Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review: Wave Alchemy Deep Tech And Progressive Sample Library

Library: Deep Tech & Progressive
Downloadable 24-bit WAVs & REX files (also available in Apple Loops, Reason, and Ableton Live formats)
Tech House, Progressive House, Electro House, Electronica
Developers Site:
Wave Alchemy
Distributed by:
On product page (A selection of free samples from the library are also available here)

Sample developers Wave Alchemy are back with another collection of loops and drum sounds, this time setting their sights on the Progressive and Deep Tech genres. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you probably already know Wave Alchemy has a reputation for the excellent production quality of their previous sample libraries. Will this new collection match up? Let's have a look...

Like their earlier libraries, Deep Tech and Progressive is organized neatly into folders. These are separated into drum hits, REX files, sampler patches (where the drum hits are organized into kits in all the major soft sampler formats), sound FX, and WAV loops (same content as the REX files, just in WAV instead). This makes installing only what you absolutely need easy and convenient. As always, file names include the tempo and the musical key when relevant.

Let's have a look at the loops first. There are 654 in total, which are further organized into folders for bass loops, drum loops, and synth & combi loops. The bass loops are up first and they immediately establish this as a collection with a lot more grit and attitude than what we've heard previously from Wave Alchemy. Outboard analog gear, bit crushers, and all manner of clipping are employed to give these basslines some serious snarl. Don't get me wrong, though, although these are quite a bit dirtier-sounding, the grime is done tastefully and up to Wave Alchemy's usual sterling standard. It's hard and digital when it needs to be, warm and full of analog juju when it needs to be. Stylistically, there's a pretty wide range of sounds here. Most of these could fit perfectly in any number of modern dance genres quite well, so don't overlook it just because tech and progressive might not be your thing.

The drum loops are divided by tempo into selections at 125, 127, and 130 BPM. Immediately upon starting to auditioning these I am again struck by how these are different than anything I've heard from this company so far. Not that there was anything wrong with what they have already released, but the level of creativity on display here sets a new bar for them, I think. The drum loops all groove in the propulsive, throbbing way you might expect, but the production is extremely creative and makes these sound much more interesting and high-tech than your average dance loop library. Everything from clean and technical to bang-up and filthy is represented here, so you can probably find something you'll like regardless of what genre you normally inhabit. The production is top notch, and the low end especially is impressive in how clean and defined it sounds.

The synths and combis category basically consists of everything that isn't a bassline or drum loop. Lots of punchy stabs, echoing synths, and lush reverbs on display in riffs of varying complexity. While some are simply isolated synth lines, some of the more complex combi loops also include percussion or light rhythm parts. This category is really the most genre-specific one, so these might be of less interest to makers of non-house genres, but everything here is superbly done. Catchy riffs, memorable chord sequences, and crisp, present production.

If loops aren't your thing (and by the way, you can now buy a discounted version of this library featuring only the drums hits and omitting the loops), Wave Alchemy has your back with 600 individual drum sounds and 62 FX type sounds to create your own beats with. These are divided by folders for crash cymbals, electronic percussion, hi-hats, kick drums, snares & claps, and world percussion. You probably won't be surprised to find out that these are just as awesome as the loops. Combine creative sound design, tasteful use of effects, and character by the bucketload, and you've got a great-sounding buffet of modern club drum sounds. There's really nothing here I didn't like.

Usually when I receive a Wave Alchemy library to check out, I'm not terribly shocked when I end up liking it. There is a really consistent attention to detail with their products that you don't often see. With Deep Tech and Progressive, though, I think they've raised the bar for themselves and their future collections. Perhaps it was just the looser "rules" of the genres they were focused on, but this collection feels like they let their hair down a bit and allowed themselves to get a bit more creative and "out there" than they have up till now. I really hope they continue to explore the edgier, dirtier side of things more in the future. If you make dance music, just get it. You're not going to be disappointed. [10/10]

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