Review of Producer Loops Progressive Tech House & Electro Vol 1: The latest dance library from Producer Loops sets the focus on modern dance music – but does so with a twist.
Five years ago I honestly thought that the loudness war was at it’s absolute peak. I am a naïve boy – obviously. Electro and modern trance came with that wall-like sound - more denser and condensed than I’ve ever heard before.
To be honest - I’m not a great opponent of overusing compressors. I think there are times when it’s appropriate and times when you should back off. And although I give both thumbs up for electro as a genre – it’s a genre that seriously tires my ears and my brain. It’s like each and every track is a three-year-old child jumping and screaming hysterically for maximal attention.
When I was compiling together my section on the hottest sample libraries for one of the magazines I write for, I came across a dance library that quickly caught my ear – and later, my lust for making music.
Progressive Tech House & Electro Vol 1 builds on the popular construction kit form and contains almost everything from the individual samples to entire loops with full processing. The only stuff I found was missing was some drum sounds from the percussive loops – but it’s not a big thing really, since the library is so thorough in all other respects, such as including the MIDI files and the majority of the tonal sounds come as multisamples so you can re-create the sounds fairly well.
Click here to listen to the demo.
Review of Wave Alchemy SFX Collection 02: the latest library from Wave Alchemy sets the focus on cinematic effects - but this library is not just about Hollywood-esque booms and soundscapes - there are also a fair number of traditional synth effects aimed for modern dance productions.
Regular readers of this blog knows that I am a consistent complainer when it comes to sound libraries that are too heavy in the single drum section. While I personally believe that most people have enough 909 kicks drums to last a lifetime - but when it comes to effect sounds, there cannot exist too many effect sounds on my hard drive.
In other words: I am a sucker for effects.
As everybody knows, there are a number of different effect libraries. First we have the libraries with real recordings, where sounds like thunder, chopping carrots and purring cats are captured. Then we have the electronic effect libraries that are made synthetically, and there are cinematic effects that sounds like the effects heard in movies.
Review of Inspire Audio Loops And Snippets Vol.1: if you are on the lookout for some tasty kick-less drum loops and crunchy old-school percussive sounds - Loops And Snippets is a library well worth checking out.
German producer Jürgen Driessen is a fellow with a penchant for all things I love: electronic drum sounds, old analog equipment and synthesizers, and in Loops And Snippets Vol.1 he combines his passion into a handy library of 120 loops and 260 sounds.
While Inspire Audio themselves describe the direction of the library to be Deep House and Tech House - I'd rather expand on it, saying they are cool for most kinds of electronic music styles where you want to step up from traditional commercial club rhythms without going into pleasing the analytical minds of the electronica connoisseurs. In other words - the loops are more complicated than the mainstream, but still well within borders of what you can expect to hear in a club.
Click here to listen to the demo.
Review of Loopmasters Stereo MC's - Vaultage: Stereo MC's sample library is a gorgeous mix of styles and sounds, and should be on the top of the list for all producers who want to inject a bit of the 90s into their music.
I'll be honest. Apart from their big hits Connected and Step It Up, I really don't know much about Stereo Mc's. But even today when one of their hits reaches the speakers of my car - I always turn up the volume. And not just me - I've never met anyone who doesn't like Stereo Mc's. Their big hits are damn good songs and they still work year after year, and I know I'll still be hearing Connected in my car ten years from now. And digging it.
So when Loopmasters released a sample library made in collaboration with them - it was no question that it had to be reviewed.
In terms of attitude I've always placed Stereo Mc's together with Happy Mondays. Although Happy Mondays always have been more punk in their musical soul - Stereo Mc's share the same fundamental strategy - if it sounds good - it's good. Period.
Review of Myloops Solid Drums 2: The highlights of this library are its kicks and kick-less drum loops - all specifically tailored for popular trance music.
Solid drums for trance.
