Titanium Drums 2 from Big Fish Audio features sounds generated in abandoned warehouses, noisy factories and junkyards, using whatever metallic objects are at hand. The results range from loud harsh metallic noises to subtle groans and eerie squeaks. The industrial loops and atmospheres created by Jason Jones include more than five-hundred distortion loops, rhythmic FX, forty soundscapes and “events” of various lengths.
If inducing nightmares is what your music is all about, Titanium Rhythms 2 will be a dream come true. It`s a monster. Like the first volume (which we reviewed back in Aug. `98), TR2 is a feast of machine noise. “The industrial scrapyard at its finest,” Greg Rule commented. “I love these loops.” Most of the disc is devoted to rhythmic loops, but you?ll also get upwards of 150 one-shot events, in case you want to roll your own.
The loops are in 4/4, but they don`t include any kick, snare, hats, or other conventional percussion. It`s up to you to add these elements. What TR2 gives you are pulsing, grinding, shuddering noise beds that are tempo-matched to lock in with drum patterns. The CD is well organized by tempo, with sections at 80, 90, 100, 110, and so on. At the lower tempos you get 60 different loops per section; at faster tempos (up to 150) only 40 loops are provided, and at really fast tempos (160 through 180) there are only 20 loops per section.
All of the loops are one bar in length. In the slower-tempo sections, this bar plays twice, but in the mid-tempo sections one bar plays three times with no variations. The repetition is a waste of disc space, but I`m getting bored by my own complaints about this common practice, and will shortly desist. Other than by tempo, there?s no detectable organization in TR2 ? no sets of similar loops to aid in building an arrangement. The optimum compositional method appears to be: Find one you like and loop it for five minutes or so.
The original TR disc had numerous loops in “dual mono” format, meaning everything in the stereo sample was panned either hard left or hard right. While the left and right channels were coordinated to work well together musically, you could sample just one side in mono, thereby increasing the sheer number of samples on the disc. This scheme is not used in any overt way on TR2; all of the loops are stereo. But in fact many of them have the prominent elements panned hard left or hard right, with nothing in the center but ambience.
Some of the noises are vaguely identifiable as power drills, saws, or large pieces of metal being scraped or hit with hammers, but many are distorted beyond recognition. You wouldn`t think producer Jason Jones would have been able to find so many fresh sounds and combinations, but he really outdid himself. This stuff is intense, and every track has its share of goodies. “Layering any of the grinding machine loops with a breakbeat or drum program,” Greg said, “would drastically change the sonic landscape of your track. And the ?Rhythm FX? loops are excellent. Nothing run-of-the-mill about these weird percolating patterns.”
The one-shot samples are not just discrete hits: Many of them have some motion that implies a rhythm or tempo. It`s up to you whether to scissor them apart to make a drum kit or find a musical way to use the full-length versions. They`re organized into frequency range (low, mid, high, mixed).
The disc concludes with 40 “soundscapes.” These are up to several seconds in length. Some are low rumbles or sustained metallic washes. Others are more convoluted, but they?re not primarily rhythmic in nature. Since I sometimes write in meters other than 4/4, this was my favorite part of the CD. But the loops are exciting enough that I`m tempted to write a couple of industrial rock songs, just for the sheer hell of it.