Rhythmicronics: Processed Percussion

Contact: Sony, www.sony.com/ mediasoftwareFormat: CD-ROM with 16-bit/44.1kHz Acidized WAV filesPrice: $39.95

Think “percussion-collides-with-Native-Instruments’-Reaktor-in-a-studio-with-lots-of-signal-processors,” and you get the idea. Or, think of Rhythmicronics as “percussion-meets-sound-design,” as these are highly crafted and nuanced loops.

There are 15 folders with 262 loops (461MB total) that have surprisingly descriptive names: Ethnotronic, Elektro, Glitched, Minimalism, Darkwave, etc. You’ll also find 3.5MB of one-shots, and 11.6MB of promotional loops from other Sony libraries.

The audio example at www.eqmag.com gives a good idea of the CD’s flavor, but what’s not obvious is that the example was thrown together in about 30 minutes. As one DJ said to me, “Choose good loops, because then no matter what happens, you can only fall so far.” These loops are sufficiently interesting that you can just sort of toss them together, and they land on their feet.

I wouldn’t choose Rhythmicronics as a complement to primarily acoustic music unless it had an experimental or world flavor. But these loops can add that same experimental flair to dance, hip-hop, and other more electronic genres by imparting variety, interest, and complexity to what might otherwise be static-sounding grooves.

It’s also worth noting that these are loops with “personalities.” For most music, they’re probably best used sparingly as ear candy. But because they are so carefully crafted and internally consistent, they can even slide into very sparse arrangements.

In any event, one thing’s for sure: This one gets copied over to my hard drive, because I’ll be using it a lot in the future.