Myloops is a sound label managed by french producer Jonathan Blakoe. The first time I encountered material from Myloops was with their library Trance Cosmos : Elements Volume 3 - which went straight into my heart (which is kind of rare for a trance library I must say). Good solid loops and with all material available as loops, separate samples and midi files. In other words - a good starting point for your own adventures in trance-land.
Solid Drums Volume 2 is a collection of 300 drum loops, 100 single kick drums and 100 effect loops - all specifically made for trance music productions.
Click here to listen to a demo.
Review of Toontrack EZmix 2: It may be easy to mistake EZmix as some sort of toy. There are few controls and the interface doesn't look as impressive as those from the more "exclusive" plugmakers. But none of that is actually valid. EZmix is probably the quickest way for any producer to get to a specific sound and the quality is not to be looked down on.
Toontrack EZmix 2
The easiest way to describe EZmix is probably if you think of it as an multieffect unit of old, complete with compressors, reverbs, delays, phasers, distortion and so on, but without that questionable quality of the past and and a whole bunch of presets designed to recreate the most common effects used in music productions.
The fundamental idea is that instead of spending lots of time dialing in the right settings for the compressor, you simply select a preset that comes close and fine tune the details.
Seen from a positive view, EZmix provides you with good sounding production-ready presets right of the box. Seen from the opposite perspective, EZmix is limited and only let you adjust a fraction of the parameters.
Both views are equally true, which I actually think is a good thing.
Review of the Hal Leonard book Music 3.0: Are you trying to find a way to make make sense of the post-record company world? This book actually gets you sorted.
Every time I'm at the newsstand checking out the latest issues of Future Music, Computer Music and Sound on Sound - I always fall for headlines such as 'How to make it in modern music business'. And every time, I always end up getting depressed. Not so much for that the days when you actually could send a demo and get signed - are gone, but mainly because those articles are so damn bad.
Being hard here, and generalizing - those articles is basically just repeating things that everybody already know.
Review of Binary Music Valve 4 Op: Yamaha FM strikes back! Valve 4 Op is a instrument for Kontakt 4 that is constructed around an old Yamaha TX81Z FM synthesizer.
Yamaha FM in Kontakt.
No matter what opinions you may have with Native Instrument Kontakt - one thing is crystal clear: it's the Akai-format of the modern age. It's the format which the most vibrant and interesting new libraries are created.
During the last months many highly interesting libraries for the Kontakt engine have been released, such as Wave Alchemy Pro II and all those lovely Hollow Sun instruments.
Valve 4 Op is built upon the sound of an old quirky Yamaha TX81Z and recorded through an Inward Connections Vac Rac 4000 valve pre-amp. All in all this collection contains 112 presets and around 2300 samples. If one should be picky - not all the sounds are looped, which means that the sustain envelope doesn't do anything. I wouldn't say that this is a huge problem - but there were a couple of times when I wished it was possible to make some sounds longer.
Review of Tronsonic Dark Horse: Dark Horse is a collection of sounds taken from the old Kawai 100f analog synthesizer and processed in authentic 60's recording equipment.
Dark Horse Kawai 100f.
Although my very first synthesizer was a Kawai and I've programmed quite a few of their other models, I didn't even know there was a model called 100f. After reading up on the model (Vintagesynth link here) I can tell you it's a monophonic, analog synthesizer with one oscillator, a resonant filter that can be modulated by an lfo or an envelope and portamento.
Review of UVI Emulation II: For lovers of the sounds of the 80s - Emulation II is a sound library not to be missed. While it has its limitations - it's easy the best 80s sound library on the market.
Revival of the 80s.
Although that the 80s had its particular sound in terms of production, such as huge gated snares and cheesy synthesizers, I always look back on the 80s as the time when the soul and definition of pop really got nailed. Sure, what we call pop today springs from many sources such as soul, disco and even rock - but the core of all those catchy melodies and massive intros we're hearing today is so 80s it possibly can be.
Click here to hear (and see) a demo of UVI Emulation II.