8 June 2008

Junk Percussion
Page 2/3

The CD is split up into 4 main areas - Long Ambiences, Grooves, Single Ambiences and Single Hits. Whilst there is no specific reference to the recording equipment or "instruments" used to create the CD, a fair amount can be gleaned from the descriptions of some of the sounds, such things as bowed polystyrene, spring on metal bowl, scraped metal tube, chain on metal, round tin, large tin disc, sand chain, spring roll, brass sheet, bowl drum, tin cans, metal slice, aluminium tube and so forth should give you a fairly good idea.

Long Ambiences kicks us off with 23 tracks of long percussive only soundscapes that run up around a minute or so in length. Your immediately bombarded with a whole barrage of unusual sounds, from deep booms, metallic clunks, tinny rattles, "congas", scrapes, triangle like tings and more. Although being ambiences here, and indeed throughout the collection the style of playing is usually very rapid, although with the generally quite "light" sounds it doesn't sound like a wall of sound, more of a percussive texture.

The long ambiences are really quite structureless, featuring odd rhythmic playing, off beat hits, if indeed any beat can really be discerned, washes of percussive elements, usually layered two or three sound elements deep. If you've ever seen some weird dancers dancing round a stage to some weird percussion then this is it. "Alternative" performance artists will lap this up. Certainly if your looking for something unusual for a intro or outtro to a track or for a non rhythmic base then these could be used for that, otherwise, despite being very interesting I wonder how some of these might actually be used. They're rather like miniature performances in their own right and despite being percussive only in nature do sound quite complete. Very clever nonetheless.

Grooves is the largest of the sections by a way, comprising tracks 24-65, two samples to a track so just over a hundred grooves. As mentioned earlier no BPM's are given, which is a pain for users. Being virtually atonal many could be timestretched quite some without becoming unusable, though it's still not an excuse for neglecting to give the BPM's. Throughout though the grooves sound quite rapid, the producer flexing his percussive ability for sure, using lots of rapid beats to create a percussive texture.

The loops are not dissimilar to the ambiences except that they are shorter and have a definite beat to them, and in the main finish to a natural stop rather than just being cut at the final beat. There is certainly nothing here in the way of your regular drum loops, having more in common perhaps with ethnic percussive styles, though played of course with these weird and wonderful "junk percussion" sounds. Many of the elements are not too dissimilar from your regular percussive elements, but far enough to be original and different.

The sounds overall are not "big" or "heavy" in the manner of more industrial style offerings, there is the odd big clang in evidence, but mostly the producer concentrates on lighter sounding elements. Lots of tinny and woody type sounds. Many of the loops you could probably layer with a more traditional elements to produce very different sounding loops, otherwise there is a whole variety of loops here to base the production of the some very original sounding tracks.

Single Ambiences, tracks 66-84 - two samples to a track, comprise of just single percussive elements, though still quite long samples, typically 15-20 seconds in length. All sorts of unusual percussive sounds and riffs here, though mostly sounding quite simple as there is just the one sound. Quite possibly the most useful section on the CD as these sounds could quite easily be blended into a track, introducing an unusual element, but without dominating it that would be the case with the ambiences or groove samples. A few of the samples in this section are quite badly affected by background noise, surprising as it isn't evident elsewhere.

Single Hits, the collection ends with 40 odd single hits, which comprise as you might expect a range of junk percussive hits, useful if your looking to make your own loops with some weird elements or drop in the odd spot effect.

Summary & Overall...

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