UVI has announced Mayhem of Loops 1.5, a huge update to their loop and construction kit library, available at a special introductory rate of $ 49 through September 21st (regularly $ 99). The Mayhem [Read More]
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UVI has announced Mayhem of Loops 1.5, a huge update to their loop and construction kit library, available at a special introductory rate of $ 49 through September 21st (regularly $ 99). The Mayhem [Read More]
On some deeper level, maybe it doesn’t matter how something repeats — whether it’s looped in a pedal, looped in software, or simply repeated by a human player, for instance.
On another level, given just how much repetition matters to music, maybe that’s why we care so much about how it’s accomplished.
Ableton this week released a visit to New York’s experimental rock trio Battles, in a film and interview under the header “The Art of Repetition.”
There, we get to learn more about the process behind Battles’ dense, hypnotic sound. The film is a bit long, but there are some telling moments.
Best quote: “Sometimes people ask if we use a click but we don’t. It’s just music.”
In the ensemble, both looping hardware and software feature prominently — what the band calls “computerness and pedal-land.” In “pedal-land,” bass/guitar player Dave Konopka makes heavy use of Electro-Harmonix gear from hometown NYC (see our recent story and accompanying comments on that topic), plus Line 6 and Boss units and the Gibson Echoplex. There, process is a physical chain of units — he’s capturing and “rephotographing” sound with individual pedals. (The EHX Freeze Sound Retainer is a nice snapshot tool.)
For guitarist, keyboardist, and Ableton Push instrumentalist Ian Williams, who’s naturally in Ableton’s spotlight, all that process is effectively digital. (I notice he’s got the Universal Audio Apollo Twin as interface, as well; I was recently singing the praises of the ability to do DSP live onstage.) The same relationships take place in software instead of being physically cabled between gear.
That said, I find it interesting that the recording process for the band involves a lot of “real-for-real” miking of amps and the like.
A lot of the video focuses purely on the compositional process. It’s also noteworthy to see Ian’s approach to Push. Now, to me, one disadvantage of Push is that you lose everything you’ve learned in terms of muscle memory and the sound you produce. But Ian argues that’s a feature, not a bug. “It keeps it kind of strange — that’s the key,” he says, and accordingly shows off Push chops as a way of getting past habits directly to “just listening” as you play. He also uses his multi-instrumentalist approach to make the keyboard sound more like a guitar, guitar more like a keyboard.
I’m fascinated by the way bands use laptops onstage. The reality is, I think we’re all so used to laptops that they aren’t the obstacle they once were — for audience or artist. It comes down not to a philosophical choice so much as an implementation choice, and you should definitely do whatever makes you feel most comfortable. Here, it’s nice to see both working.
Also — duct tape on headphones and beds in the studio. You know it.
Enjoy, by way of dessert, the lovely “My Machines” video.
Battles is on Warp Records, so you get a nice connection between the world of the rock band and Ableton’s experimental electronic roots.
The post Watch Battles Reflect on Loops, Ableton in a Live Band Setting appeared first on Create Digital Music.
This week’s sample roundup is linked by the fact that they’re all Urban focused releases, from hip hop to R&B, stepping off at many other genres along the way…
GoldBaby Urban Cookbook 3
GoldBaby is an indie fave, and they don’t disappoint with their new release Urban Cookbook vol 3
Urban cookbook 3 is a sample pack containing over 3000 samples: 1GB of drums, synths, FX, hits etc. The samples are all setup in patches for ALL the major sample players, Maschine, Battery, Kontakt, Reason, EXS24, and any REX player (such as Stylus). If you haven’t got any of those players, there are WAV files to slot into any other sampler.
The best thing about this sample pack is the kits. There are roughly 50 kits, each with just over an octave of sounds — your main kick, snare, hats, rims, toms, plus a few extra bits. I think they’re quite specific too — they’re very analog, heavy, with the lovely warm grit and hiss from vinyl, tape, and all the luscious gear used to record the sounds. I particularly like how there’s a really thoughtful blend of synthetic and recorded sounds, all put through the same equipment to give it all the same sheen, but with the unmistakable sound of real and synthetic. Very nice blend. It will lend itself to Hip-hop, more groove oriented electronica, dubstep etc best I think. Some of the bass instruments and tuned kicks were also very well recorded, heavy and fat sounding. The loops were surprisingly thin on the ground, but it felt like icing rather than filler.
