Although the title suggests a collection of sounds taken from the Large Hadron Collider, Electron Smasher is, in fact, a set of heavily processed loops from Big Fish Audio. Let's crunch the numbers first. There are 717 24‑bit loops (2.1GB reproduced in the usual formats) with tempos ranging from a subdued 67bpm to a sprightly 180bpm.
The loops are well organised, with all the content being arranged into three folders: Ambient Kits, Grooving Kits and Xtra Loops. The 47 Ambient Kits cover slightly less percussive ground than the Grooving Kits (although this is not always the case), providing a wide range of textural, atmospheric and just plain odd loops. Panning, filtering, reverse effects, modulation, distortion, delay, lots of ring modulation and pretty much the whole processing kitchen sink is thrown at these poor loops; on the whole, to good effect. Several of the kits use heavily processed hand percussion such as kalimba, conga or bells, and the majority of the loops are, perhaps, harder‑sounding than the Ambient label may suggest. There are, however, some softer, more lush moments as well.
The 84 Grooving Kits contain many more up-front, processed drum loops, whose styles range from slower hip‑hop through to frenetic drum and bass, with the majority settling into a mid‑tempo breakbeat style. Once again, these feature the full raft of effect mangling (including stretching, re‑triggering and glitching) and — although some are too full-on in the 'full mix' version — once broken down into the composite loops, there are tons of great‑sounding rhythmic beds to layer behind programmed beats. The Xtra Loops folder contains just that: 20 shorter effects loops, which didn't make it into the longer loops sections.
Putting on my critical hat for a moment, I do find myself asking the question "Is there really anything here that couldn't be achieved with some solid source material and a good set of effect plug‑ins?” Not really. In fact, I'm pretty confident I can pinpoint some of the plug‑ins and processes used. But maybe that's beside the point. These types of processed loops take time, care and an eye for detail to construct and the examples contained in this collection are, for the most part, rather good. Whether as inspiration for new ideas, an atmospheric bed to build upon or just some extra looped strangeness to add to a track, Electron Smasher is a worthy addition for anyone wanting to extend their percussive range. Oli Bell
£73.51 Including VAT.
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Big Fish Audio + 1 800 717 3474.