Ueberschall's libraries tend to target specific markets, with titles like ''80s Punk & New Wave' telling you exactly what you need to know about the content. Art Of Sounds, however, could mean anything. The publicity material is wordy but vague, at one point describing the 1.06GB library as being "made for progressive and experimental sound chemistry”. When hearing the content, however, it quickly becomes clear that this is actually an ultra‑modern sounding library with a very specific style.
The material's creator is an experimental artist called Yvat, who specialises in Eastern European‑flavoured electronic sound design, sometimes categorised as IDM (Intelligent Dance Music).
The 69 construction kits on the disc comprise 679 loops and single sounds, most of which give the impression that they've been created using no more than just a couple of soft synths. In short, the tonal palette is quite limited.
Yvat's technique mixes granular textures with modulated synth-pad sounds and electronic percussion. Indeed, some of the sounds are simply short, scratchy noises that don't seem like much on their own but make sense as part of the construction kit.
A characteristic of the material is its hypnotic quality, having an effect not unlike some of the ambiences created by Brian Eno, albeit with coarser textures. To really hear this in action and begin to understand how the various components work together, it is necessary to listen to the kits play for a while and then start to add and remove some of their layers as they go around.
The evolving nature of the material makes it well suited for game soundscapes and use in certain film and TV projects. Finding a home for it in songs could prove a little trickier, though, unless the musical style is similar to Yvat's. That said, editing the kits to turn off the harsher elements takes much of the material into territory not so far from that occupied by the likes of Portishead.
Art Of Sounds has been developed to work through Ueberschall's Elastik loop player, which is rather handy for editing and auditioning the individual layers within kits and, through its various editing parameters, makes the library a virtual instrument.
On reflection, the library should probably be called something more specific, like Art Of Electronic Atmospheres, because Art Of Sounds is suggestive of content that is much more wide ranging. But what it does, it does very well, providing a style of sound montage that is currently very much in demand in certain types of media. Tom Flint