Native Instruments has teamed up with DJ and music producer Steve Lawler and the sound designers of Loopmasters to bring us Dark Pressure, an expansion sound library for the Maschine platform.

Huge sub-heavy kicks, chunky toms, sharp hi-hats, crisp percussion, warm bass tones and crystallized lead synth sounds – all processed with analog gear and MASCHINE’s internal FX – provide the building blocks for muscular techno, tech-house, and minimal tracks worthy of the world’s most respected clubs.

DARK PRESSURE focuses on percussive one-shot samples and a wealth of exclusive pre-programmed patterns – many created by Steve Lawler himself. Fine-tuned for powerful club sound systems, DARK PRESSURE puts an impressive array of four-on-the-floor rhythms at your fingertips – from full-on energy to hypnotic groove and triplet-driven swing.

The expansion includes five full Maschine projects, 40+ individual kits, some pre-sliced loops, 20+ instruments, and some fx chains.

The Maschine projects are basically full tracks with intros/outros/drops/etc. Not something I would consider using in my productions but they do a good job showcasing the type of tunes you can create with Dark Pressure. And perhaps you can learn some new composition/production skills from checking the way these projects are done.

The 42 kits are made up of 671 one shot samples of both drums and other sounds (like chords, sound fx, stabs, hits, vocals, ambiences, etc.) categorized in various types for easy browsing: Analog, digital, percussion, special, vinyl, and multi fx. Each kit also comes with a number of patterns, many of which are apparently done by Steve himself. I would not likely use these out of the box but they provide a good starting point if you need some inspiration. Over 200 patterns are included in total.

Besides the kits you get 64 sliced tribal and percussion loops in rx2 format grouped in 4 Maschine loop sets, plus 11 bass and 10 lead multi-sampled instruments with 4 or 8 samples each. Nothing deep or particularly unique really, but useful and good quality nonetheless. The included multi FX kits provide some interesting effects, including some lo-fi 8bit goodness and a nice space gate type thing.

So what do I think?

Product: Dark Pressure by Native Instruments
Format: Expansion for Maschine/Maschine Mikro
Price: $59 USD / 49 EUR
Like: Good sounds, well done kits
Don’t like: Small amount of instruments
Verdict: 8/10

If you are into minimal, tech or tribal type house sounds, there is a good chance that Dark Pressure is your type of Maschine expansion.

The sounds, kits and patterns are “ready for the club”, as Steve puts it. I agree, and I reckon this pack is especially useful for DJs who are looking to spice up their sets, and producers who don’t want to spend lots of time finding the right sounds and beats.

I am not really into house music production but I enjoyed pretty much all of the kits and sounds in this pack a lot. Steve definitely put a solid amount of personality in this expansion. For me – with the exception of the non-drum/perc single shot sounds used in the kits – there is not all that much content I would consider to be unique or exceptional. That said, there is hardly a dud to be found either.

In short, the Dark Pressure expansion is a well done toolkit for electronic music, with tons of ready to go quality sounds by accomplished producer Steve Lawler and Loopmasters.

Maschine users who would like to go a little deeper will want to check out Steve’s Dark Percussive House & Techno at Loopmasters as well, since this sample pack offers a larger amount of sounds, loops and patches at roughly the same price as the Dark Pressure Maschine expansion.

More information: Native Instruments / Dark Pressure