18 June 2010

Percussive Adventures
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The collection is broken up into 5 main areas - Chase/ Sneak/ Tension/ Mystery & Suspense, Ethnic, Military & Special Ops, Comedy & Cartoons & Individual Elements.

Both Audio CD's and the CD-ROMS follow the same structure so should make it easy to locate what your looking for. Each track is given over to a lengthy percussive performance, that evolves through its duration, so not just a 2 bar pattern repeated 4 times. On the second CD these separate elements are given individually so you can sample or use either the whole performance or just parts of it. Very useful.

The sounds themselves are certainly not your regular drum loops at all, being aimed mainly at film score/soundtrack type work, they are much more free form in construction. There is hardly what you'd describe as a regular beat in the whole collection, instead the producers have aimed at producing a certain type of mood or scene with each performance. Although in the main this is achieved through the use of acoustic hand percussive elements there are some synthetic percussive and ambient sounds used to add depth and atmosphere to the sounds. This is most obvious on the "Suspense/Mystery" type sounds, one or two of which are actually very light on any actual straight percussion.

The variety of instruments certainly has a "world/ethnic" flavour in places with a variety of shakers, rattles, gongs, bongos, cymbals, wood blocks, clickers alongside more traditional toms and bass drums. No particular style dominates so you get a mix of Asian, African and Latin type flavours throughout the collection, more so of course in the specific "Ethnic" collection of tracks.

Most of the loops do run to a 4/4 time, though in no way actually sound like it, so would certainly fit in with a regular type track if you don't favour the freeform approach. Probably about 10% of the collection is totally freeform though without any recognisable BPM being able to be given. A nice touch is that the loops all end without being cut off, so there is a fill type effect, reverb tail or whatever to give a "finished" feeling.

Each individual performance is given a name that relates to the sort of film that it might appear in, Mission Impossible, The Firm, Stargate and the like with a brief description of the loop and the sort of style that its in for example with Mission Impossible it's "Sneak/Tension - powerful dark & hypnotic rhythmic performance". This sort of approach means you can go straight for what your looking for without having to listen to sounds that no matter how they good they are don't match the style your looking for.

Chase/Sneak/Tension/Mystery & Suspense - Tracks 2-65 - The bulk of the collection is given over to this section and immediately I was impressed by the classy sounds and performances that continue throughout the whole collection. Definitely the moods indicated are given over in a variety of ways, as you would expect the "Chase" type ones are up tempo while the Mystery/Suspense type ones have assorted eerie drones and a slower more mysterious feel to them.

The sounds are powerful when needed and a have a great depth and complexity in other places. The whole production oozes quality, there isn't a rough edge to be heard anywhere. There is perhaps a smooth "Finalizer" type feel to the whole collection. Certainly a "Hollywood" type of sound, might not quite be to everyone's taste if your looking to incorporate some elements into say a dance track, may need a little EQ and distortion to add some bite in. Though for its intended market I'm sure the whole collection could be used straight as it is.

Ethnic - Tracks 66-81 - Whilst the above section contains some ethnic elements these sounds are more obviously "World" like, ranging from the Middle-East to Japan there are only a few per area, bit like a round the world in 15 tracks sort of adventure ! Whilst certainly not as "authentic" sounding or diverse as a specialist CD there are still the usual high quality grooves here, which may be perfect for what you need to add a certain flavour to your track.

Military & Special Ops - Tracks 82-89 - Regular military type drumming mixed in with the odd Reggae and Jazz track... not much to add to what has already been said - usual excellence !

Comedy - Tracks 90-96 - Until you think about this sort of thing could be incredibly hard to come up with. If someone says "produce me a 30 second track in a comedy style", would you know where to start !, if you have this CD your already halfway there anyway, half a dozen tracks that could easily fit into a cartoon or comedy type situation.

Accents, Echo Trails, Hi Hat/Shaker & Click track references - On the end of both CD's there are a few odd tracks of individual hits and riffs that you may find of some use, though again, nowhere near as comprehensive as specialist collections.

Summary & Overall...

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