Kepler Orchestra Review by Spitfire Audio
Spitfire Audio has released a cinematic library which is under review today. Kepler Orchestra essentially produces orchestral and rhythmic textures. Spitfire Audio Kepler Orchestra is named after the German astronomer, mathematician, and astrologer Johannes Kepler, who in the 17th century devoted himself to the movements of the planets around the sun. At the time I learned about Kepler Orchestra and it was available for pre-order I was thinking this is another excellent EVO library by Spitfire Audio. The first visuals also pointed me driven from wishful thinking into that direction. Different from Spitfire Audio LCO Textures this new library Kepler Orchestra is not about floating pads. Kepler is all about symphonic easy to massive rhythmic movements. Kepler Orchestra is stimulated by the famous American composers of the late 20th century: Terry Riley, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and John Adams.
Installation is done through the Spitfire download (and update) tool. Very easy and straightforward. Due to the required CPU minimum performance always check the latest technical requirements.
With this library, you can produce realistic-sounding interlocking polyrhythms. Polyrhythms expect at minimum two rhythms to be performed at the same time. If you wonder about the beginnings, this idea goes way back. Polyrhythms are used for example in the opening of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3.
Machine Performance Intelligence
KEPLER ORCHESTRA read its user’s melody and performance it in surprising ways through key articulations:
- DOPPLERS — recreates the Doppler effect by molding short notes down by a semitone, so that they sound like they are rushing past the audience
- SHARDS — based on particle swarms, suggestive of shards of light or the light that can be seen flashing out of an accretion disk, resulting in swells of sound that increase dramatically in dynamic until the end
- MOMENTUM — based on lightwave theory, notes increase and decrease both in speed and dynamic, from pulsing to accelerating
- WARPED — contains 30 different sounds to attach an additional layer of vast expanse and mood to polyrhythmic compositions. Each sound is created utilizing the original sample content from the library. Designed to add unprecedented depth, texture, and atmosphere to any composition.
Kepler Orchestra was recorded at AIR Studio One. All setups recorded as a chamber-sized orchestra. As common these days, Kepler Orchestra offers the choice of various microphone positions, which can also be mixed. You can choose between Close, Ambient, Mid and Wide.
The orchestral Kepler Kontakt library manages hard work and the results are pristine interlocking orchestral rhythms. Take your time, you may not be happy with the first results. Also when you play it like an EVO it does not work that way. Spending more time than usual with a Spitfire Library will be rewarded with a newly created pattern of sounds.
User interface & Usability
Kepler another EVO?
KEPLER ORCHESTRA is related to Spitfire Audio’s Evo Grid. It is not an EVO as you are used to – not even an EVO at all. The new invention is called Systems Grid which you can think off as an articulation mapping mechanism. Spitfire describes it as: Instead of using the pegs to create different textures, they are split by time divisions (duplet, triplet, quintuplet and septuplet time), tempo-locked to your DAW, allowing you to quickly create sophisticated combinations of different rhythms.
As this is not an EVO from Spitfire you use with Kepler Orchestra something that looks similar to an EVO Grid. What is presented is called a Systems Grid to allow you to chart various rhythmic contrasts. Spitfire makes the following differentiation:
- Systems Grid = Rhythmic/Temporal variations of timbrally similar techniques
- Evo Grid = Timbral variations on rhythmic/temporally similar techniques
Systems Grid itself is not a phrase library and continuously builds them at the time. Nor is it a series of evolutions. Rather it is a set of detailed and sophisticated articulations and raw materials. It was designed to provide users with the power to create their own complex, nuanced phrases with ease and control.
Kepler Orchestra’s Innovative Characteristics
The Doppler Effect is the change in frequency of a wave as the source and observer move toward or away from each other. What you hear when an ambulance passes by or the red shift in light observed by astronomers. All in the spirit of Kepler and some weed. Spitfire has recreated this by recording notes that grow, bend down by a semitone and die away, so they sound like they are shooting past you
Spitfire’s shards grid is inspired by light particles, reminiscent of shards of light, or the light spun out at the creation of an accretion disk. The result is swells of sound that rise dramatically in dynamic until they stop dead.
Spitfire’s momentum grid is inspired by light wave interference theory — notes that increase and decrease in both speed and dynamic, from pulsing to stimulating.
The Warped section contains thirty contrasting sounds to add an extra layer of cosmic depth and atmosphere to your polyrhythmic compositions. Each of these sounds was produced using the organic sample content from the library, designed to add unique depth, texture, and atmosphere to any composition. Some samples were made using granular synthesis, while others were pumped through outboard gear, Empirical Labs Distressor, reverbs, saturators, and guitar FX pedals to create something completely new and original. Presented in Spitfire’s Mercury synth, all of the controls are assignable to your control surface, giving you the immediate ability to make our sounds your own.
There have been many reporting CPU performance issues. On my late 2014 iMac, I did not have any performance issues resulting in pops and clicks, this could be as the Cubase audio buffer was set higher already. It seems to an issue if your audio buffer is low and some DAW set it very low. What seems to work if you still run into performance related issues to using VIENNA ENSEMBLE PRO. Still on my MAC no issues at all.
The synergistic Systems Grid articulation tool is based on Spitfire Evo Grid technology to empower composer to quickly produce elaborate polyrhythms adapted from the vibe of the late-20th Century writers like John Adams, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley.
Rating: Four out of Five Stars
Kepler Orchestra is a fabulous library to produce sensible, powerful polyrhythmic cutting edge cinematic sounds. With the system grid, which is based on the Spitfire Evo Grid, you can generate genuine sounding polyrhythms. The powers of the system grid prevail in the mapping of articulations. Textures are separated into time segments (eg doublet, triplet) and are automatically synchronized to the tempo of your DAW.
Kepler Orchestra is perfectly made for a composer working on their next score to picture, film, TV, Ads, and games and due to the uniqueness perfect for sound designers.