Thursday, May 20, 2010
Product: Minimal Techno Revolution Vol. 1
Format: Digital download of 24-bit WAV and AIF/Apple Loops, Rex Loops, EXS/Kontakt Instrument files
Genre: Techno, Minimal, Electro
Distributed by: Sounds of Revolution
Demo: Audio demos on product page.
Oliver Schmitt is at it again, this time taking aim at the austere synth lines and geometric synth drums of the minimal techno scene. Like previous collections, the sample material is divided up among both loops and individual hits/instrument sounds. This gives you the best of both worlds allowing you to take inspiration from the loops and maintain your originality at the same time. So with that out of the way, let's have a listen...
The bulk of the collection is made up of loops (available in WAV, REX2, & Apple Loop formats) - 700 of them, to be precise. These are split into separate folders for Drum, Bass, and Synth loops. The file naming convention here is extremely helpful, listing the original tempo, the key (if applicable), and a descriptive name, making it easier to find the specific loop you're looking for. The bass loops kick off the collection with a wide range of contemporary flavors on offer. From gritty bit crushed squiggles, to fat analog moans, to hard digital coldness, just about every basic mood and style you're hearing in minimal techno these days is represented here at least a bit. The programming is funky when it's appropriate, strict when it needs to be, and the production techniques and sound design are top shelf. If something here doesn't inspire you, you may be beyond help.
The drum loops are up next and are further divided up into rather self-descriptive folders marked Clicks, Drum Kits, Experim, Hihat, and Perc. Schmitt's usual talent for creative and futuristic sounding programming continues here in abundance. All the sounds and production are absolutely current sounding and genre appropriate. All the beats are very well constructed and thought out, but even at their most cerebral, they don't lose that Teutonic, head-bobbing funk.
The synth lines are up next and run the gamut from sparsely delayed analogs to filtered funkiness to gritty gated grooves (how's that for some alliteration)? There aren't as many samples in this category as the others, but what is here is quality and will hopefully lead you into making your own creative synth loops. Attention to sound design and production continue to show through as high priorities.
As I mentioned earlier in the review, this collection also includes some individual instruments and drum sounds for constructing your own beats and loops. The sounds are available in pre-mapped instruments for Logic's EXS-24, Native Instruments Kontakt 3, and of course as the raw WAV files for you to map into any other sampler. Root keys are indicated in the file names when relevant, but the names here aren't descriptive at all, merely 'Clap 001', 'Clap 002', and so on. Even vaguely descriptive names would be helpful here for those who prefer to map out their own samples. Thankfully, the samples are subdivided into categories for bass sounds, claps, classic percussion, cymbals, electro stuff, fragments, kicks, perc, SFX, Shakers, SID, Snares, Synths, and Toms. Most of the sounds, as you may have gathered, are synth drum and percussion sounds. These all sound great and would probably interest just about anyone making music with a taste for very electronic sounding drums. While most of them are fairly light, as you would expect for minimal techno, they are all punchy, crisp, and precise sounding.
I've been amazed at the sheer number of really great independent sample developers there seem to be cropping up everywhere and it is clear that Sounds of Revolution are aiming for the top. This library, like their prior offerings, is amazingly consistent and is almost complete devoid of filler material you'd never want to use. If minimal techno is your thing and you're looking for a good sample collection to get you started, you could certainly do a lot worse than to check this one out! [10/10]