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Review of SphereDelay an innovative multimode delay effect by W A Production — March 28, 2018

Review of SphereDelay an innovative multimode delay effect by W A Production

W A Production have launched SphereDelay, an innovative MultiMode delay plugin available in VST, AU and AAX formats, 32 and 64 bit versions.

The plugin is typically priced at £69.95 but is currently on sale exclusively at PluginBoutique for £6.95, a huge 90% off until 31st March 2018.

W A Production developed this plugin for the producers around the world who want something more when it comes to effects. The basic plugins that give the same Delay presets that we all know and are familiar with, whether it be DAW stock Delay plugins or third party Delay plugins just aren’t enough. W A Production wanted to add something new to the table. W A Production believe that Beginner and Experienced producers will enjoy the sleek and easy workflow of SphereDelay as well as the pure customization of your Delay sound. W A Production believe SphereDelay will give you a totally new depth experience, with a wide variety of customization features that makes the sounds it provides unique and limitless.

Download and Installation
This is a very straightforward process, there’s no requirement for a serial code.

Using SphereDelay
SphereDelay has four delay modes – mono, stereo, ping-pong and ping-pong separate. You select the mode from the middle white section and set the delay time that can be sync’d to your host DAW or free from 1ms to 3 seconds.


In each of these modes you can modulate the delay time with an LFO and envelope follower (follows the transients of the input signal) to create a variety of special effects. The LFO has three wave shapes, the frequency can be sync’d to your DAW or free and the ‘LfoRange’ control is like a mix control for the amount of LFO applied. There are ‘EnvTimeMod’ and ‘LfoTimeMod’ controls in the yellow section at the bottom of the display to further shape the delay effect. This also contains the feedback and dry/wet mix controls.


The signal then passes to the filter, a 24dB 3 mode (LP, HP, BP) with cutoff, emphasis and saturation settings. This is contained in the top part of the GUI along with the LFO controls and VU meter.


Another cool feature is the reverse option at the very bottom of the display. This works in each mode and reverses the input signal.


This is a very cool delay effect and definitely a bargain at the heavily discounted price. I wanted to get this review out much sooner to give longer notice of the sale but there’s still a couple of days to go if you’re quick.

It comes with about 30 presets that give you an idea of what it can do but to be honest it’s one of those addictive effects that just encourages you to experiment and see what happens.

Whilst it can do standard delays such as ping-pongs, slap, dub-type delays and stereo widening, it really comes alive when you add some modulation. You can get some excellent psychedelic effects, cool filtered effects and spooky, glitchy artifacts very easily. If it all goes wrong, simply double click the dial to restore the default setting and start again.

It can also produce some very interesting effects when manipulated live, there’s an unpredictability when adjusting the ‘EnvFollow’, ‘EnvTimeMod’ and ‘LfoTimeMod’ controls that results in some very unusual and unique sounds.

I’ve used the effect extensively on ‘oblique coherence’ embedded above. I’ve embraced the unique nature, unpredictability and some of the more extreme modulation effects to create an avant-garde, experimental album.

‘so called progress leaves me cold’ was created using Scaler to create the chord progression, 5 instances of SampleScience Player processed using SphereDelay, Blackhole (Eventide), mini filter V (Arturia), Cryogen (Glitchmachines) and SphereDelay. I’ve also used a sample from Urban and Suburban sample pack from Boom Library.

‘oblique coherence’, ‘bricks’ and ‘posters’ were recorded live in Usine Sensomusic Hollyhock 3. The chord progressions were created in Scaler and I’ve used SampleScience Player with SphereDelay and SpecOps (Unfiltered Audio); Synthmaster 2 (KV331 Audio) with SphereDelay and Blackhole. I’ve recorded quotes from YokoOnoBot on twitter processed in the joggle sampler with SphereDelay and also processed in the Grain MicroLoop sampler (using automation of speed and gain parameters) with SphereDelay. I’ve also used Type A (AudioThing) and Litote (Inear Display) with automation on the master channel.

‘disengage’ was created using 3 instances of SampleScience player processed with SphereDelay and Blackhole. Samples from the biomorph pack by Glitchmanchines were processed with SphereDelay and Blackhole.

‘fractured memories haunt my dreams’ was created using RapidComposer and four instances of SampleScience Player processed with SphereDelay, Blackhole and Octavox. The chord track was duplicated and processed with SpecOps.

‘drawn to the stara’ was created using RapidComposer and five instances of SampleScience Player processed with SphereDelay and Blackhole.

