Unlike the original Hadeeth collection that combined a drum kit with Arabic percussion, this collection (also produced by Ara Antranik) is a pure hand percussion affair. You get 66 construction kits, each containing a full mix plus three to eight individual instrument loops including the duff, mazhar, rak, tabla, sakat, tar, and duhollah (all percussive instruments) played by Haythm Blat. About two dozen different regional and traditional styles are represented, sometimes played at different tempi (ranging from 80 to 180 bpm) or with variations on the same theme.
The AIFF version of the loops weighs in at over 800 Meg; there are also folders of hits for each of the instruments. The collection is well recorded at 24-bit depth and 44.1kHz, although a few of the samples did have a touch of silence at the end that caused a skip when used out of the box in a program such as Ableton Live. Most of the loops are 4 bars long, which is good. Some of the styles break out of the standard 4/4 time signature (yay), but unfortunately this is not documented anywhere (boo), leaving the user to do some sleuthing plus manual barline manipulation in programs such as Live.
Speaking of documentation, although personally I’m more into hybrids than history, as Arabic music is steeped in tradition it would be nice to read some background on the individual styles and their origins. On the plus side, Big Fish has expanded the accompanying PDF docs to explain how to load the AIFF samples into Apple Loop programs such as Garage Band, Soundtrack, and Logic; they have also provided converters for the popular Stylus RMX virtual instrument.
All complaints aside, I still found this to be a highly useful collection – especially at the price ($49.95 list). The recording and performances are both good and a lot of variety is offered, making this one the best Arabic loop collections I have come across. Click here 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.)
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