Big Fish Audio | Electronic Musician Magazine Jeff Obee | Things That Go Bump in the Night 2 Product Review
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Things That Go Bump in the Night 2 | Electronic Musician Magazine

Reviewer: Jeff Obee | Rating: Over all Rating (1 through 5): 5 Back to Things That Go Bump in the Night 2 product details

Big Fish Audio's Things That Go Bump in the Night, Vol. 2 (audio or WAV/Acid files, $99.95; Akai CD-ROM, $199.95), is a two-CD set bursting with versatile and expressive content. It delivers more than 140 minutes of material from nine sound designers with a variety of perspectives. The sleeve notes state that Big Fish gave the sound designers two rules: "One, if we can identify the source sound, it's out; and two, if we can hum along, it's gone." True, this collection boasts some fairly strange sounds. But don't be fooled into thinking that these samples aren't musical. Despite the prescribed rules, I still found myself humming along to many of the sounds. The CDs offer 16-bit, 44.1 kHz sound files that are divided into 13 categories; Percussive loops, Pitched Loops, Ambient Wash, Vocal, Noise, Treble, Variable, Video-Atari, Video-Commodore, Short Events, Lumpy, Homogeneous, and Bass. Each track contains between 2 and 16 samples; File lengths vary greatly, ranging from short bleeps and bursts to longer washes and rhythmic loops. The bpm is listed for each of the Percussive and Pitched Loops.

Mystery Trip
The first 22 tracks feature percussive loops that aren't traditional dance-oriented kits or hand drum samples but rather unusual processed loops created by sampling atypical sources or twisting traditional percussion sounds into something altogether unique. The tracks occasionally have syncopated rhythms that spill over the bar lines or are somewhat (or even completely) arrhythmic.

An immediate favorite is track three, loop two-a haunting 4-bar creation with the sound of an explosion on beat one of each bar, which is followed by a high metallic bowed sound, a reverberating stick-on-metal hit, footstep effects, and a metal-on-metal hit.

Music producers Atom Heart and Jason Jones, who specialize in sampling industrial sounds, created tracks 14 through 16 and 17 through 19, respectively, in the Percussive Loops section. Atom Heart's "Atomizer" tracks tweak the beat in strange ways and utilize distinctive chirping or bubbling bursts and noises. Jones takes things further into the noise realm with his "Titanium" tracks. He uses huge hits, distortion, squealing metal, and over-the-top processing in some insanely cool rhythms.

The Pitched Loops are exquisitely off-the-wall, and I have too many favorites to list. Sounds include more metallic sources from hits to scrapes to springs, tube-radio-type sounds, romping synthlike effects, and analog distortion-simply wonderful processing that takes things into new sonic realms. Most of the excellent rhythms fall into a tight pocket.

It's a Wash
The ten tracks of Ambient Washes contain some stunning samples, most of which are icy and haunting. Their depth and texture suggest that they were created with a certain combination of specialized software and granular or modular synthesis.

"Fog Cluster" and Open Door" are subdued, droning samples. "Turandot" is brighter but also lush and suspenseful. Other likeable samples are the short but luscious "Suspense" that opens track 49, the spacey "Lament," and the monk-chant influenced "Gyoto2".

The second disc comprises 21 short event tracks featuring all kinds of exotic panning and dual stereo effects. The lumpy category is an extensive section consisting of 38 tracks with numerous exciting sounds of varying pitches and textures. I love track 23, "After the Rains," with its two clangorous, cascading bell and gonglike samples. "Dream Sequence" on track 30 has a rhythmic, synthlike pulse, and "Haunted Teakettle" evokes aural images of - well, of a haunted teakettle. The disc's Homogeneous section contains 15 tracks of equally enticing material, and the disc ends with four tracks of unusual low tones in the "Bass" section.

A Sampling Gumbo
The Video-Commodore and Video-Atari sections aren't exciting, but they have their place, and many readers will find uses for them. The rest of their samples are fun, fascination, challenging, and musical, running the gamut from gorgeous to delightfully weird. If you're preparing a musical meal, whether strictly for listening of for scoring film or video, this double-CD set will provide just the spice you need at an excellent price.

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