Sample Magic – Chillwave
In Chillwave, Sample Magic have found a rare vein to mine. Which they do with characteristic flair and style.
OK, so it’s hardly been released during the heady days of Chillwave’s relatively short-lived era of sun-flecked mainstream flirtation, but maybe the producers of the latest Sample Magic collection have been so laid-back about timescales that five years late is an appropriate enough delay.
In the end it hardly matters: this extensive sample library is both exquisite and different. Brazenly spurning the sample mainstream and the recent glut in electro, tech and dubstep offerings from pretty much every sample label out there, this collection takes a path less trod into a downtempo landscape (tempos at between 90 and 100bpm) inspired by 80s synth pop, indie dance and Boards of Canada-style chillout.
Care, in terms of both programming and sound processing, is apparent in each lush warm slice of audio loveliness. Drenched pads, lilting synths and cracked guitars are backed by lazy beats and even a choice selection of processed vocals (more would have been nice).
But it’s elsewhere that the real magic lies. A folder of 100 filtered and effected vinyl-style chords is a goldmine to kick-start your own progressions, the enigmatically named ‘Dust and found sound loops’ can be woven into the background of the sonic tapestry for depth and instant lo (glo?) fi vibes, while a generous 35 folders of ‘inspiration kits’ offer stripped stems for a wide range of song-starters to kick-start the creative process – particularly useful if the mood of the pack is so laid-back you end up wanting to escape the studio for a beach full of beautiful people, all ripe for a short-lived summer romance that ends in the kind of pained side-chained vocal reflections so loved by Chillwave’s biggest success stories.
WAV / APPLE LOOPS / REX2 plus sampler patches and ReFill
The 300 drum hits in particular are superb: if the marketing text is to be believed, the producers have run the hits through old cassette decks (not even nice Studer plug-ins!) to deliver a warmth that – whether the claims are true or not – just seem to fit the groove. In many ways the scant asking price is probably justified by these hits alone.
Sample Magic’s pedigree is solid and rarely do their products disappoint. In Chillwave they’ve found a rare seam to mine, and come up with audio gold. Highly recommended.