Sounds: August 2009
BIG FISH AUDIO: FUNKY HOUSE GROOVES 2
You don’t have to be gay to like house
music—those slippery, elastic grooves
are designed to put a smile on your
face. This library isn’t about construction
kits, but a collection of grooves
(drums, bass, brass, stabs, guitar, keys,
percussion, etc.) as well as one-shots,
all designed to stand on their own or complement the
original Funky House Grooves library. Loops have folders
for 125, 127, and 130 BPM, with different content in each;
file names give the keys.
Overall, the quality and musical usefulness is top-notch.
A lot of the drum loops have an Afro or Latin vibe that
expands your options, and while the world doesn’t necessarily
need more one-shot drums, these are great for supplementing
the loops. The stabs and “filtered one-shots” are
imaginative, and can add a lot of variety.
REX/Apple Loop stretching is acceptable, but mixing and
matching is problematic, due to the wide variety of keys—
for example, I started off with a bass riff in A major, but
then had only two choices of guitar loops at the same key
and tempo. I wish companies in general would stick to a few
keys and their relative minors to minimize the need for
Still, the loops acquit themselves very well, and it’s way
easy to put together dance floor-ready music quickly—listen
to the audio example at www.eqmag.com
Contact: Big Fish Audio, www.bigfishaudio.com
Format: DVD-ROM + “audition” audio CD; about 800MB
(over 1,200 files) of unique 24-bit/44.1kHz WAV loop/oneshot
content, duplicated for Apple Loops/REX/Stylus RMX;
also EXS24/Halion/Kontakt/Reason NN-XT presets.
List price: $99.95
ZERO-G: INDIAN DANCE CLASSICS
Before you think this doesn’t apply to the
kind of music you do, think again: Exotic
percussion can add sonic spice to just about
any type of music, from ambient to techno.
And note that this library isn’t just about
Bhangra, probably the best-known Indian
dance music style; there are 15 categories
including folk, Goa, various names I can’t
pronounce, and a folder of vocal percussion. Tempos range
from 70 to 200BPM, with the file name indicating tempo.
The recording quality is very clean, and the
Acidization/Apple Loops/REX stretching is far above average—
it’s easy to mix files of different tempos. I’m less happy
with the organization, which groups by style instead of
tempo. If you want files from different styles with similar
tempos, you’ll need to dig through the folders.
With each style having a folder of Rhythms, another of
Variations on those rhythms, and a Freestyles folder with
additional variations—along with folders for intros, fill, and
ends—it’s possible to create flowing, realistic parts. (In fact,
many of these parts fit well over Western drum parts; listen
to the audio example at www.eqmag.com , which layers the
Indian loops over a rock beat from a different library.)
Bottom line: Next time you want to take your rhythm
track to another (and more exotic) level, this vibrant library
more than does the job.
Contact: EastWest, www.soundsonline.com
Format: DVD-ROM with 1.65GB (774 files) of unique 24-
bit/44.1kHz Acidized WAV loops, duplicated for Apple
Loops and REX/Stylus RMX; 24-bit/44.1kHz.
List price: $89.95
SONY: WHAT IT IS! ’70S ANALOG FUNK
We’re not talking jazz funk, metal funk, or
other funk derivatives: This is the greasy
funk that’s the love child of James Brown
and Tower of Power, recorded to an Otari
24-track (no kidding) analog tape
recorder, then bounced to digital—find out
more in the included booklet and excellent
documentation. While I’m no analog
purist, there is indeed a certain quality to many of the
loops that sounds suspiciously like hitting tape pretty
Fifteen construction kits draw from the usual suspects:
drums, bass, guitar, percussion, clav, organ, Rhodes, strings,
horns, pianos, strings, etc. Phrases are broken down into
short segments, typically one to four measures, making it
easy to add lots of variations within a single part.
It’s difficult to pick standout instruments, as the playing
is uniformly good. The only disappointments are the vocal
shouts, which don’t hold their own against the Godfather of
Soul—but then again, what does?
Sony’s done their usual fine job of Acidization, so the
mix and match aspects are excellent. As a result this set
isn’t just about construction kits, but also being a collection
of general-purpose loops.
I didn’t do any audio examples, because you can hear
plenty of them at www.sonycreativesoftware.com/whatitis
And a heads-up to whoever is shooting Undercover Brother
II: I’m ready to do the soundtrack.
Contact: Sony Creative Software, www.sonycreative
Format: Two CD-ROMs with 1.33GB (769 files) of Acidized
WAV files; 24-bit, 44.1kHz.
List price: $69.95