Sampling has had a long and varied journey over the decades, and if you thought that journey ended with the proliferation of royalty-free ready-made sample pack vendors, it's time to think again.
In version 1, Output's Arcade introduced the ability to 'play' loops across the keyboard, using white keys to play slices, and black keys to transform their sound. Said loops are curated and available to download from the cloud, although you can also load your own and use Arcade's engine to mess with them.
But version 1.2 opens the door to an interesting new idea: after striking a deal with BMG Publishing, in partnership with Universal Music Group and Countdown Media, Output have managed to add to Arcade with a significant new sample collection: The Crate. This is said to contain a collection of classic master recordings, curated and ready for creative exploration. Joplin's The Entertainer and Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker are just two examples of the fodder available here.
Output's description puts it better than I ever could: "You can't rewrite the past, but you can sample it. Dig into your grandfather's record collection for the deepest cuts, chopped, looped and laced with modern FX, and all royalty-free. Lush orchestral pieces, delta blues, traditional swing and jazz … sampled straight from vinyl and ready to make a long-awaited comeback."
Seen from the age of streaming and the on-demand conjuring of any track you could possibly desire, this move makes a lot of sense, especially seeing as the company's goal is to redefine the way we make music, element by element. Arcade itself, for example, takes on the concept of 'loops', Exhale takes on 'vocal hooks', while Analog Strings takes on XXXX
Other new additions to Arcade include the 'Arcade Feed' for finding new material easily, quicker browsing from the main page, and auto tempo and key detection for user-imported material.
Arcade is available for a $10/month subscription, including generous cancellation terms, from output.com
As well as being an Editor At Large for Electronic Musician, James also dispenses software news and views as the co-host of Appetite For Production Podcast, and tweets on Twitter as rusty_jam. You can find his 'collected works' at his website, XoverFreq.