‘old houses’ was created using RapidComposer and six instances of SampleScience Player processed with Blackhole, SphereDelay and Octavox.

‘affirmation’ was created using Scaler for the chord progression, Synthmaster One processed with SphereDelay and Blackhole, three instances of SubBoomBass2, one processed with SphereDelay. A background sample from the Urban and Suburban sample pack by Boom Library.

All songs mastered using Ultrachannel (Eventide), Magnetite (Black Rooster Audio), Elevate (Newfangled Audio) and Stage (Fiedler Audio).

Review of Urban and Suburban sample pack by Boom Library — March 20, 2018

Review of Urban and Suburban sample pack by Boom Library


Urban and Suburban is a 3.5Gb collection of 140 royalty free ambiences. It is available as a 24 bit wav download from Boom Library (99 Euros regular price).


URBAN & SUBURBAN provides a solid foundation for any sound designer to create a believable acoustic backdrop right out of the gate with common ambiences in varying intensities, daytimes and configurations. Easily accessible public places are captured in excellent quality, yet enough balance and distance to support the scene in the background and embed more prominent sounds into the mix.

While URBAN & SUBURBAN provides all the necessary basics, it also goes the extra mile by providing more isolated environments as well as recordings of special events that will come in handy when a change of scenery or dramaturgy is required. Various forms of traffic, groups of people, buildings, animals, wind and many more sound sources that make an appearance in this library ensure that you are able to craft an experience complete with the necessary components.

In-Depth Review

There’s an excellent range of suburban sounds from morning, daytime and night including sounds from parks, traffic, animals and people. The urban sounds cover a range of similar day and night sounds including sounds from parks, traffic, people and include locations of an airport and train station.

The samples have a good range of lengths, the shortest being 13 seconds and the longest 5 minutes 23 seconds. The files are labelled descriptively, i.e. ‘NP02 0224 Suburban morning dogs birds v1’ and there is also helpfully an excel spreadsheet and pdf file that give further details of each sample.

The samples don’t have fade in / out or loop points, I find this makes them more useful because you can set your own and adjust these to suit. The samples sound really good, some have a more pronounced low end rumble, this really adds to the ambience for many of the sounds but it’s easy enough to apply a filter and the chances are that you will apply EQ anyway so that the sound fits within your mix better.

What I really like about these sounds is that they are really useful to use in their own right but are also ideal for further processing with effects, whether subtle delay / reverb or more extreme glitch and mangling effects.

I’ve used some of the samples to create the album ‘modernity’ embedded above. It’s a soundtrack for modern life and the samples were ideal for subtle background or more pronounced use.

I’ve used the samples on all songs in a variety of ways. Sometimes processing subtly with Type A, vintage tape encoder by AudioThing on songs 1, 2 and 6; other times I’ve used more extreme processing. I recorded parts for songs 3, 4 and 5 live in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock 3. I’ve used the u-drone sampler with Blackhole reverb and H949 Dual Harmoniser by Eventide; the joggle player and grain cloud player with Cryogen multi-effect by Glitchmachines and VLA-3A vintage levelling amp by Black Rooster Audio all processed by Type A and Litote Granular Exploration Box on the master channel.

In terms of EQ, I found VHL-3C, a free vintage high / low pass filter from Black Rooster Audio was a very simple and effective way of removing some of the low end so that the sounds fitted better in the mix.

I’ve also used Olafur Arnalds Chamber Evolutions by Spitfire Audio on tracks 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. It’s a superb chamber strings library for Kontakt, you can read the review here. I’ve used RapidComposer to create the arrangements for Chamber Evolutions.

Track 4 used one of the train samples (0307). I really liked the ambience and feel that was created during the live recording, the sample was used multiple times and is the only sound source processed using a number of samplers and effects as outlined above.

If you want further information on the effects used, there are reviews of them available on my blog.

Review of Olafur Arnalds Chamber Evolutions for Kontakt (Full or Player Version) by Spitfire Audio —

Review of Olafur Arnalds Chamber Evolutions for Kontakt (Full or Player Version) by Spitfire Audio


Spitfire Audio is proud to announce availability of OLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS, effectively exploring what was possible with a chamber ensemble when working with BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Award-winning Icelandic composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer par excellence Ólafur Arnalds — famed for his original score to Broadchurch, the top-rating television series from ITV (operators of the largest commercial family of channels in the UK), as well as several standout studio albums, including Island Songs (seeing him travel to seven very different locations in Iceland over the course of seven weeks to record several new compositions) — as an all-star ensemble performed his latest set of evolutions, executed with time-tested Spitfire sampling savoir faire as its musical must-have, notable namesake library latest.

ÓLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS can be purchased and digitally downloaded (as 30.5 GB of uncompressed .WAV files, featuring 15,156 samples) typically priced at £249.00 GBP (inc. VAT) / $299.00 USD / €299 EUR (inc. VAT) — from Spitfire Audio

ÓLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS needs Native Instruments’ free KONTAKT PLAYER (5.6.8) — included in the purchase — to run as a fully NKSTM (NATIVE KONTROL STANDARD) supporting plug-in instrument for Mac (OS X 10.10, 10.11, or macOS 10.12 — latest update) or Windows (7, 8, or 10 — latest Service Pack, 32/64-bit), while Spitfire Audio’s free Download Manager application allows anyone to buy now and download anytime.

For more in-depth information, including a superb-sounding audio demo from Ólafur Arnalds himself, please visit the dedicated ÓLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS webpage

Watch Spitfire Audio Director Christian Henson and Ólafur Arnalds talk through the thrilling story of ÓLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS

Watch Spitfire Audio Director Paul Thomson’s ‘traditional’ video walkthrough of ÓLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS

Watch Spitfire Audio ‘composer in residence’ Oliver Patrice Weder’s ÓLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS ‘In Action’ video

Watch Spitfire Audio’s tantalising teaser videos for ÓLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS


By way of brief background, based in Reykjavik, Iceland, Ólafur Arnalds’ approach to sound and composition has incontestably inspired a new generation to enjoy and create orchestral music. Following in the successful sampling footsteps of his own OLAFUR ARNALDS EVOLUTIONS and OLAFUR ARNALDS COMPOSER TOOLKIT libraries, Ólafur Arnalds became the clear choice with whom to create …CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS. After all, Spitfire Audio was collectively keen to explore what was possible with a chamber ensemble ensuing the well-received release of SPITFIRE SYMPHONIC STRINGS EVOLUTIONS (where pristine symphonic sampling meets Spitfire Audio’s alternatively progressive Producer Portfolio range to create an evolutionary experience by applying the company’s cutting-edge Evo Grid technology to the same no-expense-spared session recordings responsible for its sought- after 60-star-string-player-performing, blockbuster-sounding SPITFIRE SYMPHONIC STRINGS library like no other); obviously this translated to the driving musical motivation factor behind bringing on-board Ólafur Arnalds again as an accomplished creative collaborator.

Clearly capturing the delightful detail of individual players — performing as a 4, 3, 3, 3, 3 (Violin I + II, Viola, Cello, Double Bass) ensemble of best British players led by fellow Icelandic multi-instrumentalist, composer, conductor, and longterm Ólafur Arnalds associate Viktor Orri Árnason, OLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS exudes greater intimacy than its above-stated symphonic sibling, but beautifully balances that with enough excitement to still hold its own in scores and compositions alike.

As has been the case with so many precedent-setting Spitfire Audio libraries that preceded it, the top-tier OLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS production saw ‘Spitfire & Co.’ returning to the much-lauded Lyndhurst Hall within London’s legendary AIR Studios founded by Beatles-producing genius George Martin. There the ensemble in question was creatively captured with only the best classic high-end microphones and pres — piped through the world’s largest Neve 88R large-format console, no less — to Pro Tools and quarter-inch tape with several user-selectable mic mixes making their way to the finished article as C (Close), St (Stereo), T (Tree), and A (Ambient) to great effect. “You can feel the history; there’s something special, and the players can hear it and feel it,” observes Ólafur Arnalds himself.

However, being best described by Ólafur Arnalds as “…a sample you can play for three minutes that’ll never sound the same,” and readily reflected in the titling of OLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS, even, those thrilling evolutions themselves have become widely adopted amongst the composer community as the most effective means of easily writing music that is able to subtly change over time without variation in melodic content. Creativity continues still further in the case of OLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS (and also the likes of SPITFIRE SYMPHONIC STRINGS EVOLUTIONS), thanks to an ability to generate randomised evolutions, enabling unexpected results that are truly inspirational in their own right. Recording a number of very long notes that change or mutate over time across the entire range of the keyboard cleverly results in different evolutions. End users can create profound end results in hitherto unheard ways. What’s more, those note lengths are different across each Evo — ‘Spitfire-speak’ for evolution — to increase the randomness of what the user creates.

