Producer Coen Lagerweij is clearly a big...
Producer Coen Lagerweij is clearly a big fan of übermeister Eric Persing's Distorted Reality, which has had an influence on the type of material presented on this new release from Zero-G. Not that this is a bad thing, as there are few who could not have been inspired by Persing's twisted ambiences and drum loops. Seismic Frequencies is in the familiar package of a 99-track audio CD with a separate WAV file CD featuring the same material. Split into logical and 'easy to follow' categories, the disc kicks off with an ambient section. This features some laid back and ethereal pads which are listed (when relevant) with their appropriate key signatures. In general, the lengths of the pads and drones are kept short but usable, allowing more track time for variety - which is delivered by the truckload.
Other categories in this first half include Ambient Shots, Atmospheres, Creatures and Drones. All fairly self-explanatory and delivering just the right amounts of spaced-out, occasionally threatening, sometimes beautiful, and often downright weird audio that shows as much skill in sound design as it does in creative recording, mixing and processing techniques. The middle third of the disc is given over to a huge collection of bangs, clunks, whizzes and whooshes. These take the form of explosions, analogue synth FX, drum hits and 'Game FX' which contain exactly the kind of material that would be perfect for multimedia applications and sound designers for video games. Seismic Frequencies manages to push the sonic envelope just that bit further and succeeds in proving that pure creativity and consumer accessibility need not be mutually exclusive.
The end of the disc features some interesting and usable drums loops (far too few at 14) as well as some great Sweep FX and Sci-Fi noises, which will make even the dullest of programmers wish they were working on post-production for The Matrix 2.
This is a solidly constructed, useful, and at times inspiring journey into sound design. At least a third of this disc contains brief hits and 'Button' effects that would work perfectly for anyone putting together multimedia applications or the sounds that you find on DVD menu pages.
Awarded 4 out of 5"
"This is a bit of a strange one. Seismic...
"This is a bit of a strange one. Seismic Frequencies is a collection of ambient sounds intended not only for musical applications but also for multimedia projects. The sounds would certainly be well suited to videogames, television, film and multimedia shows. Most are harsh and cold, which would make them ideal for sci-fi films or science documentaries. Another application Zero-G suggests for these samples is Web design, where short sounds could be used to signal a button being clicked. But what about non multi-media projects? Well the samples could certainly give your tunes an edge.
Personally, I wouldn't consider basing my tracks entirely around any of these samples simply because they are so far out and not quite 'musical' enough for me. A good example are the Beat Mutilation loops, which all have a kind of vacuous distortion effect. However, you could use Seismic Frequencies sparingly to great effect in many electronic genres. Loops like Fatal-Morgana and Tremulous, for instance, would sound fantastic filter-sweeped on a heavy techno track.
It's in this sort of setting I see this sample CD coming into its own, by expanding your sonic palette with weird and wonderful noises. Another area where Seismic Frequencies scores highly is in its individual drum samples. These are, as you would expect, hard and clinical sounding, and should be great for drum and bass and techno. While hardly essential, Seismic Frequencies is an interesting change from the normal sample CDs we hear."
"This CD features a large slab of weird...
"This CD features a large slab of weird sounds, vibes and sound FX to spin you out. It's a quality selection of ambience and film track sounds well produced to eerie effect. First off there's a large section of ambience and ambient loop FX and pads, ranging from dreamy to haunted monsters these all evoke vibes and have their own character. Other sections on this CD are 'Ancient Drones', 'Archaic', 'Creatures', 'Metal Washes', 'Drones', 'Steel Pads', 'Stingers', 'Rhythm FX Loops' and 'Sci-Fi'. All of these sections give a hint of what's inside, but you have to look further to see their depth. There are plenty of satanic pads and ghostly ghastly ghouls plus some nice musical, smooth things to even things out and even some hefty drum sounds. This CD is a nice accompaniment to breaks or any drums, but also very useful for film/visual work or ambient chill out material. A quality source of sounds for your collection."
"Maybe it's because I like Sci-Fi and...
"Maybe it's because I like Sci-Fi and ghost stories so much, or maybe it's the number of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Twilight Zone episodes I watched as a kid, but mysterious, ambient, spooky, celestial and haunting samples are invariably my favorites. Zero-G's Seismic Frequencies (two CDs- audio and WAV, $99.95) goes right for the juju jugular. The sounds on Seismic Frequencies are as appropriate for industrial and drum'n'bass as for new age and ambient. If you're looking for samples that suggest a kind of ancient-future resonance, you'll find them here, echoing composers as diverse as Harold Budd, Steve Roach, Brian Eno, Jim Plotkin, Bill Laswell, and Tomas Koner.
The first 100-plus samples are ambient textures, loops, pads, and one shots. "Boomerang Swerve" suggests the creature in Alien 3, while "Windpipe" hurtles a notch filer into infinite space. Screeches, scrapes, and sparking pads reside near synthetically percolating, rhythmic ambient loops and huge, reverberant bass drum, instrumental, and even door slam hits. If your taste is less Blade Runner and more Xena, the collection includes a series of ancient drones and archaic loops, as well as some very intense atmospheres that recall the earthy, cinematic work of new age guru Steve Roach. If your taste runs more Jacob's Ladder, you're really in business: atmospheres like "Subway Terror" and "Uranium Train" are downright unsettling. Fans of the ambient subgenre known as isolationism (Swarm of Drones, Final, KK Null) will find plenty of inspiration here.
The discs don't offer a lot of drum loops, but the few featured are appropriately deconstructed and effected (Zero-G calls them "deformed") examples that you're unlikely to hear anyplace else. However, this collection's real strengths lie elsewhere in the swooshy laser darts of "Sci-Fi Pass and Shots"; the Space Odyssey-like clarion calls of "Steel Pads"; the hyperdrive recoiling of "Stingers"; the psychedelic submerged clock ticks of "Lunar Drones"; and the aggressive, vulcanized dimensions of "Metal Washes". The many short hits include quick glide sounds, breaking noises, shudders, throbs, creaks, and sweeps. You could even consider Seismic Frequencies a self-contained film soundtrack machine-hits, sound effects, music, cues, and all.
Though not necessarily friendly, pristine, or dry, the discs' sounds are all quite hi-fi, allowing plenty of latitude for drop-pitching, distorting, and effecting. However, many of the sounds have quite a bit of reverb - sometimes gated on - them already. Also keep in mind that you could inadvertently scare the crap out of your neighbors or roommates with these sounds, as many of the samples are custom-built for raising ghosts, conquering space and rumbling earth. Of course, whether or not you care depends on what you think of your neighbours or roomies."
"Sweeps, FX, chimes, drones and...
"Sweeps, FX, chimes, drones and ambiences are the order of the day, many of which could provide either a starting point or finishing touch to your music. Interspersed in all this is a variety of loops, and we'd actually like to have heard a few more of the distorted drum offerings. Atmospheric is probably a good word to describe the disc as a whole, and the good news is that there's such a wide selection of samples here that you could dip into it no matter what style you're working in."