Sony Flammable

This CD provides 15 construction kits, each with an associated demo song (playable with the included Acid Xpress software for Windows); as the demos are royalty-free, you can use them in your own tunes — check out some of the excerpts to the right.
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Flammable: Club Joints & Street Anthems enters the land of beats, blunts, and bling, emphasizing short phrases with a big sound. Sometimes menacing, sometimes somber, and always intensely direct, the demo song titles hint at what to expect: “Hands Up,” “Razor Edge,” “Ruff Side” . . . you get the idea.

Interestingly, though, the production quality is pristine and sophisticated — there’s no lo-fi dirt here. This is seriously cool, because you can always screw things up, but you can’t clean up something that wasn’t clean initially. Far from wimping out the sound, this approach gives greater intensity, because there’s nothing between you and the tone. The kick isn’t that flabby thing that shakes car doors, but a huge sound that claims the low end as its own; and the occasional vocal phrases have the power that good production brings to the party. The only vinyl noise you’ll find is a sample of same, in case you want to add it.

The Acidization shows Sony’s usual expertise, making it easy to mix and match the loops (most of which live in the 90–100 bpm range). This is a specialized disc, but within its specified genre, delivers with precision and power.

Contact: Sony, www.sonycreativesoftware.com

Format: CD-ROM with 291 Acidized WAV files and 29 one-shot drum hits; 16-bit/44.1kHz
List Price: $39.95