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20 July 2010

CAMEL AUDIO VIRAL OUTBREAK | £39

REVIEW
Oi! Virologists! If one were to splice the DNA of H1N1 and H5N1, might pigs fly? OK, you can go away now while we Muzologists deal with a Viral Outbreak in Scotland that’s being spread by Camel. Which is a round-about way of saying that Edinburgh-based music software developer Camel Audio has [PR-speak alert] ‘brought to market’ a new library of sample-based instruments, the aforementioned Viral Outbreak. It’s the work of Canada’s Nucleus SoundLab, a company more associated with ReFills for Propellerheads Reason and, true to character, Nucleus has already developed a Viral ReFill, as well as a VSTi, both software incarnations of Access Music’s Virus TI, a hardware synth used by the likes of Depeche Mode, Hans Zimmer, Linkin Park, NIИ and many more.

19 July 2010

AAS TASSMAN 4.1.4 | ~£230 (~£65)

LONGVIEW
What’s that coming over the hill? Is it a Tassman? I must confess when I first encountered this physical modelling sound-design tool shortly after its launch in 2000, I thought it a monster. Hence trepidation oozed from my very pores as I set to wrapping my brains about the latest incarnation. Would it drive me to Tassmania? Would I up-sticks and emigrate to Tasmania? Would I ever figure out what ‘tassman’ means? Actually, it's derived from AAS employee number three's name Stéphane Tassart, so that's one mystery solved already, Watson. Earlier Tassman releases were, as it were, something of a mindf*ck, such was the sheer wealth of patch-editing options available. And I’m not talking about patch editing in terms of tweaking the odd knob or slider here and there. Being modular, Applied Acoustics' Tassman enables you to build shiny new custom synths from scratch.

15 July 2010

NATIVE INSTRUMENTS EVOLVE MUTATIONS BUNDLE | €149

REVIEW
Creationists are aghast at suggestions that God may not have put dinosaur fossils and sound designers on this Earth for a joke. And yet a US-based collaboration of sound designers, Heavyocity, ploughs gamely on - gamely being the operative word. Heavyocity is Heavy Melody Music and Sound Design, which supplies audio to the gaming, film and TV industries. But with their muzo hats on, the HM crew like nothing better than to generate Darwinian sonic mutations in the form of virtual instruments, a pair of which I have right here in the shape of Native InstrumentsEvolve Mutations Bundle, designed for use with the Kontakt sample engine.

12 July 2010

CAMEL AUDIO HIMALAYA: PADS | £39

REVIEW
When mention of Camel Audio’s Himalaya: Pads sound library first hove into earshot, it brought to mind imaginings of herds of yak gambolling across the slopes of Jichu Drakey; the chortling of white-throated laughing thrushes. Of Nepalese maidens singing above the gurgle of Gandaki rivers; of compelling subsonic grind as the Indo-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates grate. However, when the ergot poisoning wore off, it occurred to me that Edinburgh-based developer Camel’s latest dromedarian device may have more to do with the machinations of one Himalaya, aka the tersely surnamed Raphael S, a sound designer more associated with AAS Tassman than Tibet and with a more than passing predilection for physical modelling. Himalaya is, indeed, the individual behind this latest collection of sounds for Camel’s much-lauded sample-manipulation soft synth Alchemy.

10 July 2010

0/10 - SEE ME...

EDITORIAL
Ohhh soddit! There’s something that makes me want to vom. I hate it. Something that not only bugs me, but rags me rotten. It’s a product of publisher pressure, wooly editorial thinking, water-muddying marketing manipulation and the fact that so many folk have the attention spans of gnats. With Alzheimers. “What are you blithering on about, Karl?” Yes, I can hear your brains (creepy, huh?).