When it comes to good drum breaks there is nothing like the real thing. This is especially true for jungle & drum and bass, and related genres. Many producers still use classic breaks samples, but there are also some great drummers around who deliver similar breaks with a fresh approach.
Chris Polglase aka the Jungle Drummer is one of those drummers. Over a period of ten years he has worked with a number of established acts including Coldcut, A Guy Called Gerald, DJ Craze, Scratch Perverts, and live drum and bass act London Elektricity.
With Jungle Drummer – Live Urban Drums Chris shares his experience and expertise, allowing you to incorporate that live drummer vibe into your own productions.
Jungle Drummer recorded the pack in several days using several kits and busted out all his favorite grooves which modern producers will find invaluable to add realism and dynamics to tracks which could benefit from a live feel.
While jungle and drum & bass breaks make up the larger part of the content, this sample library is not limited to these genres. Also included are dozens of breaks in dubstep and hip hop styles, broken beats, skippy breaks and even some house top loops.
Here’s the content breakdown:
- 1.16 GB, 24-bit audio quality.
- 301 jungle and dnb breaks.
- 59 dubstep breaks.
- 47 funk and broken breaks.
- 34 skippy breaks.
- 92 hip hop breaks.
- 34 house top loops.
- 132 drum hits + 12 patches for Kontakt, HALion, EXS24, NN-XT and sfz.
The samples are categorized in folders by style (as listed above) and the loops have the tempo indicated in the file name.
The first folder I checked was the dubstep one, which includes a selection of breaks in 135 and 140 bpm. And I must say these loops surprised me. Right from the first few samples there is quite a lot of processing in these sounds. Things like putting copious amounts of reverb on the first or second snare hit, use of gate effects, etc. There’s a wealth of creative rhythms in this section, and they sound perfect for the genre.
Next up are the funk and broken break beats. While I have no grief with the beats themselves I am not taken with the sound of the high pitched snare in many of the loops. Of course this is a matter of personal taste, and it’s actually not really the sound itself but in these beats – which sounds very tight, the snare may just have a bit too much emphasis for me. Or, I guess these breaks are just not my cup of tea all together because in the next section – garage and skippy breaks, there is a fair amount of loops with the same type of snare sound and it doesn’t bother me at all… Go figure.
Turning the tempo down a notch to 90 bpm for the hip hop beats we get a lovely laidback vibe that feels like it’s right in Chris’ comfort zone. Lots of funky head bobbing goodness and great variation in sounds and rhythms.
The house top loops are another interesting set of samples. The 4/4 content here is higher than in any other section of Live Urban Drums, but these are not your standard “house” top loops. Processed with equalizer and filter effects these will blend well with your existing beat or drum part. Good addition to the sample pack.
Now, not to knock the sample sections I just mentioned, but… where’s the beef? Well of course it’s in the jungle and d&b folder!
Over 300 amazing breaks in 8 folders: 3 pitched snares jungle, d&b breaks, dub one remix, jungle breaks, millitant jungle, rolling jungle, stepping jungle, and tribal jungle. Listening to these loops my head starts filling up with ideas for bass lines, stabs, pads, etc. The breaks are excellent for tunes in my favorite drum and bass genres, drumfunk and choppage. Inspirational, well performed, and ditto production.
Besides a total of 567 loops Live Urban Drums also includes 132 individual one shot drum samples, which I presume are from the same drum kits used in the recording of the loops. With these sounds you can create even more variations to the loops or program your own beats from scratch. The sampler patches include 8 preset drum kits.
Check the Live Urban Drums demo clip below to get an idea of what these breaks sound like in a mix.
So what do I think?
Format: 24-bit Wav/REX (Ableton, Apple Loops, ReFill also available)
Price: £34.95 GBP
Like: raw live drums vibe, great rhythms, single shot sounds
Don’t like: —
One of the things I particularly noticed with Live Urban Drums is the sound quality. The recordings actually don’t sound all that hi-fi, which at first may feel like something is wrong.
I couldn’t find any information on the recording process, equipment used, or vision behind the sample pack but I think it must have been a deliberate choice to record and process the samples to sound the way they do. Why? Because it produces that distinct vintage live touch that producers are often after when using breaks. I realized getting this sound right is in fact something I often struggle with when using “hi-fi” samples. It’s refreshing to see Live Urban Drums takes a different approach in this area.
In short this sample library offers an abundance of excellent drum loops and samples that should certainly appeal to drum and bass producers, and it may also be worth checking out if you produce music in other urban genres.