When Loopmasters released Shogun Audio Drum & Bass Vol. 1, the name Friction caught my attention.

Friction aka Ed Keeley has made quite an impact on the drum and bass scene with his DJ skills and productions on various prominent labels like Hospital, Renegade Hardware, Valve, Tru Playaz, etc. I think I still have a copy of the Infantry E.P. with Friction and DJ Skinny (Nu Balance) on it, back from 1999.

I am not so familiar with the Shogun Audio, Friction’s “diverse, exciting and forward thinking” drum and bass label. At the time K-Tee and Friction started Shogun Audio, I had already packed up my turntables and wasn’t keeping up with new drum and bass releases much.

Icicle aka Jeroen Snik did not ring a bell either, but after reading his profile tagline on Shogun Audio’s website I was expecting to like his work:

Inspiration from the dirty basslines of the likes of Jonny L and Optical and the drum patterns of Photek & Source Direct.

With this sample pack Friction and Icicle deliver a collection of 780 drum and bass samples, including 104 loops and no less than 676 one shot samples.

Here’s a breakdown of the content:

  • 27 bass loops
  • 40 drum loops + 8 bonus classic drum loops
  • 29 synth loops
  • 30 bass one shots + 8 multi-sampled bass instruments
  • 8 synth one shots + 12 multi-sampled synth instruments
  • 63 stab hits
  • 58 sound fx hits
  • 277 drum and percussion hits
  • 71 patches for Kontakt, HALion, EXS24, NN-XT and SFZ

The bass loops are generally silky smooth, understated yet brutal. Lots of deep sounds and plenty of filter action. Love that. The selection of drum loops is quite varied, with great overall quality. You get some beats done with sounds from classic breaks, as well as the more minimal beats reminiscing of Photek. Everything is very well programmed, though with an average of 8 bars per loop at 170+ bpm quite short in length.

I don’t quite get the point of the included classic breaks. Sure it’s just a bonus, but 5 short breaks and 3 amen fills with flanger effect? Not too exciting.

On to the melodic synth loops. There are no fillers here. Beautiful progressions (up to 64 bars), minimal tech stabs, moody pads, evocative dreamy keys. Very inspirational.

The single shot sounds and accompanying sampler patches feature a solid selection of sounds and fx. The bass sounds are good, but with a lot less filter and modulation they lack much of the appeal of the loops. The same with the synth samples. Great sounds – especially some of the pads – but you need to do some processing of your own to get the same vibe. Don’t get me wrong though, this is how melodic single shot sounds/sampler patches are supposed to be in my opinion; a collection of supporting sounds with not too much processing going on for maximum flexibility. The stabs folder is full of classic hardcore/rave type stab sounds, chords and hits, and the sound fx folder boasts almost 60 quality original effects. Great material for spicing up your productions.

Drums and percussion samples are divided into cymbals and crashes (14), high hats (44), kicks (71), percussion (47), shuffles (28), and snares (73). Nothing earth-shattering, just a good collection of useful sounds for creating your own beats or to compliment the drum loops. The sounds are also available in 5 drum kit patches.

Where applicable everything is tagged with bpm and key for ease of use, and file names typically indicate the type of sound well.

So what do I think?

Product: Friction & Icicle – Shogun Audio Drum & Bass Vol. 1
Format: 24bit Wav+REX, Apple Loops, Refill, Ableton Live Pack + sampler patches
Price: £24.95 GBP
Like: Superb quality, inspirational loops + large collection of single shot sounds
Don’t like: —
Verdict: 9/10

Friction & Icicle deliver some top notch content with their first sample pack. Even though the collection of loops is just some 125 MB in size, this is the heart of the library.

Incredibly well-crafted bass and drum loops, combined with beautiful melodic synth loops which provide you with the authentic vibe that can only come from the hands of this production duo. That is what makes these “artist series” packs so great. My only complaint/wish in this section: I want more loops!

With the exception of the sound fx, the single shot sounds are a lot more generic. Still, this useful collection of bass, synth, pad, stab sounds and more is of high quality and suitable for a electronic music of any kind.

In short, Shogun Audio Drum & Bass Vol. 1 provides a solid collection of quality loops and sounds for drum and bass producers.

More information: Loopmasters / Friction & Icicle – Shogun Audio Drum & Bass Vol. 1