Review: Jungle Drummer – Live Urban Drums

Loopmasters Jungle Drummer - Live Urban Drums

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?

Product: Jungle Drummer – Live Urban Drums by Loopmasters
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: —
Verdict: 9/10

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.

More information: Loopmasters / Jungle Drummer – Live Urban Drums


Loopmasters releases Drum & Bass – Dubstep & Breakbeat sample pack

Loopmasters Drum & Bass - Dubstep & Breakbeat

Loopmasters has released Drum & Bass – Dubstep & Breakbeat, a collection of some of the best samples from existing Loopmasters Drum and Bass, Dubstep and Breakbeat sample collections.

From Dark and Dirty sounds, Cone Blowing Subs, Tearing Breaks and Cinematic Soundscapes, to evolving Musical Pads and Synths – Producers from the Darkside will love this collection of some of the best samples to come from Loopmasters in recent years in one handily priced package.

We have handpicked some of our best samples from collections including Aquasky, Bop, Broken Beats, Danny Bryd, Dark Matter, Deekline Wizard, Drumsound and Bassline Smith, Dubstep, Full Cycle, Hyper, KJ Sawka, Nick Thayer, Pure Dnb, Ray Keith, and DJ Untold.

Drum & Bass – Dubstep & Breakbeat features

  • Over 240 drum loops, 140 bass loops and 147 separate inspirational music loops.
  • 24-bit REX2 format; loops can easily be tweaked in music software such as Reason, Logic, Cubase, Ableton Live, Fruity Loops, Sonar and Stylus RMX.
  • 100% Royalty Free.

Drum & Bass – Dubstep & Breakbeat is available to purchase for £24.95 GBP.

More information: Loopmasters / Drum & Bass – Dubstep & Breakbeat


FXpansion releases Geist, next-generation sampling drum machine

FXpansion Geist

FXpansion has announced the release of Geist, a next-generation sampling drum machine, designed to create evolved, custom beats and grooves, freeing you from the limits of pre-packaged loops and over-complicated DAWs.

Geist fuses creative sample-sculpting tools with fast pattern step-sequencing and arrangement. Browse through sounds with lightning speed, slice and assign loops to pads with a single click; sample, resample and build beats in a slick unified environment. Geist makes fiddly tasks with multiple apps a thing of the past.

Geist runs as a plug-in and as a standalone application, perfect for laptop beatmaking. Export creations as audio clips or load sessions back into the plug-in to resample, reslice, remix, rearrange and transform your beats even further. Geist is a complete, integrated rhythm production sandbox for the studio, the tour bus or the stage!

Geist features

  • Sampling & resampling.
  • Dirac3™ time-stretch / pitch-shift.
  • Powerful full-featured slicing & hit detection.
  • 30+ effect types inc. DCAM circuit modeled filters / dynamics / drive & Overloud Breverb™.
  • Pattern sequencing.
  • Scene switching.
  • Integrated song mode.
  • Real-time record & retro capture.
  • Step-automation for parameters.
  • Intuitive and powerful browser.
  • Full MIDI and audio export.
  • Standalone / VST / AU / RTAS.
  • Exclusive sounds & presets from Armin van Buuren, D. Ramirez, Dom Kane, KJ Sawka, Goldbaby, Groove Criminals, Portion Control and more.

Geist is available to purchase as a download-only product, priced at £157 GBP / €189 EUR / $249 USD plus VAT where applicable. Registered FXpansion GURU customers can crossgrade for £79 GBP / €95 EUR / $125 USD plus VAT where applicable.

More information: FXpansion / Geist


Ableton Freebies: The Schwarzonator & KJ Sawka’s loop and sample packs


Ableton has released some free downloads.

The Schwarzonator is a Max for Live patch from Henrik Schwarz, Berlin’s own jazz/soul/electronica legend.

“The Schwarzonator is a note twister. It’s all about helping musicians (or non-musicians) find the right notes and chords in real time. It turns one finger playing into chords that fit together well. Choose from a list of Chord Sets in a drop down menu. Then all notes you play on your keyboard will fit into the selected Chord Set.”

The Schwarzonator also comes with a companion device, called ‘Little Brother,’ which applies chord changes from the Schwarzonator onto other tracks.

The Schwarzonator is free but you’ll need Max for Live for it to work.