Assigning an evolution to a note range is straightforward: simply place a (virtual) peg in the relevant hole on the Evo Grid itself — inspired by the breakthrough British EMS VCS3, which made musical history upon its introduction in 1969 by being the first commercially portable synthesiser available anywhere in the world, thanks to its innovative modular matrix-based patchboard dispensing with the telephone exchange-like cabling of other (much larger) modular systems in favour of making space-saving connections with (removable) coloured pegs.

Pushing the concept onwards, OLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS includes innovative evolutions, courtesy of Ólafur Arnalds: Feathering, so that only half of the players are performing at any given time — this allows users to play different chords and still hear the detail of the players, while Waves represents one of Ólafur Arnalds’ signature sounds — crescendo-diminuendos, so a range of prerecorded Waves have been included for instant satisfaction, saving the user from having to manually draw in or perform with a fader. “I’ve been using them on every single thing that I’ve done for film since we recorded this with the ‘alpha’ version of the library,” reveals its instigator, before concluding, truthfully: “They’re just magical and so inspiring; it’s a good writing tool.”

There it is… Ólafur Arnalds’ closing comment clearly sums up OLAFUR ARNALDS CHAMBER EVOLUTIONS. This latest library makes it easy to create sophisticated chamber strings music from the most simplistic of arrangements — just a few sustained notes is all that’s needed to write inspiring dynamic textures!

Download and installation

The download file is fairly large at 30Gb and you need to use Spitfire Audio’s download manager which has a small file size and is easy to install and use. It took a few hours to download and install the library. I downloaded to an external hard drive using USB2 which I’m sure slowed the process considerably. Registering the library in Kontakt Player was a quick and easy process.

Getting Started

Chamber Evolutions has chamber grid, chamber waves, basses grid and basses waves. The chamber section is 4 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 comprising violin I, violin II, viola, cello and double bass recorded separately. One of Olafur’s innovation is feathering, this means that only half the players play at any one time, they feather in and out of each other and that enables you to hear players coming in and out and the sound is not too dense.

The GUI has a very clean look and feels intuitive to use with extensive in-line help. A very innovative feature is the Evo grid which can be customised in just a couple of clicks. There are 16 evolutions, covering sul tasto (bow kept over fingerboard to produce a soft thin tone) techniques such as long, ord, point, episodic trems as well as sudden trems, episodic effect and many more. These are split into 4 categories – subtle, thrills, episodic and dissonant, colour coded on the grid. You can select these yourself individually, mix them together or randomise one or all of them to create a huge variety of sounds.

You can further define your sound with controls for dynamics and expression, an ADSR envelope as well as effects of reverb, delay and tape saturation.

You can also configure the number and positions of microphones used – Close, Stereo Mix, Tree and Ambient. This really alters the intensity and closeness of the sound.

Chamber Waves is the second innovation. One of Ólafur’s signature sounds are crescendo-diminuendos, and in order to save having to manual draw-in or perform with a fader, a range of pre-recorded “Waves” have been recorded. These are recorded as normal, trem and vibrato waves with multiple articulations.

The Basses grid and basses waves work in an identical way, the grid options are fewer because there are seven bass sounds and no randomisation option.

There is also an advanced folder containing the individual waves and evolutions and also ‘time machine’ patches for waves articulations that allow you to sync to your host DAW tempo.

Using Chamber Evolutions

I’ve been very impressed using Chamber Evolutions. It can produce beautiful sounds from subtle to haunting to upfront orchestration and everything in-between. The basses and chamber sections compliment each other very well and articulations are excellent with superb dynamics and variety to the sound. It would be especially useful for scoring to pictures.

I’m not classically trained and typically don’t compose my songs in the traditional sense. A lot of my work is experimental and although has a framework it is invariably recorded live with the triggering of samples, synths, changing and editing effects and so on.

I’ve used a different approach using Chamber Evolutions, I’ve put music theory into practice and created songs using RapidComposer, exported the midi and created audio with Chamber Evolutions. The first song I created, ‘crisp winter mornings’ is embedded below. This was mixed using Blackhole, Tverb, 2016 Stereo Room, H3000 Factory and Ultrachannel (Eventide) and mastered using EQ45 (Eventide), Type A (AudioThing), Elevate (Newfangled Audio) and Stage (Fiedler Audio).

