"The central idea behind the layout of Chemical...
"The central idea behind the layout of Chemical Beats is to provide tons of cutting-edge drum loops with as many played combinations and single hit samples as you could possibly need, thus giving the user infinite combinations and variations on a selected theme. As you might expect, the main focus of this release is on drum loops and rhythm grooves, each lasting between two and four bars. Stylistically, the loops fall somewhere between the Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Underworld and the Prodigy, with a good deal of ethno, R&B and hardcore rock influences thrown in for good measure.
The overall sound quality is faultless with creative use of effects processors, filters and compressors to give even the simplest drum loops bags of attitude and a real '90s flavour. The programming and performances are also near perfect with as much careful attention being given to the smallest electronic hi-hat and tambourine patterns as is afforded to the almost unbelievably powerful acoustic rock kit sounds. One of the most impressive things about Chemical Beats (apart from its amazing sound) is how much stylistic variety you get for your hard-earned cash. Everything from soulful R&B through to manic Industrial loops, with as much nasty compression and effects as you could shake a stick at. The Tabla loops also work beautifully and creative use of the stereo field makes nearly all of these samples highly usable in either a traditionally ethnic or contemporary context.
The CD-ROM cleverly groups all the individual single hit samples together with the breakbeats they come from (and even has the intelligence to list all of this in the sleeve notes!) making customising and tweaking the loops to fit your track a painless and very enjoyable process. Obviously rhythm is king here, and the handful of tracks that contain a few choice pads, basses and stabs seem to be thrown in more as a token gesture rather than a serious attempt to give the release a "workstation" feel. The CD-ROM is a joy to use with everything listed with its tempo, its size in Mb, and relevant performance notes; even those with only 60 quid to spare for the audio version, however, can take comfort from the fact that this disc will inspire you and prove useful time and time again.
Chemical Beats has a very flashy streetwise and hip exterior, but those who understand how crucial rhythm is in today's music will find levels of subtlety, creativity and musicality that will surprise and delight."
"Despite its title, Chemical Beats isn't, as...
"Despite its title, Chemical Beats isn't, as I'd expected, a load of Brothers-style pounding fuzz thrash. This CD covers a far broader remit, delving into an assortment of contemporary styles and throwing in a few surprises along the way. Opening up with 22 tracks of effects loops covering a range of manipulations and tempos (64-144bpm), the diversity of samples is quickly apparent, particularly when you reach the guitar samples, techno riffs and 'Mad Loops'. Particularly impressive are the Timelines, a group of loops that blend synth motifs with rhythmic elements such as rolling hi-hat patterns; very useful for intros or breakdowns as well as in layered beat situations.
Later loops offer up more conventional kit sounds, but often with a tasty added extra like a diving-pitch snare, added-sub kick drum or some tricky delay manoeuvres. Then there's a selection of excellent tabla loops, tambourine patterns and Chemical Pads (processed synth and guitar sounds) and an impressive array of stabs, basses and single hit drum and cymbal samples. The general emphasis of Chemical Beats, as the loud packaging indicates, is towards harder edged sounds though, so don't expect to knock out chilled jazz from this disc."
"Once upon a time there was a little boy who...
"Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived at the edge of a big, dark forest. He was a good little boy, and never did anything that his parents might not approve of, but one day he heard a strange sound coming from the forest. It sounded like drums - but not like any drums he'd ever heard before. These drums were downright disturbing. They made the little boy's teeth tingle. Squirrels began falling out of the trees, and instead of frolicking at the edge of the forest as they usually did, they attacked one another with savage fury. Without even stopping to tell his mother where he was going, the little boy dashed off into the forest to find the source of the amazing drum sounds.
To his surprise, instead of a real drummer he found an enormous CD player spinning a Zero-G Chemical Beats CD. Shortly he became a rock star and had his tongue pierced. The end. Or maybe it's just the beginning. There are enough dangerous loops on Chemical Beats to keep the squirrels falling out of the trees for quite a while. Even better, the samples are expertly organized on the CD-ROM, making it easy to pop the disc into the drive and start recording. Great sounds, great formatting, that's the combination that earned Chemical Beats our Key Buy award.
While you could certainly use many of the beats in dance or hip-hop, the focus is on an industrial rock vibe. Tempos range from 64 to 144 bpm, with a slug of loops every 8 bpm in between (64, 72, 50, and so on). In addition to a feast of noisy, distorted, and otherwise mangled kick/snare beats, you can spin matching hi-hat/tambourine patterns, power guitar riffs, whacked-out tabla loops, and more. There are even a few multisampled basses, a dozen toxic pads, and some in-yer-face stabs - in short, everything you need except Iyrics and talent.
"l love the submarine noises and zipper kicks in the second loop on track 4 of the audio CD," Greg Rule said. "The overall variety is excellent, too." When you load a "performance" volume from the CD-ROM, 36 adjacent white keys have different but closely related kick/snare loops that use the same sounds. By cuing a different key on each downbeat, you can change the groove in a lifelike way without disrupting it. Ten different "Timeline" loops (hat or tambourine) are located on the C# and D# keys, and single-hit kick and snare samples are on F, G#, and A#, ready for adding your own love taps to the mix. What's even cooler, the kick and snare in each loop are actually in separate layers. Push up the mod wheel and the snare drum disappears; push up the pitch wheel instead and the kick is muted.
Making a hole for your own fill or sound effect has never been easier. Instead of using this layout, you can load the performance volume and then replace the programs with a matching "sequencing" volume that uses the same samples. This volume separates the kick and snare loops in a different keyboard layout, and also gives single hits for the kick and snare. The whole concept is diagrammed very clearly in the booklet. The booklet gives the impression, however, that toms and hats are included as single-hit samples in the kits. I didn't find any volumes where that was true. Since there are few or no toms in the beats, their absence is not surprising. Often, though, the hi-hats aren't given as single hits either, even though you have hat loops to play with. So the liner notes aren't perfect, but they're very, very good.
There are even instructions for the neophyte on how to use this stuff with a sequencer. ."