Goldbaby urban cookbook3 is a very tasty little sample pack, and for the price is a no-brainer buy. The sounds are very well recorded, and fresh and innovative. Of course anyone can make a mess even with the best gear, but thankfully not Goldbaby. These samples are just tasty, without being overly warm, or too distorted.
It’s going for a bargain at $ 49 from Goldbaby’s site
Toontrack EZdrummer2 Hip Hop pack
The Hip-hop pack is an expansion pack for the popular EZdrummer2 sample player, by Toontrack. The Hip-hop library was produced by Mattias Eklund. This review is written assuming that you know the ins and outs of Toontrack’s EZdrummer sample player. If you’re not too hot on it, you can check our earlier review.
The hip-hop extension is 21 kit variations built around a basic hip hop kit. It’s a lovely setup, with most of the instruments you might need to build a classic hip-hop groove. The basic kit is already a lot more involved than the basic rock kits that EZdrummer comes with, and starts to build on the capabilities of EZdrummer as a songwriting tool. As well as the kit, which is a nice sounding ‘covered with pillows’ vibe, there is a couple of sample pads, which have some nice additions of electronic claps, snares, hi-hats, 808 stuff and so on. There is also a wide variety of percussion instruments, guiro, triangle, woodblock, cabasa, tambo, etc. One of the pads has a chromatic sample that enables a bass line, from a selection of different cool subby sounding samples. These occupy one of the upper octaves of the controller keyboard. very useful for layering bass and kit together.
Every single one of the drums, perc and sample pads can be changed to a different sample, so you can create your own kit from the myriad of samples included, or you can just choose from one of the 21 kits to start with.
As is the case with all EZdrummer expansions, each of the 21 kits comes with a selection of midi grooves to fit style and tempo for the subgenre that kit is created for. For example, there’s a trap kit, designed for use around the 125bpm region, and the midi grooves and samples link up nicely to create that laid back Miami vibe, heavy on the 808 and 909 vibe. There are some really nice break kits, one called’ one for Neptunus’ for the Pharell vibe, and so on. All of the grooves are interchangeable with other kits, so you’re not limited in that way.
I particularly like that the midi grooves aren’t quantised to uselessness, but are very humanised, and pushed and pulled around so that there’s a really nice pocket and hip-hop vibe on them. gets the head nodding very quickly.
As with all the EZdrummer expansions, the sounds are all put through different channels in the built-in mixer, so they can be separated to different channels in your DAW for better mixing.
HipHop sample pack costs $ 69 check it out here
Sample Magic future R&B
Sample Magic is constantly creating right on the edge of contemporary electronic music. I don’t think there are many companies out there at the moment that have the same pedigree when it comes to cutting and edges.
Future R&B follows their usual format of wav, apple, and rex loops and one-shots, with some midi files and custom kits for the major drum samplers out there at the moment.
If you’re thinking Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Lamar Kendrick, then this is the sample pack for you. The loops are super creative — minimal, kind of trappy in places, slightly dark, and very melodic.
Registering at just under 1GB of samples, the packs are divided into 7 folders; Bass, drum, fx, music, one shots, synth, and vocals. All looped, excepting One shots.
The drums are very creative, and are not standard fare. Lots of 808 and 909 vibe, but modernized. Minimal, creative rhythms. All very inspiring stuff. Each loop comes as a full loop, then broken down to kick snare, perc and tops.
The FX are generally more soundscape type effects. adding texture, rise and fall, and movement to tracks.
The synth loops are a nice blend of digital and analogue synths recorded playing mostly drifting chill chord pads. But there’s the odd more blippy or side chained pumping vibe going on there too.
The vocal loops are all the very washed out, chopped and reversed effects that litter chart music at the moment. Used in a more percussive way, yet still with that human element that evokes emotion.
