The title 'Electro Pop' — combined with the image of a sassy young girl wearing blue‑rimmed shades and a large pink and purple jacket — gives a pretty good impression of what this product is all about. The promo notes claim that it is great for music production, ads, game audio, film cues, web applications, video, multimedia and corporate presentations, confirming that it is indeed intended to sound very commercial.
Electro Pop is the work of producer, songwriter and pianist Danya Vodovoz, who also produced Ueberschall's Pop Charts, and co‑authored Scoretrax Library Music Construction Kits. This time, Vodovoz has created 983 samples, amounting to 2GB of material, accessed via Ueberschall's Elastik2 loop player. For those unfamiliar with Elastik, it enables the user to manipulate samples in ways they otherwise might not contemplate. Version 2 is a leap on from the first, and now functions as a comprehensive loop/sample librarian as well as a sampler. (A viewing of Ueberschall's Elastik2 online video tutorials is highly recommended.)
What is surprising about Electro Pop is just how retro, acoustic and analogue some of the raw samples and loops really are. This is largely due to the use of real instrument recordings, of drums, bass and both electric and acoustic guitars. Indeed, the acoustic kit sounds are an exciting find, and many have the lo‑fi feel of vinyl samples from old funk recordings. That said, even the electronic kit has warmth to it. Vodovoz clearly isn't afraid to leave his samples hissy when appropriate, or to mic from a distance if seeking something with natural ambience.
Vodovoz also demonstrates he has a talent for finding catchy hooks and chord progressions. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the all‑too‑few Piano Acoustic samples, which are musically and tonally reminiscent of Moby's and Wim Mertens' work.
The content is organised into a handful of 'construction kits', which are compositions comprising samples of drums, synths, pianos, pads, keyboards, bass lines, guitar riffs, percussion and effects. Heard as a mix, the kits usefully demonstrate how discrete samples can potentially be used in combination. There again, the construction‑kit approach is also one of the product's flaws, as it could result in a lot of very similar‑sounding compositions being created. The way Electro Pop purchasers can avoid creating one of them is by making use of Elastik2's new search engine to audition samples of a certain kind, rather than looking at the content on a kit‑by‑kit basis. For example, by using the Instrument filter and then picking Drums from the Families menu, all the samples in the Overhead folder can be auditioned together, regardless of which construction kit they originate from. And there is nothing to stop composers taking individual elements from different kits and creatively assembling them.
In conclusion, there's a lot more depth to the sounds of Electro Pop than its kitschy cover and matter‑of‑fact title might suggest — and that's a good thing when there are so many sample titles on the market. Tom Flint