In contemporary music terms, the Korg Wavestation is verging on the antique, yet it still has the capacity to surprise and delight. When the instrument first appeared on the scene, dance music was considerably less advanced than it is now, yet programmer Peter Osborne has managed to produce a ROM card containing a whole new set of 50 fresh‑sounding wavesequences and programs designed specifically for the dance composer. One reason the card seems so up to date is that it includes new dance‑style sounds, not just rehashes of the existing factory sounds.
As you might expect from the title, Trancewaves Vol 1 is all about loops — not drum loops but rhythmic, melodic textures and arpeggios that sound every bit as complex and sophisticated as the examples found on better sample CDs. The feel ranges from computer‑game frantic to chill‑out cool, with patch titles like 'Hold and Evolve', 'Speedway', 'Rezomania', 'Trancendental' and 'Hellbound'. Most of these sound hugely powerful and complex, needing only a bass line and a backbeat to form the basic of a complete track, and they all come with effects programmed in. OK, they're great loops, but what if they're not in the right key or the right tempo?
Remember these are Wavestation patches, not samples, so you can play them at any pitch and the tempo will always remain constant. What's more, you can use them multitimbrally up to the polyphony limit of your synth. Best of all is the Wavestation's ability to synchronise wavesequences to MIDI Clock, so all you need do is dive into the MIDI menu and switch the wavesequence sync from external to MIDI and you have rock‑solid lock with your sequencer. With a sampler, you're limited by how far you can timestretch something to the point it becomes unusable, but you can play these loops at absolutely any tempo and they still |sound pristine. Trancewaves Volume 1 is hugely enjoyable with bags of attitude and a good variety of styles. If you have a Wavestation and make dance music, then this card should be right at the top of your 'must have' list. Paul White