A very nice collection of loops and one shots that’ll get you started on a lush modern R&B vibe. If you don’t want the whole lot, you can buy them in sections, as with all the Sample Magic sample packs nowadays.
You can listen here:
Future R&B costs $ 54 check it here.
“Distant Echo” is a beautifully textured ambient sample pack. Ranging from harmonic to inharmonic, the engineers at Mode Audio have delivered a focused yet eclectic batch of whirring WAV files.
Most of the additive samples were fairly eerie, but overall quite clean (because it’s FM synthesis). The bass samples ranged from simple to gnarly cinematic groans. The contour texture samples are all fairly interesting and organic FX style pitch sweep progressions, or more eerie movie-style tension builders.
The inharmonic samples were all minute long drone samples with quite a bit of tension – some of which had very cool warbling textures. Both tonal and noise categories both offered drones on the slightly more natural side, some of which evolve quite nicely.
The granular textures were my favorite – they offer plenty of variation and are overall quite natural sounding and lush. Many of these weren’t quite so eerie, and could be utilized to add a great deal of interest to more mainstream (non-cinematic) music – which was the main issue I had with most of the other types of samples.
Overall a great pack for cinematic/ambient/drone production that requires a lot of tension and release.
25 Inharmonic Drones
22 Tonal Texture Samples
18 Granular Texture Samples
16 Additive Drones
17 Contour Texture Samples
13 Noise Texture Samples
9 Bass Drones
Price: $ 23.10
Indie Chill is a phenomenal vibey alt-rock, indie retro synth, dusty-beat sample pack. Loops in this pack that are tempo-synced are either 90 BPM, 100 BPM, or 110 BPM.
In ‘ambience and textures’ there are a multitude of gorgeous, lush synths, jutting rhythms, and beautiful background synth textures that wash over you. The bass section is all bass guitar loops. They’re well played and well-processed, and are melodically solid. MIDI is included.
As with the other SM White label packs, the drum loops, drum hits, and breaks categories separate out the drums into their individual parts. These loops are all great – they have an acoustic drumset feel while maintaining a lot of punch, and they elicit a bit of a lo-fi feel.
The chords section is technically almost all one-shots, though some chords that have tempo-synced delays and reverbs are put into the 90 BPM, 100 BPM, or 110 BPM categories. It’s important to know that you aren’t getting chord progressions with these, however, just individual chords. Sound-wise they’re highly respectable, I could hear them being used in many different types of music and situations.
The guitar loops is where things really, really start getting astonishingly good. The melodies, the processing, the playing itself are all truly top notch. I find that many of the individual loops are inspiring me to write music based around them on the spot. Melodically they range from catchy to dark to artsy and back, fairly diverse.
The inspiration loops category is essentially the music loops category from previous SM White Label packs – it’s basically four elements combined into a cohesive, albeit short, song idea. Many of these involve a lead guitar or synth, chords, a bass, and another element. They’re well written and sound fantastic.
Pad loops are lavish and sweet to the ear. The synth loops are mostly melodies, and fairly vintage/indie-synth sounding in composition. Vocal loops don’t have words (mostly ahhs and oohs) but would make for great background, sampling, or effects – a lot of them are really fun. A great pack for a multitude of genres ranging from indie-electronic to alternative rock.
WAV: 1.6 GB, 44.1 kHz, 24-bit / 188 MIDI
Apple Loops: 1.5 GB, 44.1 kHz, 24-bit / 188 MIDI
Rex: 1 GB, 790 Rex2, 44.1 kHz, 24-bit / 188 MIDI
Price: $ 51.90
The bass samples quite good – the sound design is solid and they range from dark UK garage womps to drum & bass reese basses, processed quite well I might add.
These are all rendered with tempo-synced automation, and each sample is tempo-labeled.
All drum samples have full (the complete loop with all elements including kick and snare), hat (only the hi-hats), prc (only percussion), top (both hi-hats and percussion), and stp (only the kick and the snare/clap), which is always incredibly useful if you only want a select few elements. Most of the percussion ranges from cool to not so cool, the kicks and snares are generally pretty nice, and the hats are adequate.
