I've seen a lot of loop slicing in my time. Every week some broad'll walk into my office and throw down a leather folio filled with plans for the ultimate loop slicer. Sometimes they call them 'loop manglers' or 'sound recyclers'. Sometimes I'll even take a look at 'em, but usually Janice just files them under 'undownloaded'. Today was different though. I knew the moment I saw this girl come in that she wasn't just gonna take the usual 'Your husband's cheating, you need a shoulder to cry on, I know a nice motel - well, I heard that the tall one from Kraftwerk stayed there once' bullshit. She was different. She had cross-modulating LFOs and a nice dress, that for some reason reminded me of the interface of that heavy bruiser from that joint downtown. What was it called? Native Injin Massive? I stroked the bumps in my nose - happy memories. I put away my stoogie and had a look at what she had to offer.
Alright I can't sustain this very weak Mike Hammer nonsense for more than a few lines, but Twisted Tools have built an evil and intuitive loop slicer for Reaktor 5. You get six tracks, each one complete with 4 modulation tracks and 2 really spiffy LFOs. The LFOs are run through all six tracks, and while I thought this was a bit limiting at first, I now realise that having this limit is an integral part of the sound of this ensemble. As the LFOs can be cross-modulated with each other, even a mild twist of the phase knob of one of them can radically alter the sounds of the current pattern. In order to modulate one of each track's 11 parameters (which are Sample Select, Start Point, Length, Decay, Stretch, Grain, Pitch, Pitch Envelope, Pitch Decay, Pan & Amp) you simply drag the parameter label up or down until it turns the same colour as the selected modulator. Then a right-click and drag on the parameter dial sets the modulation amount.
This is a well-made ensemble. The presets show just how vast the range of sounds it can produce really are. And unlike a lot of Reaktor ensembles out there, it's really really intuitive. It feels nice to use, and it is instantly gratifying. All the features of this thing can be found elsewhere, but probably not in the same ensemble, and definitely not with the sweet UI and attention to audio quality that this ensemble has. It is a little CPU heavy - 20% on my 2Ghz dual core macbook, but it does produce nasty nasty business - the pitch shifting and time stretching seems to be particularly well implemented. And it's only $30! I'll post up an example of it in action soon, but there are a couple of videos over at the twistedtools site.
EDIT: now with smapples