Here we have another 'mood'-themed collection from Zero-G and, from the title, you might expect this one to be quite chilled-out. However, while it does offer a lot of laid-back material, it would be a mistake to assume that's all there is to this library! Following the seeming de facto standard these days, the 5.8GB of data is actually closer to 2.4GB of samples presented in different formats (Acidised WAVs, Apple Loops, EXS24, NN-XT, Kontakt and REX2 files).
The first folder of samples is called Beats & Bass, and this is where I got my first surprise. As I said, the title suggests down-tempo samples, but although the slowest loop here clocks in at 79bpm, the majority are in the 120s and some even go as high as 158bpm. The wide variety of loops (ranging from textural backgrounds to more full-bodied efforts) are definitely very usable and are, thankfully, outside of the usual 4/4. The bass loops are also uniformly excellent; evoking a definite 'late night' mood, they gave me a lot of inspiration, leading me to produce some tracks that were very different from the music I would usually make.
The Dream Sequences folder contains, well, 'dreamy' atmospheres and melodic samples. Unlike the Beats & Bass samples, these aren't tempo-sync'ed, but that didn't feel like a loss to me, given their more atmospheric nature. I love the 'soundscape' quality of many of the sounds here, and can imagine them as great intros or breakdowns in songs, although they will perhaps see less use 'as is' in the body of a track.
An interesting twist comes with the Experimental folder. Many of the samples here would be well outside of the norm for most forms of dance music, but this is actually where I had the most fun! The sounds here just beg you to venture outside of your comfort zone and push the boundaries of genres and your own personal style. Once again, though, there are no tempo-sync'ed loops here, or at least they aren't listed with a tempo. The FX Riffs folder has some tempo-sync'ed loops and some unsync'ed ones, and I'm glad to say that they are a lot more varied than simple white noise risers and drops.
The Guest Libraries folder is an interesting addition, containing two small collections of samples called Luis Junior Mooseekaa and Matt Lange isoRhythm. These are slightly different in emphasis — perhaps a little more 'clubby' — but still fit in with the overall atmospheric feel of the collection.
Finally we have the Synth Lines folder, which takes us back to where we started with tempo-sync'ed loops that serve as a complement to the Beats & Bass folder. Again there is a range of tempos, from 82 to 160 bpm, and there seems to be quite a wide variety of sound sources used, which helps the overall tone sound quite varied and not simply a 'Best Of Analogue'.
One thing I was generally very impressed with was the length of some of the samples. While there are a few shorter samples, many of them come in at 30 seconds or more. This gives the samples and loops time to evolve, so that they don't simply sound like one- or two-bar loops that have been repeated over and over. Ultimately, the sound quality of this library speaks for itself. I for one look forward to using the sounds here to push the boundaries of what I do and to get a little more experimental as a result. And that is perhaps the best recommendation I can give for these samples. Simon Langford