Adrenaline

There are times when you’d rather listen to Nine Inch Nails, or see a Quentin Tarantino movie. Or, load Adrenaline.
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Yes, it’s a poster boy for nasty, industrial type sounds — although it’s not all dirt ’n’ gloom. Adrenaline is never exactly light-hearted, but in the 56 instruments that draw on the 1.22GB sound library, there’s an attention to detail and sound quality that makes them suited for a variety of genres.

Adrenaline uses the Intakt virtual instrument engine (Windows XP, Mac OS X; VST, DXi, RTAS, AU, stand-alone), so there are editing options galore; I’m particularly fond of the filter and distortion options. If you’re not familiar with Intakt, one of its strongest features it that it combines different playback engines. These are standard resampling, “time machine” time/pitch stretching, and a “beat machine” to play back sliced files à la ReCycle.

Adrenaline makes good use of this in the construction kit layout. A generous collection of loops using the time machine technology generally hangs out toward the bottom of the keyboard. These include lots of beats, but also bass, guitar, who-knows-where-they-came-from sounds, etc. A few of the keys combine loops, while other keys trigger individual elements and sometimes, variations on those elements with extensive processing.

In the upper keyboard range, a sliced rhythmic file typically cavorts across the top octave or two. One of the keys plays the sliced file, while the others trigger individual slices. Although you can play these from the keyboard, a very cool feature is that you can export the slice pattern as a MIDI file. If you then load it into your host and assign it to triggering Adrenaline’s “slice” keys, you can edit the slice order, remove slices, change velocities, alter timing, and so on for extreme amounts of customization. However, also note that you can do a lot of slice customization within Intakt, like alter volume, pan, tuning, etc. for each slice.

Native construction kit tempos range from 68 to 148 BPM, although it all time-stretches so each kit actually works over a pretty wide range. At lower tempos, get some guy with a shaved head and angst to scream some vocals, and you’ll have a hit. Move up a bit, and you could score the first Matrix movie. The higher tempo kits aren’t exactly dance-oriented; they’re more for scoring chase scenes in the X-Files, or general suspense scenes in an action movie. All the sounds drip with atmosphere — in many ways, they’re downright visual.

Overall, this is great stuff within the sound track/industrial/technoid genre. I give it a major thumbs up...and not just because it threatened to kill my dog if I didn’t.