I’ve also used it on a submission for the upcoming Cities and Memory Sound Photography project which launches later in March 2018, in this entry I’ve used Chamber Evolutions with the Bernard Herrmann composer toolkit and used a variety of effects including Blackhole, Octavox, Ultratap (Eventide) and SpecOps (Newfangled Audio).

I’ve also used it on a submission for the upcoming ‘Exhibition’ compilation album on Submarine Broadcasting Co. I’ve used the Seslatero add-on and U-drone sampler in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock 3 with Synthmaster Two to compliment Chamber Evolutions. Again I’ve processed sounds with a variety of effects including Blackhole, Octavox, H949 Dual (Eventide).

I’ve also paired it with the Urban and Suburban sample pack from Boom Library. This has resulted in the album ‘modernity’ embedded below.

It’s a soundtrack to modern life. Some of the urban and suburban samples are lightly processed, on others I’ve used delays to create subtle but unusual effects. The Audio for songs 3, 4 & 5 was recorded live in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock 3 using a variety of samplers processed with Type A (AudioThing) and Litote (Inear Display) and shows more extreme processing of the sample with song 5 being live recorded in this way, I didn’t use Chamber Evolutions for this song.

The Chamber Evolutions parts were again arranged using RapidComposer and all songs produced and mastered in MuLab 7. I’ve used a variety of effects – H3000, Blackhole, Tverb, Octavox, Fission, H949 Dual (Eventide) and mastered the album using Ultrachannel (Eventide); VHL-3C, Magnetite (Black Rooster Audio); Type A (AudioThing); Elevate (Newfangled Audio) & Stage (Fiedler Audio).


The amount of effort and attention to detail in producing this toolkit are staggering and clearly evident in both the sound quality and flexibility of use.

The range of controls and automation / midi control options give a huge range of sounds and it seems very likely that composers will use it in different ways.

It has superb sound quality and it’s very easy to produce this quality sound. You can use it as simply or complex as you like, the examples above are only using Chamber Evolutions to highlight its versatility and superb sound quality but you could easily pair this with other instruments or sounds. I found RapidComposer very helpful to get great sounds out of Chamber Evolutions. It is an all encompassing compositional tool, in addition to chord and bass parts it can also produce a variety of other phrases such as string parts, arpeggios, melodies and piano runs.

The main limitations that I found appear to be related to Kontakt and memory availability rather than CPU usage. My system spec is a dual core 2Ghz with 4Gb ram and it can run about 6 instances of Kontakt before it starts to crash so you need to ensure you have as much memory available as possible to prevent Kontakt from crashing when loading multiple instances or some of the more complex patches.

Review of ‘Meowgeddaboudit!’ album by The Trigger Happy Kittens — March 13, 2018

Review of ‘Meowgeddaboudit!’ album by The Trigger Happy Kittens

MEOWGEDDABOUDIT! is the 2nd Album of Electronica by The Trigger-Happy Kittens. @TrggrHppyKttns is a Music Project Produced & Engineered by Michael O’Morah, an AIDS Survivor and Pollock-Krasner Award-Winning Artist & Original Electronic Music Producer (NOT a DJ) & Keyboardist.

This is a review that’s taken far too long to publish and consequently there have been a couple of releases since this one which you can find linked through the embedded album above.

This album has the feel of a jam at times, there’s some excellent synth sounds, bass lines and percussive rhythms. At times the grooves are a bit wonky and that goes for the overall sound at times too, but that’s a good thing, it gives the album a great character with an occasional chaotic feel which often resolves with syncopation of percussive rhythms and riffs.

The album has a great vibe, it tends to carry you along. So much so that even some of the synths start will start to sound like cats…

The Birds and the Bees
An acid infused song, a great layered groove from drums, percussion and bass / synth riffs.

Cats in the Keys
Great opening from synth riffs and syncopated kick drum leading into a wonky groove with a steel drum type of sound that weaves around the steady kick pattern.

In the Footsteps of Time
Uptempo opening from percussive rhythm and synth riff, the groove evolves over time with a filter type of effect.

Kittens Lament
An emerging synth sound to open, the song is built on layered synth riffs with great use of delay.

Outta the Dawn House
A delayed riff to open, the song is built around this riff with layered background sounds and synth riffs.

Paw Prints Prince
A percussive rhythm with pulsing, swirling noise there’s an evolving riff which has a great interplay with the bassline.

Pussyfooting into OZ
Percussive opening with a bassline groove, the emerging synth lead takes prominence into an evolving groove.

