In the music production world, when you hear East West you think high quality, pristine recorded, real to life instrument libraries.
But they decided to change everything you know about them in one instrument.
Sure they still do all those great, ultra realistic libraries, but every now and then you want to get a little dirty right?
Well, East West felt this way as well, sometimes you just need some dirt, some grime, some total chaos….a good contrast to the perfectly recorded, recreated, and realistic libraries they are known for.
So they made The Dark Side
Let’s check it out!
What is The Dark Side?
I’m really surprised I haven’t heard more about this, as I know distortion and bit reduction is a very common practice among musicians, producers, beatmakers, and sound designers of all types.
Essentially, this is a library dedicated to all things distorted, messy, chaotic, dark, grimey…and overall just not very nice.
It got it’s spark or start from Doug Rogers as he was working with an alternative band, he felt their demos didn’t have enough “grit” or “toughness” for their style of music.
They asked him what they should use…he couldn’t find anything…so in true East West fashion…he decided to create something.
The whole object of this library is to provide a stark contrast to the beautiful and pristine, by using distortion, effects, and all other sorts of dark wizardry to make the most distorted, trashy, yet playable library around.
- content: 37.4 gb
- format: east west play engine
- price: $355.50 ($454.50 when buying with the tera pack hard drive option)
How does it sound?
Messy, seriously it’s a messy, distorted, trashy adventure into sound. The good part? It’s done in a way that makes them still playable, still useful, and still great instruments.
They have drums, keys, guitars, basses, strings, ethnic sounds, choirs, fx, and perc…that’s a lot of content. None of it is clean.
What’s cool is how they deviated from a lot of the common practices like velocity triggering louder versions of the same sample. Some of the drums for example, when you hit them harder, the sound changes totally, maybe the filter kicks in, or the distortion just goes insane…you never know what you’ll get…which makes it very fun and unpredictable…well, until you get so used to the library that you know what each one does, then it’s just plain fun!
I know what you’re thinking “why can’t I just throw some distortion on my own samples?” well…you can, by all means do. But the thing is, these folks have access to a lot of units and devices, not to mention years of recording experience to get some very different results.
I mean, when you have the ability to run one instrument through 5, 6, or more fx units before finalizing the sound you want to create…that’s just pure awesomeness. With the various mixture of units, fx, devices, recording techniques and knowledge amongst the team…it just makes for a totally different outcome than most would come up with.
Don’t look for specific units or stomp box effects, that’s not the point, the point is, everything has been altered, manipulated, mangled, trashed, and distorted to death…er…life…depending on how you see it!
Yes distorted guitars and bass aren’t really anything new, but they are always fun! Some of my favorite sounds are the keys and strings, just some weird, nasty stuff going on. Like the “Grand Dist Strings” crazy razor like fx or something going on, not quite sure, but I like it. Or the “Brain Damage” instrument, another piercing styled instrument that sound like a cross between a guitar and a busted radio speaker.
Sure I could go on, the point is, you find stuff that you wouldn’t neccessarily come up with on your own, or may not even have the ability to due to the various units and techniques used, that’s what I like about the sound.
And as funny as it seems, the distorted sounds are recorded well! Meaning, even though it’s a trashy library, everything is still neat and tidy as far as the editing and playback…pretty awesome in my opinion.
What’s the bottom line?
I like this library, I like a few libraries from East West but this one is a nice creative deviation from their normal stuff. I find it useful to add just the right amount of dirt to a track. No matter if you need some circuit bent drums or a nasty lo fi organ, you can usually find what you want.
Like all Play libraries, the interface is easy to use, and tweak, and the instruments don’t take ages to load.
Their idea for the library was to use the instruments next to the other clean instruments in a track, to draw a huge contrast. My thoughts are that’s well and good, but I can definitely see people using just the sounds in this library for full compositions, the sounds are just good but they definitely have that edge and grit that many look for.
The way you can trigger different sounds with velocity or the mod wheel makes it easy to play without a bunch of contemplation, just do it!
I give this library 4 out of 5 subs, really good and useful library, fun interface, with plenty of options to tweak and customize your sounds.
If you like distortion, even a little bit, you definitely want to check out this library. It’s a good tool to have for that “instant dirt” when you need it in a track but don’t want to mess with distortions, stomp boxes, bit reducers, and other devices yourself.
Check out the demos over at soundsonline: The Dark Side, you can also read more about the library and it’s features.
let me know what you think, leave a comment below.