EastWest Hollywood Pop Brass [WiN]
Those familiar with EastWest instruments will feel immediately at home in the familiar folder structure. Beginning in the 'Sus' folder, we come upon a multitude of velocity-sensitive patches that can be played melodically as well as in different harmonic combinations. A 'CresLng' patch, for instance, presents a long crescendo whose dynamic range is dependent on initial velocity. Put through its paces, the preset sounded fantastic playing chords, slow melodic passages, parallel harmonies, and both diatonic and highly chromatic passages. In typical EastWest parlance, Patches marked 'Xfade' offer mod wheel dynamic control. The dynamic range and musicality of the swells here is truly impressive. While this is a brief criticism, the lowest dynamics are perhaps too strong or bright to be entirely convincing, while a much brighter and more appropriate dynamic layer begins around velocity #60. In larger groups and full mixes this is not noticeable (and may indeed help maintain presence in a mix), but in isolation it may bother some users. The clarion-like top of the dynamic range is bright in a way that is highly effective for the musical styles intended for this package. Let's be clear: this library's singled-minded aesthetic intent is to provide a powerful and even virile brass sound; there is little timbral subtlety to this instrument, and this is a good thing.
EastWest Hollywood Pop Brass [WiN]
Finally there is the robust and stable Play interface with its onboard reverb, mixer board, envelope control and other powerful features. Users may also find themselves reaching for non-standard uses of such a package. For instance, I had great success in mixing this instrument into my existing 'classical' brass libraries, either to add a bit of bite or sizzle in a score, or by contrast to help create legato connections in otherwise nice-sounding packages that were challenged in this regard. When I turned down the sax in the mixer and went for an ensemble sound, I was surprised how quickly I was able to achieve a 'Drums Corps'-type of ensemble as well: placed in a stadium reverb, I felt like the Blue Devils were about to make an appearance in my DAW.
Hollywood Pop Brass was created for one simple reason - there's nothing else out on the market that instantaneously gives you that fiery, punchy pop brass sound that made songs like Uptown Funk such mega hits. Producers Doug Rogers and Nick Phoenix recorded one of the top horn sections in the industry in EastWest's famous Hollywood studios, and brought in multiple Grammy award-winning engineer Moogie Canazio to help craft a sound that's larger than life. Moogie Canazio has recorded music icons Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughan, Sergio Mendes, Diana Ross, Luis Miguel, Michael Buble, Melody Gardot, and many more.
Hollywood Pop Brass was designed to capture the feel of a live stage, with all the raw energy of live musicians and that blaring pop sound you hear on your favorite records. It features a 4-piece brass ensemble for all multi-sampled articulations that includes 2 trumpets, a trombone, and a saxophone that alternates between a baritone, tenor, and alto saxophone depending on the note range. These incredible sounding multi-sampled ensemble sections were recorded in the famous Studio One at EastWest Studios, "the best brass recording room in the world" according to Michael Jackson engineer Bruce Swedien.
Hollywood Pop Brass features a 4-piece brass ensemble for all main articulations that includes 2 trumpets, a trombone, and a saxophone that alternates between a baritone, tenor, and alto saxophone depending on the note range, and a 5-piece ensemble for all phrases and licks that includes 2 trumpets, a trombone and 2 saxophones that alternate between a baritone, tenor, and alto saxophone depending on the instrument voicing.
It includes incredible sounding multi-sampled ensemble sections recorded in the famous Studio 1 at EastWest Studios ("the best brass recording room in the world" according to Michael Jackson engineer Bruce Swedien) as well as stylized phrases and licks in multiple keys recorded in Studio 2, a favorite of many Latin artists going all the way back to Tijuana Brass by Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66. These phrases will simply blow you away with how easily they slide right into your track, and cover many genres from pure pop to rock, funk, soul, and many distinctive rhythms and melodies from the Latin world.
Phrases: Contains instruments that feature phrases and sub-phrases in various tempos that fit perfectly in the world of pop brass. Each was recorded with multiple transpositions, and are mapped across the virtual keyboard on their respective root note positions for use in a variety of key signatures.
A manual is downloadable, but like their other products, East West has a great walk-through video that is informative and fairly encompassing. It breaks down how to put together a very convincing brass section in your DAW, showing how the different articulations can be layered. It had us ready to write songs using HPB in no time. Most users should be up and running pretty quickly with this plug-in, especially if you have used other Play-based plug-ins.
When I first heard EastWest was releasing a Hollywood Pop Brass library I was really excited, as I am a big fan of the Hollywood Series. For pop brass, I have relied on a library comprised of soloists and it is good, but doesn't have a lot of bite and is time consuming to use as well. So I had high hopes this would eliminate the need for it. Well, does it? Maybe. If you buy the concept, I think you will buy the execution.
Hollywood Pop Brass features a 4-piece brass ensemble for all multi-sampled articulations that includes 2 trumpets, a trombone, and a saxophone that alternates between a baritone, tenor, and alto saxophone depending on the note range. It also includes 5-piece ensemble for all phrases and licks that includes 2 trumpets, a trombone and 2 saxophones that alternate between a baritone, tenor, and alto saxophone depending on the instrument voicing.
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