Taking a Pause to Rake our Claws
An arp to open with synth lead creates a groove, subtle percussive rhythm gives a great momentum. An evolving groove to the song.

A Right Vile While
A distorted riff to open with great bass and pulsing background sound. The song has an evolving groove with an excellent acid type synth riff towards the end.

The Habanero Kitty
A kind of looping riff and percussive sound, propelled by a percussive rhythm. The song evolves a groove with a looping type of feel.

Trigger-Happy Sunshine
Percussive rhythm and squelchy type sounds to open, it’s an evolving groove with great panning of sounds.

A Swish of the Tail
Layered percussive rhythms and acid sounding riff propel the song into a groove and there’s definitely a cat meowing type sound to the riff.

It’s Those Damned Trash Pandas Again
An upbeat groove from squelchy bassline and drumming rhythm, the vocals add a great element. A great acid vibe at times.

The Canyons of the Kings
An atmospheric opening, a superb synth sound that evolves and swirls against a background drone.

A Cat’s Dog Year
The opening riff has a hint of sax about it, the drumming rhythm gives a solid momentum. Great changes in feel with the different sounds,

Kittens of the Caribbean
A great groove to the song from bassline, percussive rhythms and percussive synth sound. There’s a kind of Latin feel to the song,

It’s the Trigger Happy Kittens and Small Town Drug Dawg
Great synth riff to open with percussive rhythm, the song develops an uptempo groove with subtly layered spoken vocals. Great movement in the synth sound.

An arp to open and arp type synth riff, there’s a great edge to the song at times.

Purr Contentment
A delayed synth to open, there’s an edge of tension and an ambience at times, whilst the synth has an edgy sound at times too.

A Day With No Religion
A synthpop feel to the opening with riff, chimes and percussive rhythm. There’s a kind of chaotic feel at times.

Review of ‘Takeover Me’ album by Akranes on Ramber Records — March 12, 2018

Review of ‘Takeover Me’ album by Akranes on Ramber Records

There’s an awesome sound to this album, it’s dreamy vocals and chilled vibes give a mesmerising and captivating sound. The arrangements are often minimal but expertly done to allow each element the space to grow and evolve.

Falling (feat. Oonie Stark)
A beautifully dreamy song with excellent vocals, a superb ambience from minimal synth and sparse drums, it’s somewhere between trip hop and future garage.

Takeover Me (feat. Sabira Jade)
Atmospheric opening from background synth / vocal effect, the vocals are spoken and beautiful again. The bass and percussive rhythms give a subtle momentum. An excellent chilled vibe.

Over (All Broken)
An emerging synth with 4:4 kick give an atmospheric opening, the riff gives a great contrast. The bass is deep and rolling and the song is propelled by an excellent percussive rhythm.

Lost Inside (feat. Oonie Staerck)
Another atmospheric opening from synth and arp, the song evolves with excellent percussive rhythms, deep bass and lovely vocals again.

Sleep Tonight (feat. Sabira Jade and Bryson)
There’s a jazz vibe to the opening chords, percussive rhythm builds slowly and the vocals are beautiful and processed superbly.

Ramber Records website | facebook

Akranes facebook | twitter


Review of ‘Ljudkamrater’ a split LP by Centralstodet & The Myrrors on Cardinal Fuzz and Sky Lantern Records — March 8, 2018

Review of ‘Ljudkamrater’ a split LP by Centralstodet & The Myrrors on Cardinal Fuzz and Sky Lantern Records

Sky Lantern Records and Cardinal Fuzz are excited to announce Ljudkamrater, a new split LP from the beloved Swedish prog rock heads Centralstödet and Tucson, Arizona’s own kommune psych rock ensemble The Myrrors. Long rumored and now finally seeing the light of day, the album is being released on black vinyl with the sleeve designed by Nik Rayne (The Myrrors) and with The Myrrors track ending in a Locked Groove.

This one slipped through the net somewhat, being released at the end of January last year. The vinyls have sold out but it’s still available on cassette and digital download on the Bandcamp page of Sky Lantern Records (North America) embedded above.

It’s a superb release with classic psych blues, jazz, distorted lines and fuzzy grooves with brilliant jam qualities. It has a timeless feel, encompassing many a nod to classic styles and artists such as Hendrix yet still sounding up to date.

Centralstodet – IE
A slowly evolving jam propelled by solid drumming and bass there’s an excellent interplay between the guitars playing lead lines and solos with great use of feedback and a building tension with a final release.

