After many years, Poke in the Ear is finally released in audio CD format. This first
offering is a compilation
from the original Pokes Volumes I and II. You will find tons of huge Metallic
Percussion, crushing Machine loops, dark and disturbing Ambient Textures,
long and evolving Complex Hits, unearthly Vocal Wails, rhythmic Noise Loops
and Alien FX. There is over an hour of all the favorites in Hyper-Stereo,
newly enhanced through cutting edge EQ and compression technology.
"These guys sound dangerous" (Keyboard 6/96).
Sound On Sound Magazine UK, February 1997 Awarded 4 out of 5 Stars By Wilf Smarties
"At last -- someone has realised that if you're going to have a digital max tone on a sample CD it should be at the beginning!
First we're treated to a large selection of metal sounds: hits, rolls and swells. Names like 'Alien Environments', 'Cyberpunk' and 'Kaos' don't tell you much. Think instead of oil tanks and saucepans being variously banged, scraped, stroked and dropped down lift shafts, cars being crushed, and so on. Samples are good, and sonic content evolves incrementally. After a while more variety creeps in. Effects are variously synth-generated and found/transformed; the vibe is dirty and hard while retaining fidelity. Dirty and clean? I'm sorry if you find it difficult to hold two opposing views simultaneously -- that's just how it sounds to me.
There are drones, chain runs, ethnic tones and atmospheres, spacey textures, a water section encompassing drip and drain, and a minute traffic noise bleed. There are big stereo bongs, metal swishes and bangs which could emanate from a plate, gong or oil drum. One sample has a reversed tail which stops abruptly. Synth and other effects are hard and dramatic. I heard electrical arcs and shorts, machine grinds, transformed vox and industrial textures and hits with digital feedback. I particularly liked the ball spinning in a bowl. There are samples of dry thunder, glass, eerie discordant tones and drones, piercing digital buzzes and feedback. However, wherever you drop into this CD, you're never too far away from it's stock-in-trade metal noises.
Samples are generally mixed up, but occasionally strictly grouped, with the 'Percussive' section being more coherent than most. Then again, it's also less interesting, comprising single hits, including (yep) metal implements, along with pretty standard drums. There are loops too, but not yer standard drums: instead, they're well-produced and cutting ethno-electro percussion and effects. Last up come ethnic wails, followed by 'Oakland Jail Ambience'. One of our sound designers goes to jail?
This mixture of metal and out-of-control noises represents a narrow but useful repertoire. Applications? Well, the atmospheres are not really long enough for film use without looping. On the other hand, the sheer drama of many of the hits and tones would lend a helping hand to many a TV commercial and particularly, perhaps, the increasingly sonically-demanding computer games market. And I'll be dipping into this collection regularly for remix excitement. Nice one."