Are you tired of monotonous four-banger beats? Do you need a break from boring breakbeats? Is your rhythm method stuck in a rut? If you are desperately seeking new rhythmic inspiration, Nu Groove RNB (two CDs, audio/WAV, $99.95) may be exactly what you need to get your groove back.
Nu Groove RNB is about beats and nothing but beats — no bass lines, keyboard comps, vocal licks, synth pads, or horn riffs are anywhere to be found in this collection except in the brief introductory demo tune. The 73-minute CD offers 79 stereo loops (50 to 111 bpm) with 2 to 16 variations each, 424 individual hits, and 108 tools for adding variations to loops or creating your own custom combinations. As raw and dry as a bag of uncooked rice, the expertly recorded loops and sounds (edited by Erik Svahn and Jan Lutgebaucks, better known as Yoshitoshi recording artists YMC) are perfect for spicing up with your own effects processing and EQ touches.
The sounds consist of a nice variety of natural acoustic drums and tight, punchy electronic-drum-machine and sampled tones. Hard-hitting but tastefully understated, the drum performances form a great foundation for building lush multitrack arrangements and leave plenty of sonic space for other instruments and vocal tracks. The loops will put a track into motion instead of dominating it, as a good drumbeat should.
With titles such as Timba, LilKim, Missy, Dru, and Jojo, the loops on Nu Groove RNB don't exactly hide the programmer's inspirations. In fact, several sound like direct imitations of certain R&B hits. But even if you don't plan on becoming the next R. Kelly, Destiny's Child, or Alicia Keys, the collection still offers plenty of ideas for anyone interested in smoov beats with a fresh flava. Although the tempos are generally too slow for most modern dance music, the loops sound great after they've been chopped up, ReCycled, or time-stretched to much faster speeds. Garage, deep-house, and two-step enthusiasts will find a lot of cool new grooves to experiment with.
Don't let the fact that eLab is based in Sweden put you off — the beats sound as though they came from the hottest studios in Brooklyn, Philly, Atlanta, or Chicago. Producer Tobbe Lindell may not be as well known as Timbaland, but the guy definitely knows how to bump and bang like the best R&B beat makers. Put Nu Groove RNB to work for you, and you may find yourself pumpin' out some fine and funky joints of your own.