MINIREVIEW: DISCOVERY FIRM 8 BIT FAMILY II, SAMPLE CD

Author:
Publish date:

This one's just too much fun! Discovery Firm of Japan made a splash a few years ago with this series composed of squawky lo-fi sounds inspired by game consoles of the late '70s and early '80s. (C-64 SID chips anyone?) This second CD-ROM supplies even more vintage tones, loops, multisamples and sound effects as Acidized WAV and REX2 files—more than 530 MB of 16-bit/44.1 kHz material. Some classic one-shot samples are made to appear as though they're lifted directly from favorite game cartridges, but the real prize is the disc's original music content, which is prepared in a highly flexible cross-referenced construction-kit style. Most of the 55 kits enable users to produce complete compositions via a combination of drum (50 files), bass (45 files), synth (114 files) and a few vocal loops. These are quickly and flexibly accessible via an indexed table on disc, as well as some helpful Battery, Kontakt and Reason RNS (3.0.4) programs, although they surprisingly don't address EXS24 or HALion users directly. A wide variety of styles and tempos abound, uniformly great for IDM, glitch, tricky hip-hop and adventurous electro-pop. There are some really cool French or Italo dance-sounding techno sequences and stiff beats along the lines of Benassi Brothers, Daft Punk and Mr. Oizo. I loved the mid- and down-tempo grooves (supplied as full mixes for auditioning) that served as wonderfully refreshing backdrops to a loungy house track with modern keys and drum beats on top. Geek-rock minimalists should also dig the synth loops that, with just the right drenching of reverb and harmonic destruction, can sound ominous and cool as "broken" background material one might expect from Coldplay, BellX1, Radiohead or Sigur Ros.

For more information, visit www.discoverysound.com.