Authentic retro-leaning grit abounds in the latest offering from Waveform Recordings.
Over the past three years Mike Frade and Victor Calderone have carved out an impressive niche in sample land with their Waveform Recordings imprint, specialising in an achingly authentic brand of classic house and techno sample libraries that have perfectly catered for those seeking retrospective aesthetics.
Their latest offering is Detroit Sessions, which doesn’t deviate too far from their tried and tested formula. Jam-packed with chugging drum machine grooves, brooding filtered synths and imposing basslines, it bears all the stylistic hallmarks of classic Detroit techno. A quick listen to the demo tracks whets the appetite as they serve up slice after slice of bonafide Motor City soul. So far, so good.
Drums dominate the library with folders of Beats, Tops, Percussion, Fills and a 70-strong archive of one-shots accounting for well over half of the content. Of these folders it’s the Tops which stand out. Uncompromising and incessant, many of these kick-free grooves are adroitly laced with reverb and delays to yield added depth and dynamism – just lay a thumping 4/4 kick over WR_DS_TOP_122_07.wav and you’ve got the start of a techno juggernaut.
The Beats folder proved to be the weakest link. Whilst there are certainly some inspiring rhythms (WR_DS_124_BLO.wav for example), their usability is severely hampered by the absence of stripped or kick-free variants. When alternative versions are offered (WR_DS_124_TOB_b.wav) there’s an intrinsic lack of flexibility: often an extra fill, hat or percussive line is added to an already well-rounded beat, leaving you yearning for a top- or percussive-only alternative.
The melodic elements are spot on. The basslines are full-fat slabs of analogue goodness with varying degrees of sub bass, movement and processing to ensure a wide range of low-end inspiration whilst the music loops ooze old-school Detroit flavours with evolving synth lines that manage to be tough yet atmospheric at the same time.
Elsewhere there’s a sizeable (56) serving of highly usable FX crescendos, white noise whooshes, LFO modulations, drones and rhythmic beds, plus the obligatory (and notoriously hard to nail) vox loops folder which delivers a few useful phrases that run the line between human soulfulness and android impassiveness with pleasing results.
At £34.99 for 518 loops and hits this pack is certainly priced at the premium end of the market, and while the drum loops may lack the flexibility of other libraries, it’s the overwhelming warmth and rawness of the sounds on offer that make it a price worth paying if you want to add some stunningly authentic grit and atmosphere into techno or tech-house tracks.