Spitfire audio has just released Symphonic Strings Evolutions, a string library that draws on the exhaustive and meticulous multi-sample set of their flagship Spitfire Symphonic Strings library. The central talking point of this self-contained, Kontakt player-based virtual instrument is a unique and useful way of managing long-form playing articulations.
An Evolution, or "Evo," is a way in which a string note or chord builds up over time, and could contain any of a number of bowing and/or plucking techniques. This lets the user create dramatic and changing string passages over time, even if starting from a very simple arrangement musically speaking.
The killer app, though, is that you can arrange multiple "Evos" in what Spitfire calls the Evo Grid, which is an X/Y matrix inspired by the pin board on the EMS VCS3 and AKS Synthi synthesizers. On those machines (made famous on Pink Floyd's "On the Run"), the matrix routed audio paths and connected modulation sources to destinations, essentially functioning as a modular patch panel. In Symphonic Strings Evolutions, you can use it to layer and blend Evos as well as assign them to key-switches. On top of that a "Dice" function randomizes Evo functionality.
This technology is also applied to a big section, consisting of 16 first violins, 14 second violins, 12 violas, ten cellos, and eight string basses, allowing experienced and amateur composers alike to create huge, professional-sounding cues.
It's also one of those things where it's easier to show you than to tell you, so check out Paul Thomson's walkthrough video below. Price for the downloadable version is US $249.