Centralstodet – Yttre Hybriderna
A solid groove from bass propelled by drumming, shimmery guitar chords and distorted lead line add a great tension. There’s a brooding quality to the song, an edgy solo building tension to a final release.

Centralstodet – Vegas Bodega
An almost jazz feel to the strummed, slightly distorted chords propelled by bass and drumming. An excellent groove with superb solo and great edge of tension.

The Myrrors – Rayuela / Night Flower Codex
An evolving opening with guitar, bass, drumming (and I think I heard strings and flute too) it’s got excellent jam qualities. There’s a slow release into Night Flower Codex, a superbly meditative and captivating 13 minutes of a slow jam with reverberating drone type bass, brooding drumming and strings / guitar and slowly building tension to a final release.
Cardinal Fuzz twitter | facebook | website

Sky Lantern Records twitter | facebook | bandcamp

Review of ‘2017 Summer Jam Samper’ album by Various Artists on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records — March 7, 2018

Review of ‘2017 Summer Jam Samper’ album by Various Artists on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records

It may feel a long time since it was Summer, but Spring is just around the corner and to be honest, why limit yourself to Summer? Anytime is an ideal time to listen to this album. It has an excellent vibe with a superb range of song styles from mellow psych, ambiences, smooth jazz to more uptempo grooves.

It’s an excellent introduction to artists from Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records, the album has a great range of guitar riffs, leads and solos; floaty, ethereal vocals and some more unusual instruments. There’s often a natural, organic feel to the songs.

Heaters – Séance
An uptempo opening from drumming, bass and guitar riff and lead, vocals have a great floaty / ethereal feel. The edge of distortion is a great contrast with the cleaner sounding riff. Nice change of feel too.

Joel Gion – Divide
Acoustic riff to open leads into a smooth jazz vibe with natural percussion and mellow vocals with great harmonies. The woodwind instrument (clarinet I think?) adds a great element.

Ancient Ocean – Titan’s Island
Evolving string type sound to open a bit like a harmonium which is layered really well. Lap steel guitar adds a great element. There’s an ambience with just an edge of tension.

The Myrrors – Somos La Resistancia
There’s an edgy feel to the opening from bass and a staccato riff added to further by the vocals. There’s an eastern vibe to the song.

Prince Rupert’s Drops – Rosy Red
Uptempo riff and drumming to open, a great momentum from solid drumming and bass. Excellent guitar riffing and solos.

Sam Kogon – Chunga and the Mookah’s
An uptempo feel to the song with great vocal harmonies which have a kind of call and response feel against the riff.

Chocolat – Golden Age
An excellent uptempo opening from riffing and drumming, there’s a drone which sounds like it keeps getting higher in pitch. This tension releases to sax and vocals with a great floaty feel.

Kikagaku Moyo – Streets of Calcutta
Distorted bass to open leads into drumming, bass and riff. The song has a fantastic vibe, subtle changes in pace and feel.

Elkhorn – Seed
Acoustic picked chords and riff opening with an uptempo feel. Slightly distorted guitar lead adds a great element, there’s an edge of tension, a lonesome feel at times.

Sundays and Cybele – What’s the Name of That Flower
Strummed guitar, guitar riff and piano creates a very mellow opening propelled by bass and drumming. Quite a chilled vibe, vocals have a floaty feel. Nice change of feel with the more distorted guitar solo.

New Electric Ride – Submarine Song
Excellent vibe to this song, superb vocals with great harmonies and a great interplay between piano and synth riffs. The drums and bass give a solid groove.

Dire Wolves – Fogged Out 1
Great ambience to the opening from drone and strings, a kind of celtic feel. I really like the wah effect on the guitar which adds a great element, drumming enters to give a more defined momentum whilst retaining the ambience which is really enhanced by the vocals. There’s a great edge of tension at times too.

The Entrance Band – Fine Flow
Drumming and distorted riff to open, the distorted guitar lead has great delay and wah. Vocals are laid back feel and there’s an excellent jam quality at times Nice changes of feel through the song too.

Drakkar Nowhere – Salutation to the Sun
A chaotic, jam like quality to the opening of this song leading into an uptempo psych sound with great vocal harmonies and quite intense drumming. This leads into more of a synthpop sound with a great change of feel slowly building to a final release.

