Zero G ‘Koncept and Funktion’

MC Rebbe the Rapping Rabbi reviews Zero G Koncept and Funktion in The Technofile

Back in the day, when Zero G were just starting out, I used to review their products regularly in my column in Mixmag…which obviously explains how they got to be so successful…well, that and the fact that they have consistently delivered the goods, at the right price…and the fact that I used to review their products regularly in Mixmag…

Since those halcyon (and Houseian) days, they have become the world’s most prolific producers and distributors of beats, break, scratches and pretty much every other sound imaginable. They have also branched out into virtual instruments, which is what ‘Koncept and Funktion’ is…sort of…

By sort of I mean that although Koncept and Funktion can  broadly be described as a Drum ‘n’ Bass virtual instrument, it is actually a co-branded version of Native Instruments’ recently discontinued ‘Intakt’ sample player, filled to the brim with Drum ‘n’ Bass sounds from Zero G…in other words…K ‘n’ C is a D’n’ B VI from NI and ZG…and if you didn’t understand that the MP will make you KP on the QT…

If you’re not familiar with Intakt, it’s built around the engine that drives NI’s mega sampler, ‘Kontakt’. Specifically designed for rhythmic loop playback and manipulation, it offers three modes, ‘sampler’, ‘beat machine’ and time machine’.

‘Sampler’, as you might expect, works like an ordinary sampler, where changes in pitch affect time/tempo.

‘Beat Machine’ slices loops into individual hits (in the case of drum loops, into individual drums). Each hit can have its parameters (which include pitch, playback direction, pitch envelope, amp envelope, distortion and  delay), manipulated independently of each other.

Time Machine is a blue police box in which Dr. Who travels granular synthesizer that allows you to change tempo whilst preserving pitch in the same manner as Acid and Live.

You can freely switch between these modes using the buttons which appear in the same single window as all other controls, making it easy to see where your filters, LFOs, FX, pitch and ADSR envelopes, etc.,  are at and to, equally easily, tweak them.

K ‘n’ F has four main categories of sounds. ‘Sampler’, ‘Beat Machine’, ‘Loop Machine’ (each of which are optimized for the corresponding mode) and ‘Construction Kits’…which are construction kits.

With over 1.2 GB of material on offer, the sounds run the gamut, including drum Loops, drum kits, bass loops, organ loops, synth loops, vocals, pad loops and  numerous FX (industrial,  atmospheric, noise, dark, loop, vocal and sweep…but not sooty).

The sounds are absolutely spot on, providing you with a humungous palette of up to D minute D ‘n’ B sounds…something  aptly illustrated with a whole subsection of liquid funk loops. What’s more,
all of the Beat Machine loops come pre sliced, so in addition to being able to use a loop as is, you can also use its component parts to create new loops with a sequencer.

This works superbly well with the drum loops, but can be highly frustrating with the tonal ‘Groove Loops’, because they may contain only two or three tones, so if you want to play them chromatically…you’re stuffed (unless you want to get into some serious reprogramming). This is doubly frustrating because the sounds used in the Groove Loops are so damn good (the acoustic bass samples are possibly the best I’ve heard).

Having said that, the Time Machine section does offer lots of excellent tonal groove loops that can be played across the full range of the keyboard, but, once again, if you want to use them as sound patches, rather than loops, you’ll probably need to do some editing.

It’s a real shame that the Sampler section doesn’t contain all of the individual sounds used to create the loops in the Beat & Time Machines.

My one major complaint is the patch management system, which is a small, fiddly pull down menu with various sub menus. While this may be OK if you know exactly what you are looking for…by name, it is a bit of a nightmare if you want to audition/compare lots of items. Even the addition of simple patch up and down buttons would be a huge improvement. Nevertheless, whether you are a veteran or a complete newbie, Koncept and Funktion gives you everything you need for cutting edge drum ‘n’ Bass production.

MC rebbe awards Zero G Koncept and Funktion 4.5 bagels in The Technofile

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