Pros: A dark, bold and brooding collection of 50 contemporary Trap, Hip Hop and RnB flavored loops presented in several popular formats.
Cons: Navigation through the 50 various kits can be tedious (but there’s 50 kits!)
As its title suggests, Apocalypse: Trap Construction Kits is dark. Very dark. And in this case, darkness is a good thing. This powerful collection of contemporary southern-fried hip hop is drenched in dangerous undercurrent. 808’s and synths dominate the darkness with unrelenting determination. Shadowy synths waft over deep bass lines and tensions are high.
Big Fish Audio has been at the top of the loop and virtual instrument food chain for over thirty years. Starting with their first virtual instrument in 1986, Big Fish Audio’s talented producers, composers, musicians and visionaries, have become the “go-to” resource for countless composers for blockbuster film and television projects as well as other forms of audio media. Working with some of the best and brightest minds in the business, Big Fish Audio continues to deliver top quality, contemporary sounds. Apocalypse: Trap Construction Kits lives up to the Big Fish Audio pedigree in every way.
As its title suggests, Apocalypse: Trap Construction Kits is dark. Very dark. And in this case, darkness is a good thing. This powerful collection of contemporary southern-fried hip-hop is drenched in dangerous undercurrent. 808’s and synths dominate the darkness with unrelenting determination. Shadowy synths waft over deep bass lines and tensions are high. The term “Trap” refers to the cold and scary places where drug deals take place. Unforgiving environments where darkness hides the bleakness from the dawn and danger lurks in every doorway. You’ll find no friends here. No matter how you found your way into this dark place, these themes will help you explore, survive and possibly thrive.
This is an urban nightmare wanting to explode in beats and stutters. There’s strength in numbers and at 50 construction kits with as many as 8 individual loops and variations like sliced loops and drum hits, there’s enough here to keep producers busy for a minute. I found these themes to be authentic and easily able to cross into genres like horror, true crime, and even gritty documentary work.
Each of the kits includes a full demo that can be accessed as its own “Demo instrument.” Here the kits play as fully designed and produced kits. They can be previewed or recorded into a single midi track for time-saving backing beds. Each kit corresponds to a note on the keyboard and when the note is played, the interface displays the kit number, bpm, key signature and as a reference, the corresponding note on the keyboard, assigned to that kit. This handy feature makes it fast and easy to preview the kits.
In this screenshot you can see Apocalypse is split into parts one and two but only part one contains the KLI instruments and corresponding one-shots and sliced-loop instruments. Part two contains no instruments. It’s just housing for samples related to the kits.
[See VIDEO Example #1: 2 KITS DEMO]
In the Demo Video, I simply recorded two kits into a single track. Recording the demos is useful if you need to quickly assemble a ready to use track with no customization possible. This can be used as a reference track to build your own mix with or it can serve as a backing track for vocals, guitar or other instruments.
For those familiar with KLI products, this interface will seem familiar and welcoming. Each of the channels represents a loop element, such as drums, bass or synth lead. In the screenshot above, you can begin to sense all of the power available to you through the KLI interface. You can pan, raise or lower gain, adjust FX parameters and even select convolution reverb “rooms” for each drum kit from this main screen.
[See VIDEO Example #2: KLI LOOPS TRACK]
My preferred way of working through this interface is to record each loop into its own track. This gives me the ability to arrange and control loops in the same way I can when using traditional wav file or Apple Loops. Though I still have the option of taking full advantage of the KLI system’s advanced featured like sliced loops and pitch shifting.
Once I record the loop via midi, I can extend or drag each loop within my project with predictable results. In some images, I color coded the loops to make it appear similar to the way traditional loops would look at work, if using them instead of midi. This helps me feel more comfortable in the midi environment, having come from – and being far more familiar with traditional wav or Apple loops.
Moving on to the single instrument folder, you’ll find additional options for each kit. Looking at the image above, you can see that each channel is labeled for the kit it corresponds to. Again, all controls and FX can be accessed here as well.
[See VIDEO Example #3: SLICED LOOPS DEMO]
You can get a feel for what’s possible with sliced loops by navigating down to the sliced loop folder corresponding to each kit. Here, some experimenting is required to arrive at the right feel for your mix. Although I’ve attempted to show how to access and utilized sliced loops in the Demo Video, I’m barely scratching the surface of what can be accomplished here.
If you’re interested in fully harvesting the most from KLI series loop products, I recommend watching the excellent tutorials that Big Fish Audio has assembled for their products. I encourage you to check them out here.
Each kit has its own collection of sliced loops and additional drum hits and loops. You can see from these screenshots and demo videos, that plenty of options are built in to give you creative control over your mixes. Notice just above the Big Fish Audio logo near the bottom of the image, there is a button marked Easy Mode. Clicking this reveals a menu offering Manual and Stutter modes as well. I recommend experimenting with these settings to add new dimension to your mix.
[See VIDEO Example #4: SLICED LOOPS DEMO 2]
In summary, I found these dark, heavy hip-hop themes to be great for some of the horror-oriented work I’ve been involved with. I feel like they’d be just as at home in a sci-fi setting as any post-apocalyptic, zombie-hoard-house-party. Dark, deep, powerful and buzzing with energy, this collection will resonate with audiences young and old. When you deal in darkness as much as I do, it’s great to be able to add authentic urban flavor to what can often become a lifeless, droning abyss. As always, I strongly recommend you check out all the video and audio demos available at Big Fish Audio to determine if this is the right set of loops to meet your needs.
If you plan to purchase the KLI version of Apocalypse Trap, you’ll need the full version of Kontakt 5.7.1 to use the product. You can expect to download two compressed files weighing 1.31GB and 1.01GB respectively. When combined and uncompressed, this will occupy 3.23 GB of hard drive space, giving you 50 construction kits broken into 856 individual patches as well as 712 sliced loop patches, 62 drum kit patches, 12 drum menu patches, 19 single instrument patches and 1 demo patch.
Traditional loop users will get 1222 files in either wav or Apple Loops format nested in 3.02GB of hard drive space. Rex and RMX versions break down into 613 Rex files packed into 941.4mb of hard disk space. Compressed download size for the two parts of Acidized wav files or Apple Loops are similar at about 1.23GB and 1.03 GB each while REX comes in with just one file at 915.6mb. The RMX Version is 1.85GB. Check out Big Fish Audio for complete details.