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Composing with Orchestral Swarm, as used by Hanz Zimmer for Blue Planet II

Over the past five weeks, we’ve been exploring the new Orchestral Swarm sample library from Spitfire Audio, as used by Hanz Zimmer et al on the terrific soundtrack to the BBC’s Blue Planet II series. The dynamic swelling and soaring of the instruments lend itself innately to evocations of the ocean, and PB expert instructor Kevin Kerrigan couldn’t resist using the sea as his own inspiration in the piece he composed for his demonstration. Kevin teaches music composition here at Point Blank and his previous studio credits include collaborating with Bjork and Brian Eno, so few are better placed to give this new sample library a test run.

In weeks one and two, we are introduced to Orchestral Swarm’s interface, and we hear examples of the emotive swelling produced by the library. From simply playing around with the sounds, we immediately get a sense of the potential for scores and soundscapes contained within the library.

In weeks three and four, Kevin continues to explore the sounds of Orchestral Swarm and shifts his focus to its potential uses in composition. He also tells us about his encounter with the Singing Ship sound-sculpture on the west coast of Queensland, Australia, which will form the conceptual basis for the piece he begins to record.

In week five, Kevin takes us through some more compositional tips, and we begin to see how the ideas introduced across the series fit together to form a coherent whole. By limiting the consideration that goes into recording parts, Kevin gets a lot of sounds recorded quickly, and from there can begin to arrange them around his central concept. The finished piece, ‘The Singing Ship’, will be available to listen to soon.

We hope these videos inspire you to expand your production and compositional techniques or even have a first stab at making music if you’re a complete beginner. We believe we offer an unparalleled experience here at Point Blank, so why not join us? You can try our sample courses for a better idea of what our courses entail, or head to our school pages for London, Los Angeles or Online to get a complete look at the courses on offer. To talk to a course advisor, call 323 282 7660 in the US, or +44 20 7729 4884 anywhere else.

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