ReMix: Final Fantasy VI "Desertion"
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For SOME of us here at OCR, using other people's sample libraries just isn't good enough - we've got to make (and, heck, sell) our own! I refer of course to the joint enterprise of Mr. Aversa and Mr. Roget, II, Impact Soundworks. You may recall Andy's sexcellent Phantasy Star Online ReMix back in 2009, coinciding with the release of their Groove Bias drum library while also employing it to great effect. Well, drums are one thing, and while I think Groove Bias is a great library well worth your hard-earned dinero, there are admittedly a lot of great drum libraries out there to choose from. Not so with electric rhythm guitar libraries - something about quick, meaty, satisfying chugs has proven rather elusive to the sound designers of the world... UNTIL NOW!!! Teaming up with the man, the legend, the Juanderful Sixto Sounds, ISW recently released Shreddage. Let me summarize Shreddage, in a nutshell:
- $50 rhythm guitar sample library
- Doesn't suck
- Designed to be used with common amp-modeling plugins, but sounds pretty darn good by itself
You get the power of Juan Medrano ON YOUR COMPUTER!
- Sexy trailer by - who else? - Da Bronx Rican
- I'm djpretzel, and I endorse this product
But hey, if plentiful audio demos illustrating the awesomeness of the library plus a drool-worthy trailer from J the BR for some reason aren't enough to seal the deal, Andy's got this here mix. It's from that game, Final Fantasy 6, with all the awesome music. And yeah, in case you didn't see the product tie-in a mile away, IT USES THE SHREDDAGE LIBRARY. zircon writes:
"I've spent the last 6 months working almost exclusively on a new sample library through Impact Soundworks, the company I co-founded with bustatunez (Will Roget). I started researching and designing the library about two years ago, after using a number of guitar sample libraries and finding all of them to be unrealistic, hard to use, or loop-based.
The goal of this new project was to create a completely flexible guitar library for rock and metal where you can play any notes or riffs and customize your own tone. I didn't just want it to sound "good", but to actually fool the average listener completely. So, I started working with Sixto Sounds on figuring out what made the existing libraries sound weak, and improving on those weak areas. Ultimately, he recorded all of the actual guitar sounds for the library while I programmed and edited them.
The result of our efforts is "SHREDDAGE: Electric Rhythm Guitar", a Kontakt-format sample library. It was a long and difficult road to produce, but in the end I think I achieved our goal! This FF6 battle/boss theme mix uses Shreddage run through virtual amps. I modeled the arrangement and production after such awesome metal ReMixers as SnappleMan, Danimal Cannon, norg and of course Sixto himself. So, it's definitely like nothing I've done before... mainly because until now, I've never had the tools to do it myself.
Anyway, "Desertion" is definitely over-the-top synth/prog metal but I think it shows how powerful Shreddage is. You can pick up the samples yourself at ImpactSoundworks.com for only $49 (not a typo)!"
This mix is pretty DABASS, and that WAS a typo, because it's actually pretty badass. The arrangement forgoes some of the usual zircon whizzbang electronic trickery so that [INSERT PRODUCT NAME HERE] can fully shine. But I kid; the mix intros with some "Duduk, Where's My Car?" (no one finds that funny but me, and I'm completely okay with that), then quickly picks up at 0'20" with, you guessed it, electric rhythm guitar. Monoglide synth lead still gets to handle the main melody, throwing in some nice Eastern-infused flourishes to the very recognizable theme. Metal drums bang away, accenting every chug with a sturdy downbeat kick or a meaty snare hit.
So, given Andy's bold claims, I'm not gonna dodge the question: If I hadn't known in advance it was a sample library, would I have thought it was real guitar? I actually don't listen to that much metal outside OCR, so I'm not the best person to answer this question, but I do have more "sample library detection" experience than the average listener, which is who ISW are trying to fool. I think the vast majority of listeners wouldn't raise an eyebrow, and I honestly think I personally would have been on the fence as to whether it was real or samples. I guess my answer is that I wouldn't have even thought about it - generally the question only comes up if something sounds "off" to begin with, and Shreddage sounds much better than any similar libraries I've played with, hands down. Mission accomplished!
Have Andy & Juan made rhythm guitarists obsolete by completely capturing the full range of articulations possible, as well as the human energy & artistry involved in playing a live instrument? Can Danimal & norg & Snapple & countless others all hang up their axes, or at least just stick to playing lead parts? Of course not... the point of the library, as with any sample library that emulates existing instruments, is to make believable sounds available to artists who don't have a Danimal Cannon in their closet, ready to shred at the drop of a hat. Although, I must say, that'd be an awesome invention. "Believable" should not be interpreted as equivalent to "Just as good as", in other words, but I myself am thrilled to have an electric rhythm guitar library this good at my fingertips. That Andy & Juan made it is just icing on the cake - this stuff would be golden even if they were complete strangers. It raises the bar, and for $50 that's pretty damn impressive.
...And so is Andy's mix. With all the FF6 love, this theme actually doesn't get too much attention, so he's filled a good niche with a solid mix that shows off the hard work he and Juan have poured into this product. Check it out, and if you make music on a computer and want some great rhythm guitar sounds, check out Shreddage.
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