Vince Clarke Samples

Samples specially created by Erasure's Vince Clarke

"The attention to sonic detail is exquisite…Five Stars in every category.”- Keyboard, USA

“As evidenced by Lucky Bastard, Vince Clarke - founder of Depeche Mode, Yazoo and The Assembly - can squeeze more cool riffs out of an analog synth than most anybody. The superb rhythmic ditties, brief outside explorations, and pulsing patterns that you get on this disc obviously took loads of creative patching and timely knob twisting. Many tracks were sequenced - using control voltages, not MIDI. There's so much tasty brain fodder that it's difficult to imagine not being stimulated either to sample the stuff and get busy sequencing '90's style, or to pull your old Moog, ARP, Oberheim, or EMS out of the closet and try to match Clarke's synthesis genius. (Good luck.)

Much of Lucky Bastard consists of one-, two-, and four-bar loops generated by one old synth or another. (As a courtesy to Vince's publishing and record companies, the manufacturer requires that you register as an owner prior to using material from this disc for commercial projects.) Individual short to medium notes/events are also widespread including tons of percussion synth sounds. Analog rhythm grooves include boingy pitch swoops, triangle-wave bongos, filter -modulated hi-hats, and filter-and / or oscillator-modulated parts. Kick drums, both by themselves and in loops, have sharp, aggressive attacks.

There's also a wide assortment of synth samples that Clarke ues on tour. Notes for multi sampling across the keyboard at fifth and octave intervals (Cs and Gs, As and Es, or Fs and Cs) are provided at the end of the CD for one to three different patches on the Oberheim Xpander, ARP 2600, Korg MS-20, Oberheim Two Voice, Minimoog, and Roland Juno-6. Many events or components of a layer are positioned and sometimes panned across the stereo field. The attention to sonic detail is exquisite, and the tracks are very clean and noise free.

Tracks are grouped by synthesizer, and the list is impressive. The documentaion provides tempo data where appropriate, as well as Clarke's comments about particular synths. ARP 2600 is the most prevalent synth on Lucky bastard, but a considerable number of contributions are courtesy of the Roland system 100M and Polyfusion modular systems. the rarest synth would appear to be the Syrinx, which we've never seen and know next to nothing about. Clarke says it has a touch sensitive whammy bar that's used as a modulation source, and it's colored "electric blue." Most of what we hear from it is arpeggiated. We can say it has a very resonant filter.

You should be able to find useful stuff on this CD whether you're generating techno dance tracks or comprising new electronic music. It's hot and cool, and you don't have to be a bastard to get it.”
- Keyboard, USA


"would certainly make a worthwhile addition to many peoples sample library. 8/10." - SoundUser

“We're digging one out of the archive this week, Vince Clarke - Lucky Bastard, which is still available from the producers AMG. The AMG website describes the collection as ‘A huge collection of sequences specially created by Vince using his massive collection of classic analogue synths. Either grab whole sequences or chop them up and re-sequence them yourself for the ultimate in creative, fast creative sampling. Many totally synth-generated unique drum loops, one of Vince's trademarks - each broken down into elements for easy customisation and extraction of single hits...The ultimate analogue sample CD by the King of the Synth."

AMG have managed to attract some big names to produce samples CD's for them and they don't come much bigger than Vince Clarke, founder member of Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Assembly and Erasure. Indeed this could probably be successfully argued as the biggest "name" to produce a sample CD to date, especially after he has been hugely successful. Today, no doubt, Norman Cook/Fatboy slim is the bigger act but Norman's Skip to my Loops was produced several years before he became the success he now is. Vince Clarke for those who don't know is famed for his huge collection of analogue synths and his refrain from using modern technology, he doesn't use MIDI for sequencing for example. This collection is a delve in to the analogue synth world of Vince Clarke, the CD taking sounds, sequences and loops created from a whole variety of classic and not so classic analogue synths, such as the ARP 2600, Roland Modular 100m & 700, Korg MS20, Polyfusion Modular, SCI Pro One and Oberheim Xpander. Have to admit to being a big fan of Vince Clarke which I've tried not to let bias the review at all, and really the collection is exactly what I expected. Perhaps less of the individual sounds than maybe I'd imagined but certainly not disappointed in this respect and in any event most of the sequences could easily have their individual sounds sampled out should that be required. The collection is full short sequences and loops of the classic Vince Clarke mould, analogue, light, blippy and squelchy. There is quite a range is sounds and styles but without getting too far away from this core theme. The single sounds, tour samples and multisamples are a nice bonus but wouldn't see any one using these too much, the main appeal certainly is to tap into some of Vince Clarke's sequencing skills.

The CD will certainly appeal to a wider audience than the straight "synth-pop" Erasure style market, whilst that kind of track would obviously get the most out of the collection most anyone looking to add an analogue sequenced feel to a track or loop will be able to take elements from the CD. Either just using it as a sound source, taking elements from the CD to construct into loops or to layer the loops and sequences within the collection to your own creations. Many of the loops within the collection would be ideal for exactly that few that would be dominant in a mix. This CD would certainly make a worthwhile addition to many peoples sample library, there is enough range of material here, together with the construction kit type loops, for beginners to construct tracks from whilst more experienced samplist would welcome the variety and sonic range of the sequencing and analogue sounds on offer.

