When the British electronica band Komputer released The World of Tomorrow (Mute, 1997), they had never heard of Propellerhead's virtual studio software Reason. It did not exist. Skip ahead to 2002, and you see Reason sales booming, a growing catalog of sample CDs (called ReFills in Reason's case) and a number of artists distributing their old sound libraries for present consumption and future remixes. Although Komputer members David Barker, Simon Leonard and Jane Brereton may have never imagined themselves producing sample CDs or Reason ReFills, Komputer Inside displays their passion for analog-based electronica, computerized vocal effects and the ever-classic Kraftwerkian sonic treatment.
Each of the sounds on Komputer Inside is built from synths, by true analog synth enthusiasts, for your synthetic-composing pleasure. Many of the sequences are built from arpeggiated synth noises, grinding filter sweeps and analog squelch rather than from traditional acoustic drums, keys or guitars. There are 83 loops ready to use in Reason's Dr. Rex file format and are organized into folders with titles like 35 Drum Loop 140 & 135 bpm. (The “35” corresponds to the CD literature, which, here, tells you that this folder is full of synth drum patterns.) There are 33 of these synth-heavy Loops Sequences and Sweeps subfolders (labeled 2 through 34). Each contains two to six loops. In addition, the CD has nine Synth Drum Pattern subgroups and (my favorite) a group of about 30 Synth Sequences. The sample and loop titles, like “KI-4408,” are a bit vague, but they make it easy to find variations on the same group of sounds (“KI-4408,” “KI-4409” and so on).
The overall tonality of the loops can be biting, even grating, though I am sure that is entirely the point. And, as heard in the plethora of NN19 sampler files, you may have to work overtime to make the loops feel right in your project. They are finely spliced and carefully crafted, but the obnoxious factor can be a bit much. Perhaps more enjoyable are the 20 Subtractor patches with six gritty synth basses, four blips patches, five sassy leads and five less-than-smooth pads. The seven drum kits are classic yet progressive, providing some well-crafted clicks and noises. The sounds range from filtered electronic lasers to digital noise and static.
Some of the best things about these ReFills are the “song starters.” The five included in Komputer Inside range from Banging Techno to corny Synth Pop. They are a good opportunity to learn new techniques for working in Reason, and they give producers a foothold in any given style. Because of the way ReFill files are compressed and some samples get duplicated, the 150MB file contains more than 500 WAV files. The beauty of Reason is that the real fun is in the rework not the ReFill.