Samplephonics Cyclic Ambience
250 lengthy loops and 150 one-shots make up this joyous pot pourri of sonic bits and pieces for “experimental minimal electronica”.
Once you start auditioning Cyclic Ambience’s sun- dappled guitars, smoky keyboards, off- kilter synths and bizarre basslines, you won’t be able stop til you’ve heard each and every one all the way to the end.
Our favourite folder, though, is ‘Drums Percussion’, comprising 100 of the maddest, coolest glitched-out beats we’ve heard in ages.
If cerebral, wilfully weird rhythms and melodies are your bag, you’ll want to fill it with this.
Mode Audio Ignition
320 one-shot drum and percussion samples, mixing up real instruments, found sounds and synthetic sources, plus 12 kits and five channel strips for Live, Logic, Reason or FL Studio (each one bought separately).
The sounds are adventurous and diverse, ranging from relatively conventional drums and metals, to ‘electronica’ noises and overt FX; and there’s a palpable semi-melodic theme running throughout, with chords and pitched tones layered tastefully behind many of the hits.
Colourful, creatively inspiring and perfectly priced, this is one of Mode’s best yet.
Loopmasters Deep Analog Tech
A collection of dark, edgy beats, basses, percussion lines, chords, melodics and FX aimed at tech house production and produced using a variety of classic and modern synths and effects (MS-20, Juno-60, Space Echo, Volca Keys), Deep Analog Tech gets pretty gritty at times, as befits the raw simplicity of the samples.
The 49 fabulously menacing drum loops (many of which are stemmed) are the highlight, but there’s lots of tasty synth work in this 1.13GB pack of sounds, too, and bags of subterranean atmosphere to the library in general.
Rhythmic Robot Poly 770
A polyphonic resurrection of the (monophonic) Korg 770 synth for Kontakt, Poly 770 is one of the Robot’s most ambitious libraries to date, despite the apparent simplicity of the original instrument.
All the essentials from the 770 have been emulated, including pitched noise oscillator, Chorus wave and awesome Traveler filter, and added to with an extra filter, sub oscillator, 25 sounds sourced from a number of other Korg synths for feeding into the ‘External’ input, and the essential randomiser switch.
Excelling at sci-fi weirdness, gentle melodics and quirky FX, Poly 770 is a retro triumph.
Toontrack Traditional Country EZX
Recorded at Nashville’s Quonset Hut studios using all the vintage gear required to “replicate a late 1950s session”, the latest EZX expansion gives you three new kits (1962 Rogers, Ludwig Keystone and Apollo, the last in sticks and brushes versions) with four snare drums, including a throaty 10-inch deep converted Ludwig tom.
A couple more crash cymbals wouldn’t have gone amiss, and the Ludwig kit’s rack tom is notable by its absence, but with its warm, old-school sound, this is another worthy addition to the EZdrummer 2 line-up.
Loopmasters Kid Massive Presents Deeper House
Kid Massive is no stranger to the Loopmasters sample shelves. His EDM Sessions pack was a stonker, and he’s wasted no time in following it up here with more club-friendly fodder.
As the title suggests, though, he’s gone a little deeper with this one. It feels like he’s revisiting the type of sounds he made a name for himself with across quality record labels like Revealed, Strictly Rhythm, Flamingo and Harem. That means the grooves ooze class, and will certainly prick the ears of the more discerning producer.
Amongst the crates are 548 individual 24-bit WAV files, ranging from fully-formed musical loops to one-hit samples. The drums hold weight, and the basslines are sturdy enough to anchor a wide variety of styles from funky to tribal. The pack really comes into its own with the Synth Multi Samples folder, with 65 for you to get your teeth into; and boy do they sit nicely in the mix. Looks like Kid Massive has lived up to his name again, then.
Samplestar House Masters
Hopping stylistically from the cheesiest of commercial house to deeper and techier flavours, House Masters’ 375 sampled loops and hits, and 56 MIDI files might not amount to a vast amount of ‘stuff’, but are confidently produced and full of bounce and groove.
We’d happily sacrifice a few of the ‘inspiration kits’ (with their lazy file naming) in favour of more self-contained bass, synth and FX loops, but nonetheless, the price is right and house producers of all denominations won’t be disappointed with this one.
Loopmasters Undercover Funk Vol 2
25 funk ‘band’ construction kits plus a bonus folder of processed beats, comprising 360 loops in total. The instrumentation takes in live drums, bass, guitar, keyboards of various kinds and percussion, as well as a few synths and FX.
The performances are great, and more diverse than you might expect, and the production style is tight and spritely. Construction kits they may be, but there’s so much independently usable material in Underground Funk Vol 2 that the usual caveats and limitations of such libraries don’t even begin to apply.
BL3R Jungle Madness Vol 1
If you’re looking for tearing Amen breaks and rolling D ‘n’ B basslines then jog on. This is a different kind of ‘jungle’ we’re talking about here. In fact, it’s straight-up EDM, but with insanely menacing tribal drums, wild animal sound effects and the kind of white noise sweeps and searing synth sounds that can give you a nose bleed just talking about them.
Heavily inspired by the music of upstarts like Wiwek, this collection wants to turn the club into the Amazon. Imagine if Skrillex did the soundtrack to the next King Kong movie and you’re halfway there.
The BL3R sound design team have outdone themselves here. The bass has a spatial resonance that gives you goose bumps, and the drums feel like iron fists in velvet gloves.
Mode Audio Density
150 drones and atmospheres presented as construction kits and loops (the demarcation is nominal, really), and categorised as Ambiances (sic), FM Drones, Granulation, Subs and Tonal Textures.
An impressive range of colours and moods is represented - haunting, pretty, dark, glitchy, trippy, musical, atonal, aggressive, you name it - and with the samples running anywhere up to 50 seconds in duration, the sounds have plenty of time to breathe and develop. 50 (fairly gentle) “synth stabs” are also included, and at £16, Density is something of a steal.