“Distant Echo” is a beautifully textured ambient sample pack. Ranging from harmonic to inharmonic, the engineers at Mode Audio have delivered a focused yet eclectic batch of whirring WAV files.
Most of the additive samples were fairly eerie, but overall quite clean (because it’s FM synthesis). The bass samples ranged from simple to gnarly cinematic groans. The contour texture samples are all fairly interesting and organic FX style pitch sweep progressions, or more eerie movie-style tension builders.
The inharmonic samples were all minute long drone samples with quite a bit of tension – some of which had very cool warbling textures. Both tonal and noise categories both offered drones on the slightly more natural side, some of which evolve quite nicely.
The granular textures were my favorite – they offer plenty of variation and are overall quite natural sounding and lush. Many of these weren’t quite so eerie, and could be utilized to add a great deal of interest to more mainstream (non-cinematic) music – which was the main issue I had with most of the other types of samples. Overall a great pack for cinematic/ambient/drone production that requires a lot of tension and release.
Indie Chill is a phenomenal vibey alt-rock, indie retro synth, dusty-beat sample pack. Loops in this pack that are tempo-synced are either 90 BPM, 100 BPM, or 110 BPM.
In ‘ambience and textures’ there are a multitude of gorgeous, lush synths, jutting rhythms, and beautiful background synth textures that wash over you. The bass section is all bass guitar loops. They’re well played and well-processed, and are melodically solid. MIDI is included.
As with the other SM White label packs, the drum loops, drum hits, and breaks categories separate out the drums into their individual parts. These loops are all great – they have an acoustic drumset feel while maintaining a lot of punch, and they elicit a bit of a lo-fi feel.
The chords section is technically almost all one-shots, though some chords that have tempo-synced delays and reverbs are put into the 90 BPM, 100 BPM, or 110 BPM categories. It’s important to know that you aren’t getting chord progressions with these, however, just individual chords. Sound-wise they’re highly respectable, I could hear them being used in many different types of music and situations.
The guitar loops is where things really, really start getting astonishingly good. The melodies, the processing, the playing itself are all truly top notch. I find that many of the individual loops are inspiring me to write music based around them on the spot. Melodically they range from catchy to dark to artsy and back, fairly diverse.
The inspiration loops category is essentially the music loops category from previous SM White Label packs – it’s basically four elements combined into a cohesive, albeit short, song idea. Many of these involve a lead guitar or synth, chords, a bass, and another element. They’re well written and sound fantastic.
Pad loops are lavish and sweet to the ear. The synth loops are mostly melodies, and fairly vintage/indie-synth sounding in composition. Vocal loops don’t have words (mostly ahhs and oohs) but would make for great background, sampling, or effects – a lot of them are really fun. A great pack for a multitude of genres ranging from indie-electronic to alternative rock.
The bass samples quite good – the sound design is solid and they range from dark UK garage womps to drum & bass reese basses, processed quite well I might add. These are all rendered with tempo-synced automation, and each sample is tempo-labeled.
All drum samples have full (the complete loop with all elements including kick and snare), hat (only the hi-hats), prc (only percussion), top (both hi-hats and percussion), and stp (only the kick and the snare/clap), which is always incredibly useful if you only want a select few elements. Most of the percussion ranges from cool to not so cool, the kicks and snares are generally pretty nice, and the hats are adequate. Overall, these drum beats are certainly “dark” or “heavy” – essentially what you would expect for dark UK drum & bass and garage. The FX samples are fairly suitable, and are largely short, dark, cinematic noises. A very useful pack for anyone looking to make the darker side of modern dance music – be it four on the floor house, garage, dubstep, or otherwise!
All of the bass loops in this pack are fat synth basslines with creative vintage sound design. Midi files are included for these loops.
As with the Future Bass samples also from SM White Label, all drum samples have full (the complete loop with all elements including kick and snare), hat (only the hi-hats), prc (only percussion), top (both hi-hats and percussion), and stp (only the kick and the snare/clap). The drums seem to occupy a similar vein of the vintage, electronic, and heavily processed sounds combining drum machines with more organic sounding top loops – the design and rhythmic patterns on these is very creative and well-produced!
Effects come in both loops and as risers, impacts, and spots. The loops are mostly old-school synthy fun, ranging from imaginative to absurd. Similarly, the risers, impacts, and spots would be quite usable for quick fills and transitions.
Music loops have multiple parts, and come as the full loop and separated out into their individual elements (e.g. full, bass, lead, pad, etc.). Both these music loops and the synth loops are really nice, you can really hear the analog warmth SM White Label tried to ensure was dripping out of every loop. Midi is included for each of these as well.
Top loops include two categories: ‘rhythmic and percussive’ and ‘texture and abstract’. Many of the rhythmic and percussive loops are incredible – some remind me of Burial’s early work, but they’re quite eclectic and I would imagine most producers will be able to get a lot of use out of this section. The texture and abstract loops are a bit more esoteric – some sound like warped city traffic or nature sounds, others less identifiable.
Vocal loops are in the style of ‘vocal sample-y/chops’ and ‘can’t make out the words but vaguely sounds like a voice’. These range from eccentric to inspired, but almost all carry enough interest to be practical.