I’m glad that the “Sample War” is getting to its conclusion, similarly to how the Loudness War ended about a decade ago.
Sample-replaced drums are mostly outdated now, and the productions still done this way send us straight back to 2015.
Sterile sounding songs are not in trend anymore. I see more and more musicians requesting natural sound of their records, despite how heavy they want their sound, and I highly respect that.
Still, there is a lot of misunderstanding about using the samples. People tend to think about it on the extreme side of things – either full replacement with lifeless plastic sampled sound, or no sample usage at all.
I advocate for a different approach to using sampling and the modern sound production technologies in general.
Instead of going for the “trend”, we are going to help the source material to shine, whatever it requires.
For example, if the original recording of the kick drum is lacking the punch in the 100 Hz low end range, there is no harm to gently blend an appropriate sample to make the original recording fuller and bigger, dial in the missing part yet retain the original character.
Similarly, if the snare is lacking a piercing attack at 3 kHz, there is no harm in gently blending the transient sample in to get the attack back!
Moreover, one can colour the samples by using all the emulations of analog gear available at our fingertips. Console and tape saturation, analog-like EQs, etc. It’s our job to utilise these tools properly, with a careful consideration of the character of the song.
Our ultimate aim is to open up and enhance the original sonic character and the original message of the artist, with all the tools available.
We should never aim to throw this character away and replace it with generic, lifeless and characterless samples.
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