Spitfire Audio hosted an incredible event in London this past February which gave me the opportunity to both see the city for the first time, and to meet some of the incredible members of the Pianobook community! After the festivities had ended, a few of us composers went out to dinner where we had the “brilliant” idea to sample an upright piano we had passed in the King’s Cross underground station the day before. The intonation was deplorable, and at least five keys flat-out didn’t work. But close your eyes while playing and you’re practically teleported to the station!
We recorded everything with my phone and tried our best to pause during the announcements and the louder portions of the crowds. Velocity layers are decent but we didn’t manage to record round robins. To make up for that I included a fun bonus feature controlled by CC1!
Special thanks to Christopher Belsey, Jess Henderson, and Thorsten Hoppe for performing, and encouraging this reckless sampling behavior!
Reviews for King’s Cross London Undergound
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Very nice and a great idea! Love the library
Very very nice!!! And very interesting idea!! I can hear the people chatting through keys. It instantly creates the noisy live or music bar kind of atmosphere. Very unique textured library!
It's all about character!
This piano breathes character, inspiration, history, and magic. It's the result of creativity at its finest, honestly. It's not about velocity layers or design, and it's definitely not the piano to play your classic concerto. It's the piano that sits there to inspire you, and to inspire others as. The sounds that it can create are able to you teleport to a different place, to a different time, to remind you to be there for the moment, for the people, and of course for you.
This is more than a free virtual instrument. It's an experience.
Perfect Atmospheric Album Closer
I love libraries that are very atmospheric and full of noise from the surroundings as it immediately conjures up an environment in your mind - and you certainly get that with this library recorded on the piano in London's King's Cross Station. I like to embrace the noise with these types of libraries, so I made a demo with lots of notes with the pedal down to really let the atmospherics swirl as it is playing. Then it ends with simple big chords played and held so you can hear all the noises from the tube station. Brilliant! The piece only uses sounds from the library. No effects used other some reverb at the beginning and end to so that it feels like you are walking towards and then away from someone playing the piano as you walk by, and then a final touch of mastering. I liked this demo so much that it ended up being the basis for the closing track of my last album, Circuits.
The sound that goes down the Tube
On the face of it, this sample library should be completely unusable, but once you start trying it, you come to realize that it's pretty much perfect for a lot of things. If you're someone who likes some ambient sounds in your tracks, this is just the thing for you,
Platform 9 3/4
Being a huge harry potter fan, hearing kings cross in the title already has me interested. This piano definitely isn't your traditional piano library. Its almost more of a VR experience. You cant really use it in a mix the way you would with another library. Its extremely wet from being recorded in such a large space and all the background talking and movements are really lous. Although this is unusable in some situations, its a really unique experience and a really fun and creative idea.