Goldbaby Urban Cookbook Vol 3
The ’Baby open up another Goldmine of full-phat drum hits, chords, FX, layers (transients, reverbs, vinyl noise, etc) and more, aimed at producers of hip-hop, bass and dance music of all kinds. Your meagre outlay gets you over 3000 samples, and even though that number includes a lot of multisample sets, it’s still an enormous collection.
The many accompanying sampler patches and Maschine 2 library are the icing on the cake, and this is yet another must-have from New Zealand’s finest.
Soul Rush Records Found Sound Percussion Hits
230-odd sampled hits from a variety of objects (bottles, boxes, keys, etc) for the construction of drum and percussion kits, plus a handful of loops, ambiences and phrases.
Tonally speaking, the sounds are generally OK, but many of the one-shots include a lot of (rapidly faded) background noise and rumble, which is frustrating. We get that this is meant to be ‘earthy’ stuff, but it actually comes across as a bit sloppy in places.
Still, the price is good and there is some value here.
Mode Audio Fracture
More found sound percussion: 210 samples rolled into ten drum kits and four channel strips for various DAWs (we received the Ableton Live version, so that’s Drum and Effects Racks). The sonic diversity is impressive, given the subject matter, and clearly a lot of thought has gone into the processing involved.
Fracture is much more interesting and cleanly produced than Found Sound Percussion Hits (previous slide), and with both coming in at the same price, this has to be the one that gets our recommendation.
Sample Tools by Cr2 Dark Tech House
The moodier end of tech house gets the Cr2 treatment with this on-point library of sampled loops and hits (500-odd), synth presets (Massive and Sylenth), MIDI files, “song starter” construction kits and tutorial videos. The 25 (full and stemmed) big-’n’-bouncy drum loops are eminently mix-ready, while the raw, subby basses and cool, understated synth riffs really hit the spot. The song starters, meanwhile, are genuinely inspirational.
On the one-shots front, the 109 drum hits should prove useful, and there are some tasty noises in the FX folder. Plenty to be getting on with, then.
Sample Magic Ableton Instrument Racks
Five Simpler-based electronic Instrument Racks for Ableton Live: Bass, Lead, Kick, Snare and Hat. The eight macros at the front of each one start with the Selector, which scrolls through a bank of 64 samples in the relevant category. The other seven macros control a range of (fairly simple) effects setups tailored to each instrument type.
It all comes together well, although the bass samples are very short, and some of them don’t end totally cleanly. That said, this is a neat little dance music toolbox that deserves a place in any Live Library at this price.
Native Instruments Prospect Haze
'90s East Coast hip-hop and R&B are the topics for NI’s latest Maschine Expansion, put together by Rawcutz. Prospect Haze’s 843 samples come together in 53 Drum Kits (which actually include basses, SFX and other sounds) and 11 Melodic Kits.
From beefy kicks and snares, through jazzy chords and dusty instrumental licks (the numerous lutes are a highlight), the whole thing exudes that authentic samplist vibe, with plenty of vinyl crackle and crate-dug ambience. Essential for hip-hop heads, and a must-hear for everyone else.
Impact Soundworks Reforged
A 1.2GB pack of metallic hits and loops, comprising 1900+ WAVs and a series of scripted Kontakt instruments.
The source material was recorded “in a shed in South Wales” and includes a colourful line-up of struck and resonated objects, from cooker, tin bath and gas canisters, to garden tools and household bits and pieces.
The Kontakt interface includes effects and step sequencing, and although the Texture patches and synths feel a bit superfluous, Reforged succeeds as a unique and characterful release.
Loopmasters Hip Hop Instrumentals 3
13 laidback hip-hop construction kits, each comprising between seven and 14 loops of up to 30 seconds in length, alongside a collection of their component hits and one-shots.
The tracks are beautifully chilled and imaginatively produced - full of grit, dust and character - and a good range of instrumentation is represented. The single drum hits are also worthy of mention.
The problem, though, is that at just 292 samples in total, there’s not that much here to really get your teeth into - these days you’d expect rather more content for the money.
Samplephonics Etch: Rave Warfare
This 1GB sample pack might only consist of 257 loops and 148 one-shots, but it feels like a whole lot more due to the sheer amount of stylistic ground covered. Essentially a new-school/old-school bass music hybrid, Rave Warfare takes on jungle, dubstep, DnB, garage, techno and more with equal aplomb.
The focus is on tight, floor-shaking beats, breaks and basses, but the Chords & Pads folder is packed with gorgeous, floaty sounds, and the 30 melodics don’t disappoint, either. A lot of it is quite derivative and referential, but that actually seems to help rather than hinder.
Big Fish Audio Urban Guitar Suite Vol 1
20 guitar-centred construction kits (2.7GB) in a range of, er, ‘urban’ genres: Funk, Retro, R&B and Rock.
Weird genre classification aside, the tracks are compositionally top notch, excellently produced, and feature some breathtaking guitar work, with a broad array of playing techniques and tones. There are some great basslines too, but while the programmed drums work fine in the Funk and R&B tracks, the dreadful machine-gun snares suck the life out of some of the Rock and Retro ones.
With regard to the guitars - the main attraction - though, it’s an impressive resource.
Sample Magic Organic Chillout
1.3GB of (acoustic, electric and electronic) drums, basses, percussion, FX, keyboards, strings and more at 95, 100 and 105bpm, with a laidback but focussed production style.
The best bits are the stylistically adventurous drum loops (and accompanying one-shots), the very pretty Rhodes and piano riffs, and the dense stemmed music loops; but the whole collection oozes quality - there’s enough here to sow the seeds for countless tracks.
The only minor complaints are the atmospheres, which feel a bit short, and the cheesiness of some music loops.
Samplephonics Analogue Witchcraft Vol 2
When we reviewed the original Analogue Witchcraft, we gave it full marks citing AncientPiano as perhaps the greatest loop we’d ever heard. With Vol 2, producer Paul Rez may not have surpassed his ear-reaving magnum opus (although 120_B_CaveScanner_01_SP.wav comes close!), but this is still one of the best libraries we’ve heard since that one.
Comprising heavily processed and resampled bass, drum, synth and other instrument loops, it’s a tour de force of musical sound design. Bold, imaginative, impossible to classify and utterly brilliant.
Sample Tools by Cr2 Sound Of Techno 2
202 127bpm bass, drum and synth loops, 119 drum and FX one-shots, and six mini construction kits make up the core of Cr2’s second techno soundware venture, bolstered by Cr2’s usual MIDI files, synth presets and videos.
Being basically more of the same, the musical feel is brooding and bangin’, with the production style dark and relentless. Perhaps because of its similarity, this one hasn’t got us as excited as the original Sounds of Techno, but it’s a quality set of samples, nonetheless, and great value for money.