A current trend in television advertising is the use of whimsical ditties comprising fey female vocals and quirky acoustic backing (ad agencies know that aggressive consumerism goes down better when served by kooky hippies). Acoustic Indie Pop is pretty much a toolkit for the job: fey female vocals? Check. Quirky folk backing? Check. It's all here in spades.
However, the library goes further, by incorporating American country and folk music — some of which has a definite Cajun feel — and showcasing the merits of instruments such as the ukulele, mandolin, banjo and fiddle.
Like most of BFA's sample collections, Acoustic Indie Pop's content is formatted as Acidised WAV, Apple Loops, REX2, RMX and Kontakt files, and appears as a set of construction kits. This time there are 20 kits each of which is based around a different composition. These vary in tempo, key, complexity and instrumentation. So that alternative backing mixes can be made, the discrete mic recordings of the drums in each construction kit have been separated off into their own folder, entitled Multi Drums. One-shot samples of bongos, congas, cymbals, hi-hat, kick, shaker, snare, tambourine, toms, handclaps, washboard and woodblock occupy another folder.
The sleeve notes name-check the Cranberries, and their influence is certainly evident in many of the compositions that use vocals. Other named artists include Ingrid Michaelson, Ray LaMontagne, Jack Johnson and Kathleen Edwards, but the library is, arguably, more interesting than that consciously 'contemporary' list tends to suggest. BFA's marketing execs might choke on their cappuccinos at the suggestion that at least one of the kits is reminiscent of the original Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd circa 1971, but not only is it true, it's also a good thing! Another interesting kit features a distorted baritone guitar with tremolo and some mildly experimental percussion involving a toy piano and creatively modulated acoustic guitar notes. It reminded me of Urge Overkill's version of 'Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon'! Stylistic references aside, the quality of the musicianship is first rate, as is the production, demonstrating that creators Dieguis Productions know their onions.
In practical terms, the drum loops are worth having to use as the base of light pop, folk or country tracks. In particular, a series of towel-dampened tom loops struck me as being unusual and potentially rather handy, as did those of congas, bongos and cajon. The biggest selling point of this library, however, has to be its acoustic stringed-instrument loops. The examples of slide, steel, high-strung, nylon, baritone and resonator guitars are plentiful, the mandolin playing is impressive, and the banjo, ukulele and fiddle riffs have a satisfying, intimate quality.
Some sample libraries give the impression that the producers have done just enough to fulfil their brief and get paid, but Acoustic Indie Pop is much better than that. Ultimately, this library is much more than kooky music for ads. Tom Flint