Poptronica

Contact: Sony, www.sonycreativesoftware.com Format: CD-ROM with 292 Acidized WAV files (531MB); 16-bit/44.1kHz Price: $39.95 list These 15 construction kits are tough to describe, although I guess “poptronica” does come pretty close: They have the processing and vibe of electronica, but with a lighter touch —
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Contact: Sony, www.sonycreativesoftware.com
Format: CD-ROM with 292 Acidized WAV files (531MB); 16-bit/44.1kHz
Price: $39.95 list

These 15 construction kits are tough to describe, although I guess “poptronica” does come pretty close: They have the processing and vibe of electronica, but with a lighter touch — not that you’ll find these on the next Hilary Duff album or anything. For easy auditioning, each construction kit has an Acid-compatible project that uses the various loops in context; a free version of Acid Xpress (Windows only, though) is included so you can play them back.

The construction kits have kicks, hats, drum loops, basses, guitar figures, pads, arpegeggios, and the like. One very useful feature is that most kits have several variations for, typically, bass, kick, and hats, so you needn’t dip into a different kit to add variations. Another nice touch is that some loops also have “outro” versions, which are similar to the looped version but have an ending, and can be treated as a one-shot (although they also stretch to tempo, like a loop).

I did feel that some of the loops, in particular the synth leads, went on for too long; but as you’ll hear on the example I put together to the right (there are also examples of demo projects that come with the CD-ROM), they’re prime material for cutting up into phrases and scattering throughout a piece. As a result, I’d say this library takes a little more editing work if you want to go beyond the intention of particular kits, but that’s part of what makes this CD useful: There’s lots of raw material if you’re willing to mine it.

The main value these loops offer is that they’re not another me-too set. Sometimes quirky, at times humorous, sometimes dark, but definitely innovative, these are the spices you add to a main course. You may use only a few loops to augment an existing project, but they’ll add a provocative — and creative — touch you likely won’t find elsewhere.