machined steel plates that can spin over pickups;
- Towers — nine titanium rods, tuned to be ‘friendly’ with each other, with titanium plates on each end;
- Lockhead — titanium parts welded into a structure and a titanium sheet acting as a resonator;
- Mantis — titanium parts welded into a structure that can rotate;
- Copper Box — rods, plates, and a folded horn resonator, whereby each rod is 36 inches long and the helix of rods continues under the resonator plates;
- Paraboloid — a titanium sheet with added rods;
- The Pez Eater — tuned steel rods and pickups;
- Sceptre — saw blades, plates, and things that can rotate; AD — springs welded to saw blades over pickups;
- Bass Steel Guitar — machined from aluminum; and
- Que Lastas — stainless steel sheet with rods and bass piano strings.
Here’s an in-depth walkthrough:
Pricing and Availability
Mercury is available now as an AAX-, AU-, VST2-, and VST3-compatible, NKS (NATIVE KONTROL STANDARD®)-ready plug-in that loads directly into a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for a time-limited promo price of £99.00 GBP (inc. VAT)/$99.00 USD/€99.00 EUR (inc. VAT) until September 15, 2022 — returning thereafter to its RRP (Recommended Retail Price) of £149.00 GBP (inc. VAT)/$149.00 USD/€149.00 EUR (inc. VAT) .