Spitfire Audio Unveils Crystal Bowls

Explore a diverse range of contemporary crystal bowl sounds that ignite creativity through an elegant and user-friendly interface.

London, February 6th, 2024 – Rising composer and multi-instrumentalist Aska Matsumiya (After Yang, Betty, Fastest Woman On Earth) joins forces with Spitfire Audio, the world’s leading creator of sounds and sample libraries for music makers, to unveil a new sample library called Crystal Bowls, in a community-driven release.

Crystal Bowls GUI

It’s a distinctive collection of instruments that captures the ethereal and resonant tones of crystal bowls, tuning forks and percussion, meticulously curated and designed to inspire composers, producers, and musicians alike. 

Matsumiya, celebrated for her distinguishing musical contributions to film, television, and the wider artistic landscape, has brought her signature touch to Crystal Bowls, infusing it with a delicate balance of organic warmth and avant-garde beauty. The collaboration with Spitfire Audio marks a notable moment in the world of sound design and production.

Conversations around a potential collaboration started two years ago, when Leo Wyatt, Product Manager at Spitfire Audio, was introduced to Matsumiya via the live agency, ATC. It was during these early discussions that a vision began to take shape. 

Wyatt shares, “Aska and I were introduced two years ago. She had a brilliant idea to record crystal bowls in an unconventional setting. We found a beautiful space in a contemporary chapel, for an unexpected contemporary sound, and I am thrilled to finally bring our vision to life through Crystal Bowls.”

Matsumiya adds, “I wanted to choose a space which would capture the round sound waves produced by the crystal bowl in the purest way so the soundwave wouldn’t get disrupted. Using mallets, brushes and bows gave us a wide range of unique textures that I think could be used in many different ways and genres of music and projects.”

Captured within the expansive acoustics of Round Chapel, an architecturally distinct Grade II listed chapel in the heart of Hackney in London, renowned for its unconventional shape and cast iron columns, the recording session benefitted from a pronounced reverb. 

The team skilfully recorded a combination of meditative and new-age crystal bowls along with tuning forks, utilising a variety of traditional mallets as well as a selection of modern drumsticks and brushes. This innovative approach in the unique acoustic setting broadened the sonic capabilities of the instrument, moving beyond the conventional realm of prolonged, resonant tones to include more percussive and short sounds. This expansion in playing styles will enable users of all proficiency levels to seamlessly transition between these diverse sound characteristics.

Crystal bowls, typically associated with new age, meditative, or healing music, have often been considered functional in nature. “The intense vibrations and physical reactions to their sound feels like a magical cross between a synthesiser and an other-worldy instrument” says Matsumiya. The focus of the Crystal Bowls collaboration was to embody distinctive sounds, allowing individuals to incorporate these unconventional and contemporary tones into compositional contexts. With a sound closely resembling a raw sine wave, the virtual instrument possesses a unique character, easily adaptable into any shape.

Having already used crystal bowl sounds to score films and for sound installations, and always looking for and exploring different ways to create and process sounds, Matsumiya hopes that the wide range of individual audio textures in Crystal Bowls will provide music makers with the tools to write atmospheric and ethereal music for all genres and outlets.

Matsumiya traces this experimental approach to music to her teenage years, when she dropped out of art school to go touring with punk bands; “I found freedom in punk because I didn't realise how much I felt suppressed by classical music – even though I love it.” This renegade approach would imbue Matsumiya with the freedom to go beyond the formal constraints of classical music. Today, Matsumiya comfortably embraces the challenge of pushing beyond traditional boundaries, explaining, “My creative process is always changing as there's just no rules or set ways and that's why I feel infinite freedom in the space of creating and making music.” 

Offered in an elegant and user-friendly interface that empowers music makers to explore and shape the sounds with ease, and intuitive controls to ensure that both seasoned professionals and newcomers can unlock the full potential of the sample library, the result is an ever-evolving virtual instrument that not only showcases exceptional sound quality but also embodies Matsumiya’s vibrant creative spirit. 

Wyatt concludes, “This collaboration showcases the incredible talent within our community. The release exemplifies our commitment to pushing the boundaries in sound and space, and to provide music makers with tools that ignite their creativity. We hope you enjoy it!”

KEY FEATURES

  • A 7-piece set of rare crystal singing bowls made from high-purity quartz
  • Tuned to C, D, E, F, G, A, and B at a frequency of 432 Hz
  • Recorded in the expansive acoustics of London’s Hackney Round Chapel, with a clear and resonant reverb
  • Presented in an elegant, user-friendly interface equipped with intuitive controls
  • Four controls to help shape your sound – Attack, Release, Offset and Reverb (using an IR captured in the Round Chapel) 
  • 5 Crystal Bowl playing styles
  • Mix between a range of six traditional and contemporary beaters - Brushes, Soft Mallet, Sticks, Rubber Mallet, Plastic Mallet, Hot Rods
  • Two tuning fork sounds for higher, sharper tones
  • One signal created from a mix of Close, Room, Gallery positions
  • Six warped sounds made by running the crystal bowls through guitar pedals and granular synths
  • Download Size: 2.1GB
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by Bob Moog Foundation

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