Funk and Soul

 

Electronic Musician, October 2011

emusician.com

 

"Seamless mix and match. Brilliant inspire feature can generate new combinations of loops. Elastik host is playable and encourages improvisation."

 

We covered the Funk & Soul sample library from Ueberschall’s Inspire series in the 10/11 issue. But the series has now expanded to five titles, with Urban, House, Rock, and Ambient added to the collection, so let’s re-visit the concept for those who missed it the first time around.

Ueberschall makes great-sounding libraries, hosted by their sophisticated Elastik 2 playback engine, which works as either a plug-in (VST, RTAS, AU; Mac/Windows; 32/64 bit) or standalone. There’s also controllable processing with filter, pan, volume, pitch/formant control (by zplane), slice sequencing, and more; you can apply these changes to individual loops or globally to selected loops. What makes Elastik more of an “instrument” is that you load loops into a virtual keyboard and click on it, play it in real time from a physical controller, or trigger the notes from a sequencer—think of Elastik as an “instrument of loops,” the way you used to play loops with samplers.

But here’s how the Inspire concept takes this further. The Elastik player’s random option lets you load new sounds from other installed Ueberschall libraries; for example, suppose you load loops for kick, snare, a percussion mix, bass, and clavinet, then start playback. Click the Random button, and any selected loops will be replaced with loops from the same instrument category (e.g., a bass line gets replaced with a different bass line). Don’t like it? Try again—but you can also undo/redo, which is handy if you like what you have but want to see if you can do better.

With non-Inspire series libraries, though, the replacement loop may or may not be in the right key. You can always transpose it, but with Inspire libraries, any loop from any Inspire library will not only match tempo, but also key. So if only Inspire library soundbanks are available to the Elastik 2 player, you literally can’t go wrong (a future update will allow you to select which soundbanks Inspire will recognize).

Once you have the loop the way you want, you can just keep playing or sequencing it and save it for future use, or export the loop at the current tempo as a digital audio file. In a nutshell, an Inspire library by itself is like a “loop factory” that can conjure up with a virtually endless combination of possible loops, and you don’t have to concern yourself with matching tempo or key. But when combined with other Inspire libraries, the possibilities are multiplied just that much more.

You can also use the Inspire series libraries as standard sample libraries; they’re all well-crafted and continue to uphold Ueberschall’s high sonic standards. But the Inspire concept really does work—when I found loops that were “close but not quite,” it didn’t take too long before to end up with something that worked well.

Sounds interesting? Download the Elastik 2 player and a free 410MB sound library from Ueberschall’s web site to find out for yourself. The player has a bit of a learning curve, but take the time to scale it—Ueberschall has added a new and very useful twist to the world of sample libraries.

 

by Craig Anderton