Monday, June 15, 2009

Review: Loopmasters Fidget House

Libraries: Loopmasters Fidget House
Format: Download REX/WAV/Apple Loops

Genre: Fidget House, House, Electro

Distributed by:
Price: Download £19.95

Demo: On the
product page

Electronic music tends to evolve so much, that if you blink your eyes, you're likely to have missed the birth of at least 2 or 3 new genres. So it's perhaps not surprising that I wasn't sure what this library would hold given that 'Fidget House' was not a genre I had come across before. Turns out, Fidget House is a mixture of house music with some of the warped basslines and bleepy synths that characterize electro-house, and a healthy dose of hyper-edited vocal and effects samples. (Check out artists like Switch & Hervé to hear it for yourself.)

So with that out of the way, let's delve in and see what's on offer. Like most Loopmasters titles, Fidget House consists of both loops and one-shot samples (nearly 600 samples in total). The loops section is further subdivided into Bass Loops, Breaks Fill Glitches, Full Loops, Music Loops, the Blips, the Creeps, Top Loops, and Twisteed Vocal Loops. The one shots are divided up by Drums (Crashes, Hats, Kicks, Perc, Snares), Stabs, Sweeps, and Vox Stabs.

Things start out with a healthy selection of Bass Loops. Expect abundant use of side chain pumping, bit crushing, and lots of glide. All the basslines sound extremely contemporary and have a good mix of groove and hookiness to them. The names of the loops include the root note of the bassline, and in instances where there is a progression, the root notes of each part of the progression. This makes it quick and easy to locate a loop that will fit into an existing arrangement or to find compatible loops in this, or another sample collection.

Next up are the Breaks Fills and Glitches, which is pretty much what the name suggests. 21 loops that can be used to add glitchy touches or transitions to a mix as fills, or simply as fringier elements to layer with a main drum loop.

This is followed by Filtered Loops Section which features more involved loops, most of them marrying light drum or percussion grooves with heavily edited and filtered disco and vocal samples. While this section concentrates mainly on vaguely melodic elements, the Full Loops section is strictly made up of drum loops. Most have a nice, stompy house feel with plenty of funky swing, and occasionally glitchy flourishes. My only complaint is that there are only about two dozen loops in this section. Sure, it's better to program your own, but it's something that potential customers should be aware of in case they are mainly interested in drum loops.

The Music Loops section is next and covers much of the same territory as in the Bass Loops section, but concentrating on leads and higher melodic lines. Everything is perfectly produced and absolutely up-to-the-minute stylewise. Really, these loops would probably be useful to producers and remixes for any dance-oriented genre given how much many current styles cross over one another. Electro house musicians in particular might dig these.

The enigmatically-named The Blips and The Creeps sections consist of sparse loops, some melodic, some not to add some extra spice to the mix. Bleepy, 8-bit synths, delayed rhythm lines, ghostly tones, and other snippets of audio weirdness are here for the taking to add a little spice and mood to your arrangements.

The woefully-brief Top Loops section is made up mostly of hihats/shaker/tambourine loops, usually mixed in with a snare or other percussion that has been hipass filtered. These types of loops are really useful for adding some groove and feel to your existing drum arrangements, which is why it's a shame there's only a dozen of them here.

The loops section rounds out with a small selection of Twisted Vocal Loops. As you might expect, these are based on vocal samples that have been chopped up, gated, and edited into oblivion (although in a rhythmically driving way). There's a really nice grit to these that take them to a higher level of sonic interest than there would've been had they just been presented with pristine clarity. Lots of attitude and beautiful dirt!

On to the one-shot samples, then... Note that all the one-shots come available both as WAV files and in the most popular software sampler formats including EXS24, Halion, Kontakt, NNXT, and SFZ. Things start of with a selection of electronic drums divide into folders for crashes, hihats, kicks, snares, and percussion. All but the Crashes section consist of a decent number of samples to choose from. This is by no means going to replace a dedicated drum sample library, but I honestly don't know anyone who couldn't use more drum sounds, and these are all very nicely done. The kicks have the authoritative thud that is fashionable these says, the hats sizzle, the percussion mixes vintage and contemporary electronic thwips, zaps, and doonts, and the snares are some of the more unusual and creative ones I've heard in any sample library. Good stuff.

But man cannot live on drums alone, so we move on to the Stabs folder comprised of just under 50 stab sounds ranging from aliasing brass hits, choppy digitally distorted notes, and lofi synth tones. All include the rootnote in the file name, and most are useful across enough of a range to do full riffs and progressions with. There are a few sounds with delays or repeated elements that will be out of time when transposed, but these sounds are in the minority.

The Sweeps section is a little under two dozen noise and synth FX sweeps pefect for transitions, intros, and breakdowns. Not much to say here except the sounds are good.

Rounding things out are just over two dozen Vox Stab samples to create your own hyper-edited riffs and rhythms with. The processing and quality is consitant with the rest of the library and consists of relatively short vocal samples that have been digitally crushed, comb-filtered, and otherwise abused for a very current feel.

Whether or not you've ever heard of Fidget House in your life before, if you do any sort of club-oriented music or remixing, you'll probably find something useful in this collection. As with all Loopmasters titles, the production and sound quality is fantastic and the loops actually sounds like something you might actually want to use in your tunes, and not like a bunch of hashed-together throwaways like many loop collections. As I mentioned before, the loops here are primarily melodic, so if you're mainly after drum loops, you might want to look elsewhere. I would've liked to have more of everything, but it's important to realize this is a low-priced sample library and offers a very good value of the price. My only other wish would've been for some one-shot bass sounds, as that seems to be the only category missing from the one-shots for those who prefer not to rely on pre-programmed basslines. All in all, though, another terrific collection from Loopmasters. (9/10)

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