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Advanced Media Trax

Sample CD Buyer's Guide By Dave Stewart
Published January 2000

Rating: ***** 5/6 Stars

Overall Comments: A 5‑CD set designed to make the composer's job easy, partly by providing the music pre‑written! You have to buy AMT as a package, but here we'll look at just one of the set, Classic Composer (the other 4 CDs, Modern Composer, Living Sounds, Building Blocks and Media Tracks contain some fine non‑orchestral material).

Classic Composer combines a large number of orchestral lines, phrases and 'moods' (ie. musical clichés of the cinematic variety) with multisampled instruments courtesy of the ubiquitous Peter Siedlaczek (although I can't find his name anywhere in the publicity, this disc includes many instrument multisamples from his Advanced Orchestra, plus more from his earlier Orchestra and Classical Choir discs). On the CD‑ROM, 'construction kits' combine a bunch of well‑chosen instruments mapped at the upper end of the keyboard with orchestral phrases laid out at the low end. The player can then activate a 'mood' with one finger while adding a trumpet trill, orchestral percussion, double bass tremolandos, French horn glissandi (and so on...) with another digit. 'Interactive', it might have been called three years ago.

Overall, this set is excellent value for money. From an educational standpoint, there might be some mileage in listening to these short, simple orchestral pieces and figuring out how the instrumentation was done. A more cynical view is that you're just buying a bunch of short 'library music'‑style pieces without the obligation to pay copyright fees. The only danger is that in trying too hard to provide inspiration, the disc robs the player of initiative by doing all the creative work beforehand.

Standouts: The construction kits are put together in a very musical way, and their instrument combinations might well spark the imagination.

Contact: Time & Space.

£ Mixed‑mode Akai CD‑ROM/Audio CD (5 CD set) £149; WAV CD‑ROM £59.95.