Following the success of Xtreme House Volume 1, Tekniks present the long awaited sequel. Producer John Mercer has created another CD of high quality Beats, Filtered loops, Pulsating basses and funky synth grooves. No construction kits are included on this CD, you will just get the purest house loops possible. On CD2 you will find all the loops of CD1 in .wav format including bonus material and separate drum sounds. If that wasn’t enough you’ll also find EXS24, REDRUM and Battery settings so all you have to do is load and start creating your own beats. Why take your music to the edge when you can take it to the Xtreme! This one gets a major nod!
“The CD-ROM supplied contains not only almost 800MB of house samples in compressed archives, but also Battery, EXS24, and Reason Redrum sampler profiles. This is accompanied by an Audio CD of all the loops, excluding a folder of single drum hits.
In the Beats folder, you get many solid electronic ‘four to the floor’ clichés, interspersed with some more imaginative programming and a number of nice meaty breakbeat grooves. Layers of electronic and ethnic percussion weave in and out, adding lots of internal dynamics, and effects are used both creatively and tastefully. Overall there’s a lot of variety, albeit within the 117-140bpm range, in a way which frequently reminded me of Basement Jaxx – a compliment as far as I’m concerned! If you’re after variations on any of the patterns here, though, then you’ll have to get out Recycle, as you mostly get only one version of each loop.
The bass sounds are mostly synthetic, but cover a lot of ground. You’ve got woody square waves, muffled subbass monsters, and many a restless filter. Effects again make their presence felt and, although a little mad at times, mostly remain within the bounds of usability. Some nice step-sequencer-style patterns and reverse envelopes are scattered around too, which always add a bit of extra rhythmic interest. In addition to the synth lines, there are some nicely chosen bass-guitars, many heavily reminiscent of 70s funk records, and all of these have some nice driving rhythm or unusual corner which demands attention. Again, you’ll have to get editing to make your own lines up, but with the synths this is likely to present few problems in practice.
Things begin to get more esoteric in the Synths & Keys folder. Dreamy, wistful, and euphoric washes and arpeggiations nestle adjacent to lively piano, rhodes, hammond, and clav rhythms. Staccato synth motifs trigger triplet delays, and thick ensembles fill out the texture around the occasional spiky lead line or crispy-fried sample. There seemed to be little to distinguish the Filtered folder from Synths & Keys, except that the former has the odd guitar and beat loop, and the processing is perhaps a bit more severe. Finally there is the small single hits folder, which supplies a handful of kicks, snares, hats, percussion and one-shot effects.
What I most like about this library is that the loops seem to have real depth, by which I mean that you get more out of them the more you listen. What seems like a straightforward organ arpeggiation might reveal a couple of interesting background clunks which make it much more punchy and characterful, for example; or some editing artifacts give a simple piano riff a pleasingly drunken stagger; or a low-level crunchy delay adds a sprinkle of syncopation which drives the groove forward. This kind of inner sonic detail makes Xtreme House 2 really inspiring to delve into, and it not only means that you need fewer samples to carry a track, but also that each one continues to twist your ear beyond the first few repetitions. I’d have liked more informative documentation and better subdivision of the Synth & Keys and Filtered samples, but the extra software-sampler settings just tilt the balance back into the five-star category.” Mike Senior