Spitfire, London based creators of boutique sample based virtual instruments, have snagged themselves a guitarist to play with. Joey Santiago, lead guitarist with The Pixies and more recently composer and crazy creative guitar sound innovator, relished the opportunity to create something useful with guitar. And not just guitar sounds, either, but a lot of celeste, pads, angles, bends and bonkers sound design, all routed through 4 different amps and a massive pedalboard. The result they describe as a “library of beautifully distorted filth”.
Spitfire and Santiago got together in East LA and began messing with and recording the amps and aforementioned pedalboard via valve and ribbon mics mixed through a vintage Neve console. The idea was never to create a virtual guitar but rather capture the sound creation experience of Joey Santiago exploring his instrument in the hope of coming out with some playable, evocative and enjoyable sounds. The samples were then taken back to Spitfire where they were worked on and massaged into the Spitfire Signature format and eDNA loop warping engine.
The resulting instrument comes with four categories of sound. The first section is “Individual Plucks” which is essentially your own virtual Joey Santiago. Individual notes and strings with multiple articulations, amps, mics and configurations. Choose your amp and then play like a rock star. “Santiago Sounds” is a selection of signature sounds and noises that run through the Spitfire Mercury synth engine to allow you to mess them about, add effects and control envelope. Moving on and away from the more guitar-sounding guitars we have Gigantic Mutations which is a bunch of loops lifted from various sections of Joey’s playing and then warped through the eDNA engine. Finally there’s Radiant Pads which present evolving, sustained and bowed type sounds with a metallic edge. Across all the presets you can choose your signal from 6 sources – 4 amplified signals including Joey’s own Marshall JCM800, Fender Vibrolux, a Selmer and two different room signals.
With so many sound libraries out there at the moment focusing on the moody, thundering and apocalyptic, it takes quite a bit of creative thinking to stand out in that genre. Using a creative guitarist rather than a sound designer or producer is an interesting way of presenting something fresh and engaging. The combination of straight cool guitar sounds and crazy alien noises could bring a welcome new perspective on cinematic sound tracking.
From now until the end of April 1st you can buy Joey Santiago (the virtual instrument, not the bloke) for GBP £149 which then rises to GBP £199. It runs on OSX or Windows in Native Instrument’s Kontakt 5 or above. Check the website for full details, preset lists and videos of every single sound.
More information: http://www.spitfireaudio.com/shop/ranges/signature-range/joey-santiago/