Review of Anodyne Techno sample pack by Zenhiser — March 1, 2018

Review of Anodyne Techno sample pack by Zenhiser

Anodyne Techno is a 2.2Gb collection of royalty free techno sounds and loops. It is available as a 24 bit wav download from Zenhiser (AU$50 regular price).

The pack contains a total of 551 files including 50 full mix loops, 108 mind bending synth lines, 50 hypnotic basslines, 150 outer world beats, 150 versatile drum sounds, 28 simplistic synth one shots and a bonus percussive loop section ranging from 123 – 126 BPM in a number of different folders as shown below:

The basslines are numbered by BPM and key. These are solid bass sounds with a subtle movement, they’re really deep often with subtle movement, filter sweeps or gating type effects. There are sub bass sounds with some arps too.

The drumbeats folder has 150 loops in total. There are 50 individual loops, each with 3 variations that are labelled by number, (a), (b) or (c) variation and bpm. The (a) and (c) are two versions of the beat with the (b) variation acting like a break. These loops have a great range of sounds from stripped back to more detailed with effects. They have a driving rhythm and solid groove.

The drums 01 – 05 folders contain 70 kicks, 15 hi hats, 15 claps, 25 percussion and 15 drum fx one shots for you to create your own drum loops. These contain a wide range of great sounding drums and percussion sounds which can be layered to give a range of sounds.

The drums 06 folder contains 15 bonus loops which are percussive loops to add extra interest to the one shot sounds or a great element to other loops.

The full mix loops folder contains 50 loops labelled by key and bpm. These are ideal for reprocessing with modulation / glitch effects, slicing, resampling and/or layering the results together.

The one shots – synths folder contains 28 one shots labelled by key. These are ideal for further processing with samplers and effects.

The synth lines folder contains 50 synth loops in (a) and (b) variations labelled by key and bpm. These are excellent sounds with interesting arps, movement in the sound and a subtle saturation and reverb.


One meaning of Anodyne is ‘not likely to cause offence or disagreement and somewhat dull’ but this sample pack is far removed from bland. It is an excellent sample pack containing a variety of sample loops and drum hits with a solid and distinctive sound. They provide inspiration for creating a wide range of more melodic / ambient techno sounds. The loops layer really well together and give options for a stripped back sound or a fuller sound and everything in between. They are also well suited to further processing in samplers or by other effects.

I’ve used various loops from the pack to create the album ‘entanglement’ which is embedded above. I’ve used two different DAWs and two completely different processes. The first three tracks were created in MuLab 7 as more conventional tracks and the last three created in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock 3 as experimental techno. The loops layered together really well and to make each sound fit within the mix I’ve used EQ to remove some of the low end from the bass drums and add a sizzle; gentle compression to boost certain frequencies and a tape emulation to add character.

I’ve used a number of effects, in MuLab I used DW Drum Enhancer (Audified) on the drums; Blueface SC5 (Black Rooster Audio) and Fission (Eventide) on the bass; SpecOps (Unfiltered Audio), Subvert (Cryogen) and H3000 Factory, Tverb and Blackhole (Eventide). They were mixed using VHL3C and VEQ5 (Black Rooster Audio).

In Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock 3 I’ve used a number of the sampling / granular tools – groove slicer, groove mangler, sample grain player, joggle player and also the Seslatero add-on. I’ve used a number of effects – VLA2A, VPRE-73 and VEQ5 (Black Rooster Audio); Cryogen (Glitchmachines), VHL3C, Cypress TT-15 (Black Rooster Audio); H3000 Factory (Eventide). I also used Litote (Inear Display) and Type A (AudioThing) on the master.

All tracks were mastered in MuLab using Magnetite, Blueface SC5 and VEQ5 (Black Rooster Audio).

After creating the album, I also experimented some more with different ways of using the synth one shots. I picked notes from a chord and loaded them into the Polygon sampler by Glitchmachines. This is a four slot sampler with granulators, filters, metalizer, stutter and ring mod effect that has extensive modulation options using LFOs and envelopes. It gave some very interesting and atmospheric sounds, especially when processed with delay and/or reverb. These one shots also worked very well in the udrone sampler in Usine Sensomusic Hollyhock 3, this created a kind of layered percussive effect as this sampler can play the sample back at different pitches which can be layered. I then loaded a full mix loop into Polygon, changing the granulator and range settings for each instance, this created an excellent dark ambient, very atmospheric sound.

Creative use of effects and samplers can therefore greatly extend the range of sounds and styles that this pack can be used for.