This bargain-priced collection (list price: $49.95) from producer Mike Kumagai delivers an edgy take on hip-hop: The drums are lo-fi and slammin' with an in-your-face filtered and gated kick; the synth basses are alternately reedy or squelchy; the keys, clavs, and strings are often shrill and urgent. The songwriting triggers thoughts of mutant funk with a pseudo-ethnic overlay. In other words, you're not going to fall asleep listening to these tracks.
The loops are organized into 22 construction kits plus an additional folder of drum loops and hits. The kits range from 76 to 106 bpm, all in moody minor keys. Each kit comes with 4 to 8 component loops (often 2 to 4 bars in length) consisting of bass and drums plus additional loops for synths and other melodic instruments, plus the occasional extra drum or percussion track. These are accompanied by a demo song and folder of 4 to 9 related hits. Although there aren't a lot of variations provided per kit, the similar nature of the songwriting and overall “sound” of this collection makes some mixing and matching possible.
Whether or not you like the songwriting and arrangements is a matter of personal taste. For a drum-oriented fool like me, a welcome bonus is the Canned Beatz folder. It contains 12 additional longer drum loops – typically 12 to 16 bars in length (which is a very good thing, as longer loops reduce repetition and keeps things interesting) that occasionally contain tonal elements such as tuned percussion or rhythm guitar, plus additional hits that match them. There are also folders that contain 73 additional standalone kicks, snares, and hats. The total size is 820 Meg for the AIFF or WAV versions (24 bit, 44.1 kHz); the REX2 version doesn't contain the single hits. Visit the web site for more information and a demo.
As noted earlier, I'm reviewing music construction kits that can be used with desktop audio software to create underscores and soundtracks for video and motion graphics. Click here to read a primer on creating music using “loops” and other audio snippets such as these.
(FTC Disclosure: All of the sound libraries I'll be reviewing were given to me by their vendors in the hope – but not expectation – that they would be reviewed. I have no other relationship with these companies.)