Overall - Value for money 8/10 - Usability 8/10 - Documentation 9/10 - Sonic Quality 6/10. Have Vince Clarke playing on your next track - 8/10” - SoundUser

"this CD could fulfill most analogue dreams, be they industrial, ambient, techno or just clouded, gibbering fantasies" - Music Technology

“When someone like Vince Clarke decides to select all of his favourite sounds and release them on a sampling CD, you could be forgiven for thinking he's flipped his lid. I mean, why would he want to reveal all his best bits in public? Does he need the cash or are this group of analogue blips, stutters and fizzes not really that good? In answer to the above read: it's for charity, no and no.
The eagerly-awaited Lucky Bastard CD (Vince loves the name by the way) contains few surprises - you expect lots of quirky, interesting analogue material from the ex-Depeche, ex-Yazoo, ex-Assembly and current Erasure mainstay, and you sure get it from this collection. After a demo song made up solely of samples from the CD, Lucky Bastard opens with a strong set of sequenced loops from the Roland System 100M. These will probably have a lot of people reaching for their sample record buttons straight away, but hold on, there's much more to come. Close on 20 different sections are included, broadly divided by the analogue classics in the Clarke collection - the ARP 2600, Moogs, Oberheims, the VCS3 etc. Following what seems to be a trend on sampling CDs these days, complete sequenced sections of music are followed by individual recordings of their component parts. This, of course, makes it possible to reassemble a sequence in a different way (perhaps omitting certain parts) - or simply to re-sequence the original parts at a different tempo without affecting the pitch. BPM figures, incidentally, are listed for every sequence.

Included among my personal faves are a set of excellent filtered lines from a Korg MS20 and an Obie 2. The metallic/noisy/resonating sequences to Roland System 100M were interesting too, and I particularly liked the 'Misc Synth Drums' section with its inclusion of various rhythmic twiddles, biting bass drums and dramatic crashes and splashes. The percussive theme is continued by a whole range of drops and bursts, courtesy of the ARP2600, and the Serge Modular comes to the fore with a range of sounds that would add a little toppy interest to any rhythm track. There are one or two misses though. Of the VCS3 Vince says, "I had this for two years and couldn't work out how to get a decent sound out of it". Unfortunately, the few VCS3 samples included only serve to prove the point; many of them comprising nothing more than rasping squiggles. But if it's any consolation to Vince, I've always had trouble with the VCS3 too. The only other minor criticism concerns the handful of similarly grating snippets from the Emulator Modular - perhaps only useful for lovers of that industrial, chainsaw sound or for those determined to alienate their audience. The number of pads on the CD is also rather limited, though this is hardly surprising from someone more renowned for sharp percussion, bleepy analogue sounds and oddball basslines than vast, layered stringy washes.

Long-time fans of Vince will instantly recognise much of what is included here and if not, towards the end of the CD, there's a list of samples with the name of the source song included. Some of the samples are so obviously Clarkesque it may prove difficult to incorporate them into other styles of work. But used with care, this CD could fulfill most analogue dreams, be they industrial, ambient, techno or just clouded, gibbering fantasies.” - Music Technology

“...guaranteed to satisfy…once again proves he’s an ace programmer with a defining sound.” - Keyboard

“Synth legend Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Erasure, Yazoo) has been ReCycled and virtually recreated in this sonically potent refill. At the heart of Lucky Bastard is a collection of REX’d modular/analog sequences and electronic drum loops. Specifically formatted for Reason, this library contains all the material from the original audio version of LB, as well as new REX, Malstrom, and Subtractor patches hand-crafted by Vince himself.

Loops range from down-tempo and dirge-like to driving and frantic. There are plenty of Clarke?s signature sounds: metallic and noisy hi-hats, oddly harmonic sequenced riffs, tweazy basses, lo-fi pads. I had no problem concocting an early 90s-inspired bed that conjured all the vibe of a bona fide synth pop classic. Sure, I was reveling in a guilty pleasure. So what? I challenge anyone to play these loops and not wax nostalgic!

Featured synths include Roland System 100, System 700, ARP 2600, a selection of Moogs, Sequential Circuits Pro One, Korg Poly Fusion, VCS3, Serge Modular, Oberheim Xpander, and more. I was a little disappointed by the NN19 sampler patches, though. None of the synths are multisampled, in most cases, the patches are mappings of various sequenced phrases. Fortunately, the Subtractor and Malstr?m patches more than make up for the skimpy sampler set. There’s no shortage of LFO-synced and step sequence-like synth patches that Vince reportedly created just for this refill. Whatever the case may be, these patches blend nicely with the REX material, thanks to the use of syncable LFOs, which are pressed into service to create a variety of percolating one-finger jams.

I was also happy to find three song starters - Reason songs stocked with instruments and MIDI tracks that demo the material nicely. You’re free to delete the tracks and start making your own tunes; effects are already bussed and tweaked, so mixing is even made easier.

80s and 90s synth pop is enjoying something of a revival these days. If you’re a cult fan or just in need of an authentic flavor from that era, Lucky Bastard is guaranteed to satisfy. With this latest incarnation of Vince’s personal synth collection, he once again proves he’s an ace programmer with a defining sound.”
- Keyboard ReFill Review

A few of the reviews of Vince's sample libraries for your delectation...

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