Review of Loopmasters Deep Techno Sessions: when house legend A Guy Called Gerald releases his own sample library on Loopmasters the focus is on dark moody techno.
Gerald Simpson is a legend. While pretty much anyone who played at the Hacienda in Manchester are legends in my book, but Monsieur Gerald is more legendarish than the rest. While he'll always be remembered as the guy who were behind tracks such as Voodoo Ray and Pacific (808 State), his catalogue and works stretches far beyond. My earliest memory of A Guy Called Gerald is from one of my insanely hip friends who sent me an early mixtapes with G before he got big and starting redefining the sound of house. Big words - but while Marshall Jefferson might be the granddaddy of the US house movement - I would personally name Gerald Simpson as one of founders of modern house.
So when Loopmasters announced a sample library called Deep Techno Sessions by A Guy Called Gerald/Gerald Simpson I was over it the instant it was released. Unfortunately, the thing called life came and sucked out every opportunity to go through the library, so here we go. A month later or so.
Turn on the kettle and let's start chewing on some of the numbers.
Atmospheres and FX: 49
Bass loops: 63
Chord progressions: 13
Drum loops: 127
Musical loops: 46
WAV Single shots
Bass hits: 59
Instrument sounds: 32
Total drum hits: 220
Total single sounds: 330
Total drums: 347
Total loops: 298
Total samples: 628
Total time: 44 minutes 32 seconds.
While Deep Techno Sessions isn't a huge library it is well balanced. As with All Libraries Called Techno there is a fair number of drum-related samples in here, so let's start there and let's go directly to the common areas of trouble and tedious repetition: the single drum sounds.
With 39 kicks, 31 snares and 45 hats you never feel overwhelmed. The selection is well thought-out and covers a broad area. There are kicks for minimalistic electro as well as the stone hard punches for the clubs - there are even a few kicks distorted all the way into gabber-land.
The snares confirms Geralds deeper understanding of drums. There are of course the traditional both 909 and 808 sounding snares - but surprisingly few of them - and on top of that there are quite a few acoustic snares.
The percussion sounds are sort of a mixed bag with claps, toms, shakers, rim shots, snaps and even some effect-like sounds. With only 40 sounds, these sounds is a good foundation of what most people would use as percussion. On the other hand, they are not original nor does score high on the impress-o-meter. A useful selection of additional drum sounds.
What I like about the selection of drums is that they doesn't repeat themselves to death. Yes, turning a knob on the 909 one anthair to the left indeed results in a different sound. But, really. Who gives? This is a small collection of drum sounds that are easy to handle and sounds good. Electric & acoustic. Clean & layered. It's not what I would call the Final Collection of Drums, but very well thought out and highly usable.
The bass sounds are organized as one file per sound. In other words, there are no multiple takes of the same bass sound - which personally is fine by me. I never learnt to appreciate multi sampled synthesizer sounds anyway. Strings, brass and piano - great. But synthesizer sounds? I usually manage with single shots. So that leaves the user with almost 60 bass sounds. The sounds stretch from deep sub basses to aggressive techno-nastiness and all have a moody and a bit aggressive feel to them. Although you most definitely can use them for your upcoming Lu Lu Lu-cover, but they suit best among more wilder animals. Another good thing about the bass sounds is that they are unprocessed. No massive reverbs, hell-house eq curves or distortion. Just plain bass sounds. Which make them very suitable for being violated by your own tools.
Before we move on to the loops, just a few words about the instrument sounds. Despite that logic and sense would have us assume that the instruments folder contains synthesizer sounds that you can use to build melodies with - the larger part of these sounds are surprisingly more of an atmospheric nature: pads and drones, there are even a few bass sounds in there, which kind of make this category into a I-don't-know-where-to-put-these-sounds, but that aside, the sounds are excellent. Especially the soundscapes and pads - which have a dark, brooding feel to them.
Leaving the DIY-area we head straight over to the beef: the drum loops. All in all there are 127 of them and while there are a few kickless loops in there, the vast majority are with kicks. The pre-set tempos are 116, 120, 127 and 130 BPM and most of them are electronic. If I should would point to the area where this library reaches its peak - this is it. These drum loops are damn, damn, damn good. Although I've come a long way from the classic fourfour pumping since the hight of my personal commercial success in the nineties - I can't match this guys drum-programming voodoo. As with all intelligent techno/house/dance music, the drums play an active role in the music and these loops do that with top grades. They are like small worlds. The only negative thing I can say about them is that it would have been great with a few variations, or at least one without kick. Thankfully, the loops kind of play in the same sounding domain, which make it not too difficult to switch loops during a track. I was equally impressed with the acoustic loops as well. Although much fewer, the acoustic loops feel genuine and not ripped of by some old heavy metal or funk record. Fresh.
The rest of the loops are also of high quality. The basses have a low edge and are more rhythmical rather than melodic. As with the chord progressions, the basses are coated in a serious/moody vibe, which works great with the drum loops. The Musical section is not that musical really. Or at least not melodic, if that what you mean with musical. It's made up by higher, tonal rhythmical sounds - sure - but as with the basses, the treat is the combination of sound and rhythm, rather than a catchy melody.
Official demo of Deep Techno Sessions.
Deep Techno Sessions is a damn fine library. It's not overprocessed and it's not overwhelming. Although the selection of both tonal and drum samples are highly relevant, the main treat is the drum loops which are superbly programmed. The moodiness and darkness is present through all of the sounds which also gives the library a uniform direction. Fantastic.
Loopmasters A Guy Called Gerald/Deep Techno Sessions
Price: 35 UK pounds (download).
Good: Uniform library for darker house. Good collection of drum samples. Fantastic drum loops.
Bad: Slightly uninspiring percussion sounds.
Review copy: big thanks to Loopmasters for NFR review copy.