Big Fish Audio | Keyboard John Krogh | Electric Ghetto Product Review
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Electric Ghetto | Keyboard

Reviewer: John Krogh Back to Electric Ghetto product details

Pros: Construction kits contain a wealth of usable material. Good source of raw material for hard-edged electronic dance tracks.
Cons: Some of the drum sounds and guitar tracks have a cheesy '80s feel.
Bottom Line: Fun, furious mix of synths, beats, and six-string mayhem.

Electric Ghetto is a high-energy mix of hip-hop, breakbeat, and all the crunchy, heavy elements of electronic dance music. In addition to the cliched 808 booms, zipper rolls, and programmed drum loops, you get full "band" arrangements-40 construction kit tracks in all -complete with intros, verse-and chorus-like sections, and breakdowns.

There are plenty of meaty guitar-like riffs (a good number of the distorted licks, while played in a guitar style, sound like they were played with grungy synth lead sounds), as well as heavy doses of analog-sounding basses, step-sequenced bleeps, and soundscapes that range from disturbed to serene. Creative use of delays, filtering, and distortion add to Electric Ghetto's super-produced vibe. "For my taste, the tracks are overproduced, leaving little room for creative additions," commented senior editor Jim Aikin. "But then, I'm a composer. I like writing my own beats and synth riffs. That said, I wish my productions sounded this powerful!"

Though there are a few tracks of guitar and synth multisamples and drum-only loops, the emphasis is on complete grooves with individual breakout tracks. This is a good thing, since many of the tracks contain lots of layered elements that you can't really hear in the full mixes. When soloed, these can provide inspiration for styles far beyond Electric Ghetto's target genre. Some of the underlying soundscapes are just the kind of material I'd want for moody cinematic projects.

Most of the drums have an appropriate amount of lo-fi and girth, though at times some of the kicks and snares sound like they came out of the late '80s or early '90s. The synth and bass parts on track 8, CD 1, for example, are jagged and tweezy (both good attributes in this case), but the loop is somewhat hobbled by the reverb-heavy kick and snare pattern.

Those looking for a rougher rap/rock vibe a la Limp Bizkit might not find enough on Electric Ghetto to fit the bill, but if your tracks lean toward the heavier side of Chemical Brothers or the lighter side of Tommy Lee's Methods of Mayhem, you'll want to put this one high on your shopping list.

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