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Amazing Thailand | Sound On Sound Magazine

Reviewer: Paul White Back to Amazing Thailand product details

Based in Japan, Discovery Sound have a wide range of sample CDs. Their Ethnic series comprises Amazing Thailand, Bom Dia Brazil, Techno Lama, Legend Of China, Discovery Japan, Shamisen, Digeridoo, Voice Percussion and Okinawa Tradition. The subject of this review comprises an audio CD and an Acid/WAV/REX 2-format CD-ROM. The audio CD kicks of with a demo track, closely followed by a generous selection of short percussion loops, typically just a couple of bars long. This section includes both drums and gongs, as well as some tuned percussion phrases.

From there it's on to stringed instruments and wind instruments, before moving on to male and female voices. Interestingly, the stringed instruments contain multisamples and, as most feature a fairly fast decay, it's easy enough to load them into a sampler, as you don't have to worry about looping. Of course there are also string phrases and some suitably raspy sustained bowed-string multisamples, some of which would need looping. Some of these phrases are wonderfully plaintive, while others are more strident, and all capture the genre beautifully. The same recipe carries through to the wind instruments, which include flutes and some reeded pipes. The female vocal phrases are lovely, though I haven't a clue what they're singing about, and there are also some equally inscrutable spoken phrases. The collection finishes with ambient backgrounds from places like markets and restaurants, more often than not with traffic or air-conditioning noise in the background. That's the end of the sound content, but, for those interested in learning more about Thai music, there are 24 short movie clips of the various instruments being played.

Overall the recording quality represented here is impressive, though I would have much preferred the multisampled instruments to be available in a broadly supported sampler format, such as Akai, Gigastudio, Halion, or EXS24. The samples are wide-ranging and well recorded, and the REX 2 option is also particularly welcome, as it enables loops to be used over a range of tempos, so that you can fit the sampled phrases in with existing arrangements. Paul White

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