Escape Downtempo Loops is a sample pack from Mode Audio that is available in wav, rex2, Reason Refill, Apple Loops and Ableton Live Pack versions. This is a review of the wav pack which contains 512Mb of samples:

  • 30 drum loops
  • 29 bass loops
  • 27 chord loops
  • 15 ambiance loops
  • 4 arpeggio loops
  • 15 percussion loops
  • 15 granular loops
  • 15 noise loops
  • 104 tail samples
  • 90 midi loops

The drum loops are arranged in 2 sets of drums and hats.  These cover a range of 82 – 104 bpm which is what you’d expect for a downtempo pack.  The drum loops have a great punchy sound with an excellent bass thump.  There’s a warmth to the sound too, it’s not too clean.  Similarly the hats loops have a natural, organic quality.  The two compliment each other really well giving a warm analogue sound.  The percussion loops also have a natural sound with a vintage type of sound quality, warm and full.  The three together make excellent beats and the option to layer them is welcomed for a more stripped back feel if required.

There’s a good range of bass loops ranging from synth bass, plucked, gnarly to subby with two versions of each.

The ambiances are pad type sounds, there’s a nice edge at times with synth / string type sounds and these loops have great tonal qualities.

The chords compliment the ambiances really well, there’s some excellent variations from stab sounds, vintage warm sounds to organ type sounds.  Some have a great edge of distortion.

The grains loops add an excellent dimension with glitchy rhythms, broken chords and distorted chords.

The noise loops add a similar dimension with white noise type sounds, some of which sound like rain or running water.

The tail samples are an excellent addition, on the face of it they allow you to apply a natural reverb tail to one of the sample loops which is really useful in itself.  There’s one for each sample.  However, they are also excellent sound sources in their own right that can be manipulated and mangled and used as a starting point for new tracks.

That’s the great thing with this pack, you can mix and match samples to create  tracks which for me works really well for creating mixes.  Where it excels though is you can use these loops as a starting point to create something new and original.

That’s especially true because of the most valuable addition – midi loops.  These are fully featured files for bass, drums, chords and percussion loops.  Typically 4 bar loops, these can be used on your own sounds or edited to create subtle or stark contrast and variations.

Overall this is an excellent value sample pack that has a warm, analogue sound that provides inspiration for songs from a wide range of sounds including drums, chords, bass, ambiance and noise/grains.  You might not need all of them and you can certainly mix and match but it also has potential to allow you to create your own style and sound by editing, manipulating and processing sounds in your own way.

An example is shown on the demo song at the top of the blog post which starts with a loop using just samples then the second part uses some of the same sounds but processed with a variety of effects: drums and hats (Incipit by Inear Display); grains (tremolator by Soundtoys and Cryogen by Glitchmachines); noise (Subvert by Glitchmachines); percussion (Convex by Glitchmachines).  Quite a difference with just a few effects.

The possibilities with granulators, cross-fade samplers, glitchers etc are immense and that’s what I really like, how this pack can really inspire many creative possibilities.

Escape Downtempo Loops is available from Mode Audio and is priced at £18.

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