Overall, these drum beats are certainly “dark” or “heavy” – essentially what you would expect for dark UK drum & bass and garage. The FX samples are fairly suitable, and are largely short, dark, cinematic noises.
A very useful pack for anyone looking to make the darker side of modern dance music – be it four on the floor house, garage, dubstep, or otherwise!
WAV: 503 MB, 48 kHz, 24-bit;
Apple Loops: 440 MB, 48 kHz, 24-bit;
Rex 269 MB – 48 kHz, 24-bit
Price: $ 28.90
Low End Theory
All loops that are tempo-synced are 140 BPM.
All of the bass loops in this pack are fat synth basslines with creative vintage sound design. Midi files are included for these loops.
As with the Future Bass samples also from SM White Label, all drum samples have full (the complete loop with all elements including kick and snare), hat (only the hi-hats), prc (only percussion), top (both hi-hats and percussion), and stp (only the kick and the snare/clap). The drums seem to occupy a similar vein of the vintage, electronic, and heavily processed sounds combining drum machines with more organic sounding top loops – the design and rhythmic patterns on these is very creative and well-produced!
Effects come in both loops and as risers, impacts, and spots. The loops are mostly old-school synthy fun, ranging from imaginative to absurd. Similarly, the risers, impacts, and spots would be quite usable for quick fills and transitions.
Music loops have multiple parts, and come as the full loop and separated out into their individual elements (e.g. full, bass, lead, pad, etc.). Both these music loops and the synth loops are really nice, you can really hear the analog warmth SM White Label tried to ensure was dripping out of every loop. Midi is included for each of these as well.
Top loops include two categories: ‘rhythmic and percussive’ and ‘texture and abstract’. Many of the rhythmic and percussive loops are incredible – some remind me of Burial’s early work, but they’re quite eclectic and I would imagine most producers will be able to get a lot of use out of this section. The texture and abstract loops are a bit more esoteric – some sound like warped city traffic or nature sounds, others less identifiable.
Vocal loops are in the style of ‘vocal sample-y/chops’ and ‘can’t make out the words but vaguely sounds like a voice’. These range from eccentric to inspired, but almost all carry enough interest to be practical.
WAV: 1.2 GB, 797 WAV 44.1kHz, 24-bit / 236 MIDI / 7 Sampler formats;
Apple Loops: 1.1 GB, 689 AIFF 44.1kHz, 24-bit / 236 MIDI / 7 Sampler formats;
Rex: 787 MB, 689 Rex2 / 239 Midi
Price: $ 53.70
Dmitry Sches brought us his Diversion synth back in October 2011 and it caused quite a stir. It has been steadily improved upon since then, but apart from a long since abandoned Computer Music version of the effects section of Diversion, nothing new since then. Until now…
Tantra is a 2 stereo channel rhythmic effects processor, available for Windows and Mac OS X. Each channel can consist of up to 7 effects: Tremolo (3 flavours), Filter, Distortion, Delay, LoFi, Flanger and Glitch, which can all be reordered any way you like as long as you only want one of each effect. Double this up with the second, independently edited, channel and you’ve got some real mangle power there. The two channels can run in parallel or series.
The master channel, what I can see of it, consists of a 3 band sweepable EQ, a very usable Reverb, Master Dry/Wet and Volume with a Limiter.
Beautiful. Soft colours laid out against the muted background with no unwanted shocks to the system, except… I’m doing this review on a 13” MacBook pro, non-retina, and the interface doesn’t fit. I got about ½ the narrow master panel at the bottom missing. I can access the larger knobs, but not the smaller ones. I have contacted Dmitry who is looking into it.
Where Tantra comes alive is in its use of modulators. Across the top of the GUI runs a Step/Curve editor with up to 32 steps. To the right you can select which of 8 of these modulators to edit. Select step edit mode and you get up to 32 step bars to edit up and down. Editing features are comprehensive and each Modulator can be saved and recalled. In curve mode, you get up to 32 curved envelope type segments, with a ‘Tension’ control to adjust the curves between logarithmic, linear and exponential curves. The speed of each modulator can be set independently relative to DAW tempo.
