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Contemporary Drama Toolkit

 Spitfire Audio is proud to musically (kick)start the New Year by announcing availability of its first ‘full-blown’ library of 2021 with the timely release of Contemporary Drama Toolkit — teaming up again with British composer, producer, and songwriter Samuel Sim, whose scores for film and television have won numerous awards and accolades including BAFTA and Ivor Novello Award nominations, this time to bring more electronic dynamism and texture that is perfectly suited to today’s modern drama score stylings as a carefully curated set of tools to create a score in an instant using only one of 44 different combination patches that bring together classic and broadcast-ready sounds, simplicity and ease of use being at its KONTAKT-hosted core.

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Spitfire Audio previously worked with BAFTA- and Ivor Novello Award-nominated film and television composer Samuel Sim on its hugely-successful BRITISH DRAMA TOOLKIT to provide the most instinctive, immediate, and intense connection to the heart of composition as a KONTAKT-hosted sample library comprising a small string and woodwind section, recorded on the sound-specializing British music technology company’s purpose-built dry stage at its London headquarters. Although a more traditional package, presenting a unique way of interacting with the players — ensembles are mapped across the full length of the keyboard with the playing styles tied to velocity, instantly allowing anything from emotive whispered textures through to bold, characterful solos — set the fully NKS (NATIVE KONTROL STANDARD®) supporting plug-in instrument in question apart from anything Spitfire Audio had created to date… until now.

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Needless to say, Contemporary Drama Toolkit takes a different approach by including 44 different combination patches and 72 individual instrument patches that bring together classic and contemporary broadcast-ready sounds originating from a masterfully mellow combination of the classic, chorus- enhanced tones of an Eighties-vintage, distinctive-sounding Roland Juno-6 analog polysynth and textures from the iconic Seventies-vintage Korg MS-20 analog semi-modular monosynth, alongside lead lines performed on guitar, electric cello, and electric violin, all processed via an enviable collection of analog effects and Eurorack modules.

All are carefully curated by Samuel Sim and Spitfire Audio’s production team of engineers and composers with expression baked into each sound. Simply speaking, velocity enables everything — from whispered textures to bold melodies blossoming from the simplest variance in playing, unlocking a world of sound in every patch. Consequently, Contemporary Drama Toolkit users can forget about the computer and quickly write music with little effort by responding instinctively to the drama at hand — just like the BRITISH DRAMA TOOLKIT trailblazer.

Contemporary Drama Toolkit is a broadcast-ready sound set, expertly curated and produced by award-winning composer Samuel Sim and our team of composers, to help you score to picture without the theory — without compromising on emotion. Across 72 individual instrument patches and 44 combinations, expression is baked into each sound, leaving you to focus on your music instead of software menus.

Putting it this way, Spitfire Audio co-founder and composer Paul Thomson’s heartfelt introduction is right on cue: “From his many years’ experience, Samuel has curated a set of sounds which allow you to articulate emotion incredibly easily, and are hugely inspirational, allowing you to react to picture in real-time as you play. When we say contemporary, we don’t mean contemporary in the sense of the subject matter, such as sci-fi, but we mean contemporary approach to scoring — the kind of scoring approach that many directors are asking for today.”

Think of it like this: trying to recreate a cue created in CONTEMPORARY DRAMA TOOLKIT or BRITISH DRAMA TOOLKIT using any alternative sample library would necessitate laying down each section at a time, starting with the bed, then the melodies, as well as taking time to find the sounds themselves — all of which would effectively steer the composer into writing in a certain way by building from the bed upwards, rather than reacting to the onscreen sounds or action.

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More Feeling – Less Theory

Contemporary Drama Toolkit provides the most instinctive, immediate connection to the heart of your composition, giving you the freedom to create a score in an instant. Similar to British Drama Toolkit’s unique scoring approach, CDT’s techniques make use of the entire keyboard and rely on velocity to unlock each patch’s huge range of expression, empowering you to forget about the computer and respond instinctively to the drama at hand. This is a collection of thoughtfully curated sounds, ready for wherever your imagination may take you.

