Big Fish Audio | Keyboard Magazine Ken Hughes | Cut'n It Up 2 Product Review
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Cut'n It Up 2 | Keyboard Magazine

Reviewer: Ken Hughes | Rating: Pros: Loads of material. Excellent programming. Lots of variation in extended play loops. Cons: NO guitar loops without wah. Samples not indexed within audio CD tracks. Bottom Line: An ideal tool for the speedy creation of tracks with street cred. Back to Cut'n It Up 2 product details

What a great collection a delicious new batch of construction kits in the tradition of the original Cut'n It Up. Extended loops go on for at least four bars, with much variation and subtle shifts in flavor. Producer John Tejada gives you enough pieces and parts in each construction kit that you could conceivably produce an entire track with just one. Of course, good musicianship and artistic ethics would dictate that you add your own touches as well.

Loops are grouped by tempo, but no key reference is provided; many of the loops lack an obvious tonal center. Each loop's constituent parts are broken out individually and often in subgroups-each of the pitched elements, for example, followed by all of them together. It makes creating variations a snap. All the samples are expertly prepared. I heard no sloppy endings, flubbed downbeats, or any other gremlins that occasionally mar otherwise stellar sample CDs.

Some of my favorite tracks; disc 2's "Southern Funk," with its greasy, squeaky organ, James Brownish guitar chanks, and big fat kick; "Drunken Master Break," also from disc 2, with its tight/sloppy internal conflict; disc 1's jazzy, Rhodes-fueled "Don't Pass Me By"; and the infectious, moody "On the Move, " also from disc 1. Second-listener John Krogh said, "I'm a fan of herky-jerky programming, which is a big part of Cut'n It Up 2, but for my taste there's too much stuttery material and not enough melodic samples-very few bass lines or keyboard hooks."

Cut'n It Up 2 presents 91 construction kits, 108 live drum loops, 37 scratch samples, and 67 guitar phrases. Unfortunately, all the guitar riffs are played with wah-wah. They're very good, but considering how other groove elements are so varied, this seems oddly limiting. The scratches are really well done. The turntablist eschews the few stale-as-day-old-Bud scratch classics in favor of some less identifiable cuts, and scratches them with conservative novelty; they're not going to blow your head off with their freshness, but the prowess of the DJ is more than respectable.

I suspect expert hip-hop producers will always prefer to mine their own vinyl crates for samples. But newbies and veterans alike should find plenty here to get excited about, and it's tough to beat the value of a four-disc set for q hundred bucks. Those looking to wade into hip-hop waters for the first time will get a credible introduction to the lighter side of the genre, and producers working on the shortest deadlines will find Cut'n It Up 2 stuffed with just the kind of street attitude they need.

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