Editing is straightforward enough using the circular handles on the shapes and a combination of right and left clicking to set the number of steps. There is a Slide/Lock control, when Slide is engaged any sideways movement of the envelope handles slides the remainder of the sequence accordingly. When locked everything remains in place except the handle being edited. Oh and there are shuffle and gate time controls too.
The Matrix is the link between the Modulators and the Effects. It is a simple 24 channel Source, Amount, Destination type of affair with an overall bypass button, which I surprisingly found useful, so you can instantly hear what a mess you’ve made of things. All good, no-frills stuff. In fact, in my opinion, this is one of the most well-organized GUIs I have used. There are no visual shocks, all the controls are logically chosen and placed. Really tidy work.
The individual effects all work as expected and sound excellent. There is a good selection of filters including phasers, ring mod and a vowel filter among others. Distortion comes in tube and overdrive flavours and does some good fuzz box action. The delay is high quality…. In fact, all the effects are nicely designed and work well together and this is the important bit, they all sound of a piece, like they belong together.
There is a good selection of presets for dubbing out your drums and tripping out your leads and pads. With careful editing more generative type material is possible when using differing sequence lengths and the results obtained are of a professional standard.
I really enjoyed exploring Tantra. It can be a quick fix for tired loops, or something much more expressive/subtle can be achieved with a bit of time spent. It’s a shame about the GUI not fitting my screen. I think this problem was discovered too late to be fixed for the initial release, but Dmitry is aware of it and is on it. I would also like to have seen lockable dry/wet controls in the master section.
Overall Tantra is an excellent sounding piece of kit with a wide range of uses.
$ 69 (currently on sale — $ 49)
— Excellent sound quality
— Great results… Fast
— GUI too small on 13” Macbook Pro – Dmitry says this will be addressed
— Nothing else really….
We Sink: Future RnB 2
If you’re into hypey synths, trappy drums, and syncopated rhythms, this sample pack is for you.
Basses range from synthy to 808-style. Many of the synthy basses are moderately creative in their sound design. Drum loops are generally very creative, and I personally love many of the kicks for their uniqueness. They didn’t phone it in on the claps, snares, or percussion in these loops either, all are pretty creative and groove quite well overall.
The music loops (generally synth chords or melodies, or both combined) are generally quite nice as well – some of the plucky and flutey sounding progressions are my favorite.
Some of the leads are quite good with respect to sound design and melody, others less so. The pad loops are all beautifully smooth and have a lot of movement.
All samples are tempo and key labeled where applicable. Many of the one shots are also included in sampler instrument formats, including Ableton Sampler, EXS24, Halion, Kontakt, MachFive, NNXT and SFZ formats.
80 One Shots
Size: 701.7 MB (unzipped)
Price: $ 51.38
NICE The Creative Group
The Islandz sample pack is a beautiful amalgamation of ambient, R&B, Jazz and Reggae. Percussion-wise, most samples fall fairly in the R&B and J Cole style, in the best of ways – kicks hit hard but are still organic and natural sounding, snares are all attractively acoustic, and the conga loops simply groove.
One or two of the construction kits boast some fantastic horn sections with very convincing hooks. The reggae guitar skanks sound great in and of themselves – perfect for any reggae pop productions. However, melodically and harmonically, the pack is overall fairly simplistic. Loops are fairly short as well, so the producer will have to add his own variation or do his own chopping.
5 Construction Kits
Size: 248.83MB (unzipped)
Price: $ 24.02
PnD is a highly professional, “radio-ready” Toronto-inspired sample pack from Cg3Audio. As with many of their other packs, you can hear a great deal of effort went into the mixing, and that analog hardware was used. Many of these construction kits have an impressive amount of tracks as well – four of the five kits provided boast over 20 track layers, really fleshing out the songs and giving a desirable, “well-produced” feel.
Hi-hats are smooth yet present, kicks are punchy as all get-out, and bass/808 sounds hit hard even on small speakers. Synth and pad sounds are similarly well-equalized with a sound design philosophy I would call “creative enough”, certainly good enough for any pop production.
5 Construction Kits
Size: 996 MB (unzipped)
Price: $ 25.53