Sony Global Groove

Contact: Sony, www.sony.com/ mediasoftwareFormat: CD-ROM, Acidized WAV format, 44.1kHz/16-bit, 524 files (loops and one-shots)
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First things first: This is “global” only if your sense of the globe is focused on the Caribbean. Semantics aside, though, this CD steers clear of the trend toward a more Middle Eastern flavor in hip-hop, and instead appropriates the intoxicating sounds of zouk, soca, dance hall, reggaeton, and other genres of “island” music.

However, this isn’t necessarily the carefree music you hear while sipping a drink with an umbrella in it by the beach. The vibe is darker, harder-edged, and more minor — in other words, more hip-hop. The recording is stark too, laying down muscular beats and sparse, angular melodies.

There are 20 construction kits, plus a folder of promotional loops. While the emphasis is on percussion (with drum mixes, individual drum loops, and a folder of one-shots per kit), there are also melodic elements like guitar, synth, piano, and effects. As with other Sony libraries, the acidization is superb, so mixing and matching is a done deal. And although the promotion hits hard on hip-hop, a lot of these rhythms are valid accessories to just about anything where you want to add a slightly heavy Caribbean vibe.

At first, I was taken aback because this isn’t the kind of light, soaring island music I love (e.g., Kassav). But once I got past any preconceived notions, it became clear this CD offers a unique, equally valid take on Caribbean music — and has the ability to partner with other types of music as well. Check out the audio example at www.eqmag.com, and you’ll hear what I mean.