By John Pellegrini
Some production libraries offer sound effects and music stabs or stingers as part of the package. “Elements,” from One Music, is the first I’ve seen that offers 20 full CDs of nothing but elements. Sound effects, stingers, stabs, drones, sweepers, hits, logos, reveals… I can’t count it all. The amazing thing is it’s not just one format, either. From orchestral drone beds, to rock guitar blasts, to solo drum tracks to acoustic folk guitar beds… just try and find something that you can’t use!
I don’t have room for specific cuts, when we’re dealing with 20 CDs, so I’ll just give short impressions of the categories. Acoustic Elements gives you acoustic guitar tracks. From fully produced beds averaging 32 seconds in length, to solo instrumental bits, the two discs in this category give you enough to put together 60 or more brand new music tracks. That’s one of the benefits to the way Elements works; you can use these tracks in combination with each other to custom design your own music beds, even transition cuts. Music creation is definitely what this library was built for. In fact, each Elements track is listed in the CD booklet with the relative SMPTE offset for your MIDI delights. Even the :01 and :02 second sound effects have the relative SMPTE offset numbers!
Two discs that stood out for me were called, “Fat Beats” and “Drones Drums & Hits.” These CDs consist of drum tracks and beds with some light keyboard under some of them. Plus, there are other CDs that have solo drum tracks. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve talked to Production Directors and Imaging Directors over the years who bemoaned the fact that they couldn’t get decent rhythm tracks to build music over. These discs fill that need beautifully. Start with the basic rhythm beds on “Fat Beats” and add in some solo drum fills. Finish with whatever guitar or keyboard hits you want from some of the other discs, and you are composing music, even if you don’t have a musical background. And for those of you musically minded prod people, there’s a lot of great stuff here to blend in or fill up your own production, whether you’re a keyboard player or a guitar player.
Another CD is called, Digital Design, which is full of huge amounts of synth sound effects, the kind many of us are always looking for. And if that isn’t enough, another disc entitled, Sonic Reinforcement, has even more effects that can enhance many ideas. Jazz elements will give the hipster in you a chance to whack your bop socket. Whacked Wild and Weird brings in comedy elements in beds and short hits. The CD called Mood Swings has tracks that are at first hard to describe. You can use them for transitions, or use them by themselves if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary. Novelty Elements is a CD full of cartoon sound effects, short musical ditties, animal fakes, percussion hits, people sounds and even people phrases. The Groucho nose on the cover says it all.
Finally, we come to the “Black Box” discs, which are subtitled, “Imaging Tools For Broadcast.” They’re not kidding. There is a wealth of rocking and energy dance based logos, beds, hits and sweeps here. These will definitely throw major chunk into your imaging. Disc one has logos, beds, hits, and “waves,” which is an interesting form of sweeper. The second disc contains more hard-hitting logos, beds, and sweepers. The third disc of the Black Box series is called “Novelty,” and there is definitely some strange stuff here. Plenty of stuff that would please Jon Waters, Lux Interior, Fred Schneider, and Tim Burton. If you know who those four are, you’ll know what weirdness awaits you.
Most of the main musical Elements CDs have a second edition of themselves. There are two Acoustic Elements discs, two Techno Elements, and three Dramatic Elements. Plus, there are two different discs of drum and rhythm tracks. Some of the discs have a “1” in their titles, even though there’s only one disc, which I would take to mean that they’re planning on follow ups in that category (at least we would think that would be why a 1 is in the title). However, even if they don’t, there’s still plenty of stuff here to keep any production person busy for a few years without totally wearing out the discs.
Elements, from One Music, is available from FirstCom. For more details and a free demo package, call FirstCom at 800-858-8800, or visit the highly useful Web sites at www.one music.com or www.firstcom.com.