With angry guitars and head-hammering tribal rhythms, Skinny Puppy might have provided your high school smoking soundtrack. Recently, however, Ammeris Gill, who has collaborated with Dwayne Goettel and Ogre of Skinny Puppy, has brewed up a personalized batch of beats, scratches and synth noises, now available through Soundengine.com.
Turntable Arts (CD-ROM; $49.95) boasts a little more than 300 MB of sounds, split up among 650 samples, all in standard WAV format. The result of that ratio is a whole lot of short squelches, squibs and squeaks, which are begging to be recombined into industrial hip-hop, minimal tech-house or moody techno. The turntable referred to in the CD's title is represented in a two-folder set: Scratch It and Scratch It II, containing 232 logically labeled scratch variations. These are not X-ecutioners-style burn-offs, but rather quick bits intended for DJ embellishments, turntable effects and quick needle drops. Most of the scratch samples sound authentic, if a little boring. Producers in need of a quick transform or stock vinyl scratch may have to hunt but will ultimately find more than they can use.
Other folders are Vocoder and Vox; Snips and Squibs; Snips and Squibs II; Fills and Spills; and, finally, Fills and Spills II. Each of these groups contains some real gems. One technical note: All of the samples were recorded at 16-bit, 44.1kHz audio.
Standout bits such as “JungleJane” and “PlasmaMad” will curl your hair with high-frequency, digital-sounding computer bleep grooves, whereas “TekWaver_C1” and “SwellIt_C2” give you pitched analog samples that sound good and large mapped across your keyboard. If you're looking for longer vibes à la movie-soundtrack pads, try “VocAscar_C” or “JupitersMoons” in the Snips and Squibs folders.
If I had to find fault, it would be that nearly all of the samples are extremely short. Instead of exploring any one sound for too long, Gill decided to move around his studio full of synths, samplers, effects units and certainly vinyl. If you are a producer who likes to build kits or drop in quick sound-effect-style noise for spice, Turntable Arts will not disappoint.
It is wonderful to see industrial artists like Gill garnishing the world's sample pool with some of the exact same thrills that Skinny Puppy gave my adolescence.