chemical beats
8 June 2008
chemical beats review

Chemical Beats
Page 1/4
Produced by Zero-G chemical beats
No.Tracks 99
Playing Time 78:52
Audio CD  







Chemical Beats from Zero-G is a loops CD available in either audio or Akai CD-ROM versions - unusually the CD-ROM version has a big advantage with this release - all will be explained. The promotional material for the CD describes it as "...loops with masses of attitude. Huge drum sounds and FX crunched through advanced signal processors. Massive grooves to kick start your imagination. Years of playing, programming and expertise at your fingertips, but so flexible that you may never run out of new rhythms to try !". A bold claim so lets see...

Chemical Beats is brought to us by Paul Brook and Andy Thomson, to whom I know nothing, if anyone would care to let me know something to write something meaningful here please let us know ! The CD itself is utterly devoid of any hype or information at all, something of a growing trend. I suspect few people buy sample CD's as an impulse or without checking on them first, so point of sale hype, like packaging pays a minimal part, that's my theory anyway.

The audio and CD-ROM versions of the CD whilst based on the same material of course are two quite different beasts. The audio version is essentially a straight loops CD, the quality of which we'll come on to. Normally CD-ROM versions of sample CD's offer ready access to using samples without editing etc. but this is different. You know the problem, you have a loop, but making a loop into a track - unless you go for the "infinite no variation" loop idea, is taking a loop and making into a track, with variations, fills etc. Chemical Beats attempts to beat this problem. How ?

Well, instead of having the loops as a single sample(s), their presented multisampled across the keyboard. So you load up the program that sets up, 5 bass drum loops, 7 snare loops and 10 hi-hat/ride loops. That's 350 loop variations for each basic loop. The various bass/snare drum combinations are mapped across the white keys and the black keys are the hi-hat/ride loops, plus separate velocity sensitive bass/snare samples. Allegedly this gives you 30,800 loop combinations, with retuing to over 370,000. I'll confess I didn't verify this claim !, but its a brilliant idea, and I'm surprised its not been thought of before, part of the reason I suspect is that it must have taken an awful lot of work.

In reality of course these numbers are fairly meaningless as your never going use even 50 variations of a loop let alone 3,000, but what it does enable people to do is find variations that suit them, plus of course very easily modify them to produce more interesting tracks. With Chemical Beats its very easy to build a loop, drop the snare, build in the hi-hat, takes a few seconds. Try that with a regular 2 bar loop. Additionally it could be good tool for live use as well.

There is a very good inlay card - which doubles for both the audio and CD-ROM versions. There is a page of introduction then 14 pages of information, for the audio version a track listing where the contents of each track are listed (though not each sample) together with the relevant BPM. The CD-ROM pages describes the sector, volume, title, program title, number of samples, space required, total space required and a notes section, for example highlighting the individual snare or bass drum samples.

The audio version has a demo track and a test tone, the CD-ROM version gives the first volume over to 22 "low memory tasters".

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