18 June 2010

Bizarre Guitar
Page 2/3

The collection is broken down into the following categories - Eastern, Ambient, Loops, Bends, Drones, Stabs, FX, Swells, Sci-fi, Sweeps, Leads & Multisamples with a Bonus "Groove Control" section at the end. There's an OK demo track to start the Audio CD off, a good introduction into what follows.

Eastern (23.1Mb) - The collection starts with some "Eastern" sounds, though not your usual sitar type sound, instead there are some totally laid back "Byzantium" riffs, at 80 BPM, and they don't even sound that fast, richly affected, slowly decaying guitarish sounds, followed up by some slightly sharper sounds, a little more metallic. Excellent start, ideal mood setting sounds.

Ambient (151.3Mb) - Further subdivided into the descriptive categories of Animajors, Animinors, Dark Edge, Cascaders, Heartland, SleepCycles, Yearnings, Exuberant, Lustrous, Majestic, Mournful, Soothing and Suspicious. So that's this section described then!. Not one of these sounds could you really attribute to sounding anything like a guitar, instead we have long sustained sounds that evolve and mutate, shimmers and shears, ethereal and sombre. How some of these sounds were extracted from a guitar base I'll never know, such a diversity of sounds too. From delicate glass sounding shimmers, to big walls of sound. Think the "Yearnings" ones are my favourite on the whole collection, very delicate light ethereal sounds but containing a lot of complexity, layer on a sparkly sound... maybe a distant vocal... On the CD ROM version there are further possibilities as a number of sounds can be endlessly mutated by use of the Modulation Wheel, filter sweeps and the level of effects can be altered to make sounds even more "alive". Excellent stuff, best section of the CD and it's the largest by a way, can't think there is even a single duff sound here at all, brilliant.

Loops & Licks (69Mb) - After the beauty of the ambient section we are jarred back into reality. The loops, some of which do actually sounds guitar like, vary from 50-130 BPM and vary from harsh, metallic grating riffs, to light synthetic rhythmic parts that could as easily have belonged to the Ambient section. Each of the loops generally is a single "guitar" part so these would be ideal for layering with other rhythm elements, the Arpeggiation loops are a little more complex, having a lighter layer over a pad type effect mostly. The edgy loops are particularly effective, ideal for hard metallic guitar edge to a loop, sound like they could be from a Mission track, the Headbangers are a bit of "The Axeman Strikes Back", where's my air guitar gone...

Benders (17.8 Mb) - Just a small collection of one off sounds, eerie effects as much as anything, dropping off into silence, not bad at all.

Drones (33.9 Mb) - Related to the Ambient section though deeper and darker, real speaker shakers. Very menacing, if your looking to make an "Alien Landscape" track start here, excellent.

Stabs (5.6Mb) - Short section of guitar based stabs of sound, though as usual guitar in the loosest sense of the normal meaning

FX (34.3) - Whole range of short effects, from grating feedback effects, to metallic shears of sound, quick snatches of noise, laser fire, scratches etc. Some real nasty headache inducers here, continuing the theme really of most extreme sounds that can be culled from what was once a guitar sound. Have to say perhaps the weakest section of the collection for me, perhaps just a bit too grating in places. Still not bad, but other parts are better.

Swells (12 Mb) - Back to the beautiful sounds again..., slow haunting swell sounds, that build up before fading away again, very good.

Sci-fi (33.6) - More slow pad like sounds, though more abstract, atonal and just plain weird than the Ambient section sounds. Ideal for creating an "otherworld" atmosphere. Excellent.

Sweeps (17.7Mb) - Heavily filter swept sounds from scrapes, noise and ring modulation origins, as usual probably nowhere even close to the original sounds. Offbeat sounds, pretty good.

Leads (37.2Mb) - Quite light for lead sounds, the "Blue Sliders" mostly showing their guitar origin, whilst the Arabonic ones are more abstracted. Not your regular searing lead sounds by any means, but a little more upfront than the Ambient section certainly, some brilliant sounds though, very laid back, very evocative. Must have conjured up half a dozen track ideas just from this section alone, only wished there were more, what I liked best here was that there is mostly a definite guitar feel, but not your regular guitar sounds by a long margin.

Multisamples (52.9Mb) - Apart from this collection the sounds throughout are single sampled, so if you move too far from the original sound you start to get the usual problems (or interesting effects depending on your point of view). Here there are just a few more comprehensively sampled sounds, including a 32Mb Bowed Guitar program. The "Guitar Pad" and "Bowed Guitar" samples are particularly good...(This section doesn't appear on the Audio version)

Groove Control Loops (17Mb) - This isn't a new concept - basically a loop is broken up into it's individual elements - tie them together them with a midi file and then you can fiddle around with it to your hearts content in your sequencer/sampler, but without losing the key feel and sound of the original loop. Spectrasonics have whole CD's like this and it's rather like the Steinberg Recyle program concept, except here the sounds are specifically created to work in this manner. Very easy to use, there are just 13 examples here, it makes actually creating a track from a loop a great deal easier. Want to drop out an element, replace a sound, change the BPM, all simple using this method. This section hasn't been considered for scoring purposes.

Summary & Overall...

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