Bit of a departure for the Boys at...
Bit of a departure for the Boys at Zero-G, this one. No drum loops, funk basses or guitars here, just 73 minutes of 'Haunting' and 'Nasty' textures, and a bunch of 'Arpeggios'. The theme here is eerie, timbrally intricate, pad-type samples, which could easily find a niche in a number of musical genres. Everyone from neo-classical composers to dance producers should be able to find elements here that would benefit their sample library.
The sounds provided range from eerie textures to very bizarre vocal timbres, which could be put to eminently good use as the underlying basis of compositions, or as the main element in works such as soundtracks or experimental music production. 99 tracks are supplied and the variety really is astonishing; great use is made of stereo imaging, and subtly implemented effects are judiciously employed. A good dose of humour has obviously been put into the names of the samples: Gas Fire Monster, Future sound of Luncheon and, best of all, Stick Insect on Drugs. Brilliant.
The 'Haunting' secion is primarily made up of pad-type samples, which have a multitude of creative possibilities, due to the fact they're relatively long in duration, so can be looped at any point to make for a range of variations. Moving on to 'Nasty', the approach is similar, but the sounds are of a more sinister nature, as implied, and damn sinister many of them are, with titles such as 'Demon' and 'Skulls on Sticks'.
The 'Arpeggios' section offers fourteen tracks of assorted lighter sountrack-like textures, which, again, are pretty lengthy and therefore very versatile. If you want a ghost in your machine, you can't get much scarier than this monster!
Ghost in the Machine is the third in...
Ghost in the Machine is the third in sample CD pioneer Zero G's Altered States series. Not having heard Cuckooland Vol 1, I can only presume it follows the same vibe of overall strangeness. Starting off with the Haunting section we are introduced to all manner of spooky, tripped out, heavily treated drone like phrases that last for 15-30 secs each. It's extremely difficult to tell what the source material might have been, though what ever it was, it has now been processed very heavily via some crazy harmonising, phasing, filtering and reverb effects to achieve a suitably horror movie type feel. Due to the excessive treatments sampling in stereo will be a much preferred option.
As with many of these 'off the wall' type disks the individual tracks are given quite unique names such 'Horn Menacing' , 'Platforms and Flares', 'Sticky Radio', 'Introverts Eyes' and the rather amusing 'One to many at the Garden Fete'. In practice I've found this to really help out when remembering and locating samples on your hard drive or whatever, as it's a hell of a lot easier than remembering what Drone No.1347 is? Moving on to the Nasty section we are confronted with more short loops of a slightly more mechanical tortured orientation.
This disk is sounding like fun huh! It's extremely difficult to summarise these sounds, many of them sound like they have infact been nicked from Horrors films looped in weird ways then put through H 3000 or something of that ilk. Winning name in the Nasty section - 'The Future Sound of Luncheon'. Excellent. Finally the last section Arpeggios sees our Cuckooland creators Simon Mills and Ian Anderson getting a little bit musical, well sort of.
A series of analog synths(mostly Arp) is once again given the once over by the effects rack. Some of the tracks are actually arpeggios while others sound more like LFO effects, but as with the rest of the disk your can be assured that they are suitable weird and undefinable. Well my first adventure into Cuckooland has certainly kept up to my expectations, this is one crazy bunch of stuff that is not for the faint of heart, nor the middle of the road. If you are performing covers down the local pub this is not the disk for you. I see this disk more suited to those working in theatre or soundtrack work where you have a little more room to be adventurous.