Ableton has also released two free Live Packs by KJ Sawka, drummer extraordinaire.

The first Live Pack is called ‘Mad Beatz.’ Here’s a personal description from the artist:

“I’m KJ Sawka and I’m excited to introduce the ‘Mad Beatz’ drum n’ bass, dub step and breakbeat collection exclusively for Ableton Live, as a special holiday gift. I’m proud to be part of the world changing Ableton team!

‘Mad Beatz’ is mainly drum and beat-oriented stemming from a live acoustic drumming session recorded at the Art Institute in Seattle, Wa USA. There are also plenty of electronic drum loops, percussion, basslines and keyboard riffs.”

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s the second Live Pack. Here’s what KJ Sawka has to say about that:

“I’ve also included a song off my latest recording, ‘Undefined Connectivity,’ called ‘Void of Truth.’ An interesting take on drumfunk drum n’ bass with a twist of lime.”

Note: The KJ Sawka Live Packs require Live 8.1 or higher.

More information: Ableton / The Schwarzonator / KJ Sawka Live Packs


Mini-review: Loopmasters KJ Sawka: Live Drum & Bass Drums

Loopmasters KJ Sawka: Live Drum & Bass Drums

Ever heard of KJ Sawka? If not, you must go check out some of the YouTube videos of him playing drum & bass on a set of acoustic drums. This is one of the first videos I saw of Kevin doing his thing. Pretty slick eh?

With Loopmasters’ Live Drum & Bass Drums these kind of drum beats can now be part of your productions.

Hospital Records continue their Loopmasters sample pack series by bringing you Kevin Sawka’s goldmine of Jungle, Drum’n’Bass and Breakbeats utilizing no loops and no extended samples -only his two hands and two feet.

If you can catch him in the right moment – live, at a show, or in a studio session – you’ll witness him perform each and every 808 bass kick, snare slap, and compressed high hat tick himself, in real-time – now you have the chance to capture the essence of this man within your own recordings – using the ‘KJ Sawka – Live Drum and Bass Drummer’ sample package from Loopmasters.

Live Drum & Bass Drums features a large collection of drum loops and samples.

Live Drum & Bass Drums features

  • 600+MB original content.
  • 351 dry Live Drum and Bass Drum loops captured through a vintage neve console.
  • 46 FX drum loops.
  • 100+ live drum hits from multiple custom kits, percussion and top loops.
  • 19 drum kits pre-programmed for creating your own patterns, including full kits, percussion, cymbals, kicks, snares and FX kits.

The drum loops are categorized in a number of folders — e.g. Breakbeats, Jazzy Beats, Fills Builds And Breakdowns, etc. The Drum n Bass Beats and Jungle Beats folder are subdivided in folders indicating the type of drum kit that was used. Most samples also include useful information in their filenames, e.g. KJ_FL_175_Bonham_kit_8bar_loop2.aiff is a 175 bpm beat, 8 bars long, performed on a Bonham drum kit.

Most drum loops are 4 bars, many are 8 bars, and a smaller are just 1 or 2 bars (mostly the fills).

The 100+ single shot drum sounds are used in the 19 drum kits for use in your favorite sampler (Kontakt, EXS24, etc.) so you can create your own beats. The patches include full drum kits, percussion, fx and more.

Check the media player on the Loopmasters website for more audio clips from this sample library.

So what do I think?

Product: KJ Sawka: Live Drum & Bass Drums by Loopmasters
Formats: Apple Loops, Ableton Live, Reason 4 ReFill, Acid/REX, Multi-format DVD
Price: £29.95 – £39.95 GBP

Much like the actual drumming skills of KJ Sawka, this sample library is pretty insane. Drum and bass is probably my all time favorite music genre so I am a bit biased.

Within the dnb genre I have a slight preference for the drumfunk music by artists like Paradox (and Alaska), Seba, Macc, etc. KJ Sawka’s amazing drum beats are perfect for this genre. These beats and breaks just cry out for major choppage action.

The drum loops are mad tight, yet not too tight if you know what I mean. The recordings are excellent, capturing the funk and drive of KJ’s playing technique. I love the sounds of all the different drum kits he uses, with multiple kicks and snares.

In short: awesome drum and bass beats by an awesome drummer.

More information: Loopmasters / KJ Sawka: Live Drum & Bass Drums


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