Raw Power ($69.95) is a collection of more than 1,500 samples and loops in several rock styles, primarily for use in Propellerhead Reason. The CD comes with NN-XT and Redrum patches, REX2 samples, and WAV files. Produced by Jay Price and Jez Miller for Loopmasters, the sounds were recorded at various studios throughout London specifically for use in this library.
Raw Power is a collection of samples and loops inspired by the music of the Stooges, The Who, Blondie, the Sex Pistols, and Radiohead.
Raw Power is divided into five main folders, each based on a musical style. Each folder contains subfolders that include drums, guitars, basses, and synth samples. Within each instrument's subfolder are individual folders for WAV- and REX-format files. The samples were recorded at 44.1 kHzand 16-bits, and the loops are anywhere from one to four measures in length. A sixth folder, Toolbox, contains Reason NN-XT and Redrum patches with full drum kits, vocal effects, guitar noises, acoustic guitar sounds, and synth hits. A PDF file with CD registration and additional Loopmasters product information is provided, as well as a demo WAV file using samples from the Raw Power collection.
The Power of Inspiration
The five main folders — Alternative-USA, Artskool, NewWave, NewYork-Underground, and England'sDreaming — hint at the styles and bands that inspired this library (such as the Stooges, Blondie, the Sex Pistols, and Radiohead). Each Guitar folder contains a mixture of electric-guitar power chords and riffs, and acoustic strums. The Bass folder has synth and electric-bass-guitar riffs played with a pick and fingers through a variety of amps and stompboxes. The Synth folder has loops ranging from classic ‘70s Clavinet funk to early techno sounds. The Drums folders are divided into two additional folders, one for loops of beats and one for fills. The drums are played on a mixture of live kits and electronic drum machines.
Each style of folder has its own tempo, with all of the samples conforming to the same bpm. The names of the individual samples hint at the feel, genre, or song after which they are modeled. For example, AlternativeUSA, recorded at 145 bpm, has a Who-like guitar riff named “Can't Refrain.” This folder also has wah-basses, Rhodes riffs, and a variety of tasteful drumbeats.
Artskool (135 bpm) contains much heavier guitar sounds that are reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen, as well as bass growls and slides, fat Oberheim synth lines, and various hard-rock drumbeats with flanging and other effects. NewWave (120 bpm) contains cleaner guitars with jazzlike '80s tones, tremolo riffs, and fuzzbox leads. The folder's synth sounds contain classic new wave lead lines, and the bass and drum loops are as raw and innocent as the music itself was when it first appeared.
England'sDreaming (140 bpm) offers guitar loops reminiscent of early Rolling Stones, Beatles, and other British bands from the '60s. Add a few classic stereo B-3 licks in the Synth folder and some stock drumbeats and fills, and it's the British Invasion all over again.
NewYorkUnderground (130 bpm) is full of classic New York — style rock and alternative licks and beats. The crunchy guitars, echo-laden Rhodes, filtered Wurlitzers, and solid drum loops remind the listener of the breakthrough acts that New York City spawned after the punk revolution landed from England.
Raw Power is an interesting collection of samples that stays true to its inspiration. Although my first impression was that the sounds lacked polish and refinement, as I began to explore the CD further I remembered that polish was not what these musical styles of sound and attitude are about. Raw Power does an admirable job of re-creating both.
There are plenty of clean and open chords, licks, and riffs as well as dirty power chords in the Guitar folders to piece together any kind of rocking tune. The guitar samples are well recorded, with good tone, feel, and the power to sound loud (according to the liner notes, they were recorded loud). The acoustic-guitar samples are especially well recorded.
The basses have a wide array of licks and tones, most of which are appropriately basic and straightforward. Along with the drumbeats and fills, they can drive the pounding rhythms for which these styles of music are known. Add in the classic keyboard sounds and memorable synth lines, and this collection captures the sound and feel of a musical generation that believed in baring its soul through music.
Overall Rating (1 through 5): 4