This week get free Korg analogue bass samples, a free Ableton FX instrument, and get excited about Reason Rack Extensions! Continue Reading
We’re not sure whether we’re missing a clever allegory slotted into Money Bubble and its tracks, but we’re certainly not missing the bounce… Continue Reading
We’ve had our eye on JuSoul for a while now, and his recent offerings have been quality through and through.
There’s no music without sounds, but being a musician and a sound designer are two skills – nay, artforms – that aren’t required to go hand in hand. Continue Reading
any WAV sampler, also includes REX and patches for Reason NNXT, Kontakt, EXS24, Live, and HALion.
|Price at review: £34.95 |
Tactical Beats and Sample Artillery is a good deal for producers looking for high quality aggressive electronic sounds with no messing about.
Straight out the gate, we’d like to register both an eye roll and protracted groan at the unashamed play on Call of Duty weaved throughout Tactical Beats and Sample Artillery. Thankfully, the actual contents of this Hank Shocklee devised sample pack is more original.
Nothing if not generous, Tactical Beats comes in at 1.4GB of 24bit audio
Nothing if not generous, Tactical Beats comes in at 1.4GB of 24bit audio, comprised of drums, percussion, bass, pads and SFX. The sounds themselves are divided into weaponry analogising categories, from the bread and butter ‘Assault Weapons’ and the one shots of ‘Sniper Weapons’ to the sub bass hits in ‘Submachine Weapons’ and more. Somewhat unsurprisingly given the warfare theme, the sounds are all bold, brash, synthetic and very effects laden. The single hit drums are the undoubted standout of the pack, almost every single one instantly usable (although there are some duplicates, or at least so equivalent they may as well be). Kicks are distorted and layered with subs, percussion is twisted beyond recognition, snares are filtered and pushed through spring reverbs, and everything is compressed to within an inch of its life for super quick attacks and extreme loudness.
The single hit drums are the undoubted standout of the pack
The sub bass sounds are also fairly good, if arguably somewhat redundant to anyone with a half decent soft synth – there’s also an issue with quite a few of the sounds having rhythmic amp or filter envelopes added to them, something we’re not keen on for raw materials. The pads are long and suitably terrifying, from atonal dronescapes to bells and hints of fragile beauty; sensibly there are only a relatively small selection of pads so as not to risk sounding samey.
The jaw dropping amount of loop content is commendable, if slightly over egged. Many loops have six or seven variants, which bumps up the total size of the pack considerably: at its best this practice is a great inspiration source for building loops up, at its worst it harks to those lazy days of ‘eJay’-esque drag and drop.
Entirely software sourced (with the exception of the UAD DSP plugins), Tactical Beats and Sample Artillery doesn’t really deliver much genuinely unique material – but that’s not to say that it’s not expertly compiled and executed – by legendary producer Hank Shocklee, no less – with every sound having care and attention taken to its frequency range, punch and loudness. As a go to folder for quick access to hard, aggressive sounds Tactical Beats is a worthy purchase.
Samplebasedlife is a project that puts 20 minutes or so of material in your hands
The comparatively soulless experience of sampling mp3s compared to digging in old crates for hidden gems is largely down to the reductive mundanity of pressing play and clicking your way through track after track, and there’s something about the lack of limitation that cripples creativity. Samplebasedlife is a project that puts 20 minutes or so of material in your hands, and that limitation in itself is a refreshing and inspiring creative spark. Volume 2 has just been released, with the full vaults available on SoundCloud, and downloads are limited – take a look while you can…
Smart Bomb never stays in a single place long enough to be predictable
It never stays in a single place long enough to be predictable, with the predominant sound set morphing between synths and samples, the energy levels from near ambient tracks to pieces with incredibly heavy drums, and an album wide shift in tone; it starts with a definite eastern flavour, with samples and smatterings of Asian instruments and voices interwoven into arpeggiated, space age electronica, and gradually transforms into a more western sound. Electric pianos, guest emcees in the shape of Invokal and Highfly, and the finale, the guitar led Fractured featuring Amdine… it’s definitely worth your time, and also provides an eloquent answer to a question recently posed at Oh Drat – when would instrumental music benefit from collaborations with vocalists? Smart Bomb’s two vocal tracks both use the collaboration to elevate what would otherwise be two much less interesting pieces.
Native Instruments are more or less the busiest business in the business – it seems like barely a week goes by without a product announcement of some kind, and this week the Maschine Expansions series has been launched with two separate packs.
Maschine expansions comprise kits, sounds, instruments, and multi fx chains
Maschine expansions comprise kits, sounds, instruments, and multi fx chains, and the first two, Vintage Heat and Transistor Punch, are aimed at the warm and fuzzy and cutting edge ends of the sound spectrum respectively. You can hear some audio demos on NI’s site, and I’ll have them in for review shortly to give them the full treatment…