Much like the British Drama Toolkit, the Contemporary Drama Toolkit’s sound palette is thoughtfully curated. Originating in a masterful blending of its source material — mellow, chorus tones of a Juno 6, iconic MS–20 textures, vocalizations, and inspiring lead lines performed on guitar, electric cello, and electric violin — all processed via an enviable collection of analog effects, vintage pedals, and Eurorack modules. Everything from whispered textures and bold melodies blossoms from the simplest variance in playing, unlocking a world of sound in every patch.

Building on the success of the British Drama Toolkit, Contemporary Drama Toolkit is a sequel of sounds created utilizing the same intuitive user interface. This curated palette effortlessly unfolds across the keyboard — seamlessly blending supporting textures with lead lines — while still leaving space for you to develop a personal connection to your composition.

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Contemporary Drama Toolkit Layers

  • Texture — Often used as a pedal note these sounds can be textured or straight, which is ideal for background or accompaniment
  • Soft — Straight playing for the notes you’d like to stand out. Bridging the gap between Texture and Loud
    Loud — Lead or soloistic lines, for when you need the melody to really sing! 

As it happens, Paul Thomson himself is no slouch when it comes to finding his way around a keyboard, so is perfectly positioned to explain how he puts — and anyone can put — Contemporary Drama Toolkit musical modus operandi into practice: “Playing with a different kind of velocity triggers the different levels of sound — the different dynamics, and this is represented on the UI [User Interface] with three sections: the bottom [TEXTURE] section is for beds or textures; the top [LOUD] section is that very expressive lead type of sound; the middle [SOFT] section bridges the gap between the two and allows you to smoothly move between them. Either you play it in live, and you get a kind of manual dexterity of being able to play certain notes louder, or it’s very straightforward to play a part and they go in afterward in your DAW [Digital Audio Workstation] and adjust the velocities to trigger the specific layer that you want each note to sound.”

Contemporary Drama Toolkit Content

Contemporary Drama Toolkit features 72 individual instrument patches and 44 combinations. The combinations are a unique set of curated sounds that blend together perfectly. Featured sounds have sources including Juno 6, MS–20, vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, electric cello, and electric violin — all processed via an enviable collection of analog effects, vintage pedals, and Eurorack modules.

This library works brilliantly with the British Drama Toolkit, use the two libraries together in one pass for even more detailed performances. We have also been enjoying it alongside any of the Air Recordings such as ALBION NEO or any of the libraries recorded at our drier London sound stage such as London Contemporary Orchestra Strings (See our Library Spotlight – LONDON CONTEMPORARY ORCHESTRA Strings)  and Alternative Solo Strings (See our Alternative Solo Strings Review – Special Luscious by Spitfire Audio and Library Spotlight – Alternative Solo Strings 


Sounds simple? That’s the beauty of CONTEMPORARY DRAMA TOOLKIT. It is simple, yet works well. Which is, of course, what it is all about. After all, the curation of the sound itself is where Samuel Sim and Spitfire Audio have collaboratively spent so much time, treating the recordings and instruments to offer a wide array of useful sounds with modern music-making in mind. Minimal (MICMIXLP filterExpressionReverb, and ADSR ENVELOPE) controls and (ROUND ROBIN & LEGATO) settings are equally endearing in their ease of use.

Ultimately, Paul Thomson clearly concurs when ending on a high note: “It’s incredibly simple, it’s very expressive — easy to articulate emotion in these patches, with lots of inspiration from a huge palette of sounds to give you this contemporary scoring style; you can either use it to create whole cues, just with individual patches, or you can use it to layer in with other sounds to give that kind of contemporary feel to your scoring.”

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Time, then, for any composer to consider adding BRITISH DRAMA TOOLKIT to their scoring toolkit? Time, too, to score in an altogether different way since Spitfire Audio is making available an exclusive DRAMA TOOLKIT COLLECTION, comprising CONTEMPORARY DRAMA TOOLKIT and BRITISH DRAMA TOOLKIT, which is only available during CONTEMPORARY DRAMA TOOLKIT’s time-limited introductory promo period. 

Pricing and Availability

CONTEMPORARY DRAMA TOOLKIT can be purchased and digitally downloaded for a time-limited introductory promo price of £129.00 GBP (inc. VAT)/ $149.00 USD/€149.00 EUR (inc. VAT) until February 11, 2021



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