Cinematic Hip Hop

Contact: PowerFX, powerfx.comFormat: 1 CD-ROM, 16 bit/44.1kHz acidized WAV filesPrice: $49

Take the title at face value: It’s not necessarily minimalist hip-hop, but tough hip-hop beats often coupled with a grand, almost cinematic vibe. Many grooves are highly evocative, and more emotional than mechanical.

The bulk of the CD is 425MB of construction kits, with 34 folders and 307 files; tempos range from 70 to 110BPM. Another 245MB of “Elements and Extras” includes 24 bass loops, 76 drum loops, 26 FX/misc. loops, and 41 files of keys, synths, and mallets.

Compared to most hip-hop libraries, it’s heavy on the synth/pads/FX parts — a typical construction kit has as many melodic loops as drums/bass loops. The melodic loops are longer as well, so they don’t wear out their welcome; furthermore, several bass and drum variations are available per kit, so you’re not locked into one groove.

Mix and match options are pretty good. About 2/3 of the construction kits keys are in the range of B to E (about half of these are in D), so you needn’t stretch pitch too far. Rhythm is another matter; the acidization quality is variable, so most drum parts won’t stretch too far downward without noticeable flamming.

Overall, though, this CD is a unique and cost-effective offering. Sometimes brooding, sometimes sweet, Cinematic Hip Hop has a higher than average “emotional dynamic range.”