Spitfire Audio Speculative Memories: What is it?
Unlike orchestral themes of old, modern soundtracking largely works around a more subtle atmosphere-enhancing approach. What we now recognise as a film’s main theme tends to co-exist among other elements, skittering across a sea of evolving textures. Half-formed fragments of melody are just one consideration of this sound-design-adjacent attitude.
It’s one such abstract-minded composer that Spitfire has collaborated with to helm Speculative Memories, a sumptuous new suite of cinematic textures and electroacoustic instruments.
The composer in question, Yair Elazar Glotman, has recently written an album by the same title (released, aptly, on Spitfire’s SA Recordings). A beautiful work, Glotman’s LP shows the lush potential of his more outré approach, revolving around double-bass, vocals and modular synth, which this suite presents in fully playable and modifiable glory.
Spitfire Audio Speculative Memories: Performance and verdict
Divided into five sections, Speculative Memories’ electro acoustic sound palette is varied, yet all feel immediately homogenous when used in tandem.
The Vocal section features nine treated, chopped and rhythmically processed recordings of the celestially-voiced Sarah Fors. These can be used as a choral underbelly of a mix or used to craft a jittery top-line, (à la Jóhann Jóhannsson’s magnificent Arrival soundtrack, a composer with whom Glotman has worked).
The Double Bass section incorporates seven double bass approaches, from distorted swells to harmonic stabs. The approach here seems to be to treat bass less as a stable foundation, but more as an ominous interloper, suggestive of impactful punctuation and suspense raising.
The Modular Synth section – concocted with a Buchla 200e analogue modular system – presents an even more abstract playing field, with the likes of Mayhem Pad, Resonance Bite and Eraserhead presenting bubbling synthetic ripples which are screaming out to flow through the spine of a mix.
Other sections include two guitar-carved sounds (Bow Drones and Octave Swarms) and Textures. This final section underscores Glotman’s penchant for tape machines and running sounds through them to concoct analogue-generated flutter, wow and warmth.
As with the majority of Spitfire’s recently released products, Speculative Memories relies on the company’s bespoke plugin. With its simple duo of faders and large central knob, assignable to an array of modulations and external control surfaces, deep exploration and manipulation of the sounds on offer is encouraged.
The Dynamics slider in particular grants effective transitioning from the dry sound into a tape-effected variant. There’s also the Random Start ability, which brings some spontaneity to proceedings, triggering a sample sound at a randomly chosen moment.
It’s in multidimensionality that the pack’s samples give the type of ear-wowing scope that places it way above many similar libraries of this ilk. Recorded at the 4D performance space at MONOM Studio at Funkhaus, the pack’s spatial signal was concocted using 48 omnidirectional speakers and nine subwoofers. This space was used to re-amp the recorded textures. Using the mod wheel, we can easily re-amp into this space and navigate its every square inch.
Speculative Memories isn’t your everyday broad-angled soundtracking suite. Its niche is in generating gradual shifts and emotion-tugging textures that typically underscore introspective projects. It can also serve as a solid addition to any ambient or explorative sound designer’s arsenal.
A characterful and memorable package, Speculative Memories distils the artistic persona of Yair Elazar Glotman and his particularly inventive skillset into an absorbing, malleable suite.
MusicRadar verdict: The emotion-stirring Speculative Memories presents the raw materials of a singular vision, yet warmly invites you to contort and blend them into infinite new forms.
Spitfire Audio Speculative Memories: Hands-on demos
The Sound Test Room
Spitfire Audio Speculative Memories: Specifications
- Mac OS X 10.13 to OS 12. Minimum: 2.8GHz i5 (quad-core), 8GB RAM. Recommended: 2.8GHz i7 (six-core), 16GB RAM. Intel and Apple Silicon/ARM are supported. 64-bit DAW Required (32-bit DAWs not supported).
- Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 or Windows 11, 64-bit only. Intel Core i7 6th gen and later or AMD Ryzen 7. 32-bit is not supported.
- CONTACT: Spitfire Audio