"Jungle Warfare opens with 44 programmed...
"Jungle Warfare opens with 44 programmed and produced loops of minimally variable tempo (155-184 bpm) and hugely variable duration (longest 38, shortest 4 bars, with constant variation and fills). Because jungle beats tend to be extremely busy, usually more than one hit of each voice needs to be alternately employed (eg. two rimshots, several snares) if feel is to be engendered by the programming. Judicious detuning and pitchbending can also help disguise static samples.
Fortunately, the programmers of this CD, Joseph Stock and Mark George, are in tune with the musical style, and understand this. There are plenty of pregnant pauses and 32/48/64th programmed dynamic rolls too, both jungle hallmarks. Many of the longer patterns deserve to be cut into a multitude of smaller fragments, mapped over the keyboard, and then user-sequenced. On to the straight loops. Here we find around 400 4-bar (1 or 2 bars repeated) loops, in the raw, and ready for your digital scalpel to transform them into something out of the ordinary. Many of these are old favourites speeded up and re-equalised to compensate for the pitch-shift upwards. Others are half tempo, and among the drum loops I found some interesting percussion overlays. If you thought a tempo range range of 155-164 was boring, wait 'til you hear these.
Obviously, Joe and Mark are samplists after my own heart, having settled for 160 bpm standard throughout -- though I must admit, I go for 120bpm (having said that, I'm forever applying higher and higher tuning offsets in compositions, so maybe I'll get up to 160 eventually...). The percussion section features a set of viable single hits including cymbals, tambourines, Latin and electro tones, and other miscellania. No basic drums though, which I found strange! I liked the church bell and steel drum, but wasn't so keen on the bright digital reverb. Just as well it's mixed low. The digital pads and notes are well-chosen, and generally much more attention grabbing than your music shop brigade. The basses, meanwhile, tend towards the sub variety, while the special effects, although consisting of the usual spaghetti space-cowboy stuff is actually a pretty good selection, including trains and seagulls.
Conclusion: For some time, I've been wondering how long it would take the sample CD market to catch up with jungle. I felt that the first product to adequately service this expanding sector was sure to clean up. Despite the claims made when it was released, Jungle Warfare isn't the first jungle sampling CD, but it is the first full-price, extensively-produced and researched one. Also, Warfare is considerably more up-to-date than its previous competitor. Mono (except for the "Digital Pads" section) and with excellent fidelity throughout. (source limitations excepting), the loops exhibit balance and punch, with a fair bit of variation in feel and sound, if not in tempo. There's no really serious competition, so it's got to be a rating of five --- though I wish it had come out six months ago."
This is an excellent collection of rip...
This is an excellent collection of rip it up aural gifts that I'm sure will be popular all over the world as producers in all sorts of audio sectors figure out just how that curious British "Drum and Bass" stuff actually works.
How useful could you get for a producer who's not exactly steeped in inner city British black music breakbeat raggamuffin culture? Across its three discs, Jungle Warfare gives a lot of the game away with a mixture of breaks, individual hits, de riguer sphincter expanding bass files and the required dancehall stylee FX and 'ting.
The emphasis, like the genre, is on breaks and beats and this collection sorts you out with exactly the right kind of kit(s). If you can't get something hard, happening and heavy out of Jungle Warfare (especially volume 3) then it's time to get back to programming that new age clogs and flutes folk track you always dreamed of.
"The jungle genre is growing faster than...
"The jungle genre is growing faster than the Brazilian rainforest, yet so far there has been a dearth of CDs aimed at the market. dzone put out the excellent Jungle Joose, which provided the basic building blocks of drum'n'bass grooves, but left the rest to you. Based, as jungle is, on building your own loops out of sections of other loops which have been timestretched, compressed and wildly pitched up, the concept behind a sample CD of jungle beats is slightly suspect. Surely you'd be better off getting a sample CD of early funk, soul and reggae grooves to sample, and tum out your own original loops?
Zero-G have addressed this conundrum squarely with Jungle Warfare. The first section (Tracks 1-9) consists of programmed loops built up in the style mentioned above. There are some kicking grooves here, all around the 160 bpm mark, and ranging from 38 bars to 4 bars in length. Each bar is different, making these finished loops which you could drop straight into a tune. On their own these loops are very useful, but limited (as any set grooves inevitably are). Eventually, you're gonna want to put together your own loops.
This is where the ingenuity of Zero-G's plan become apparent. The next section (Tracks 10-29) are all straight loops at 160 bpm, all four bars long. These loops are ideal for sampling, cutting up into sections, and programming into original drum'n'bass grooves. There's a wide range of jungle styles here, from ambient to hardcore, and the set tempo makes for seamless editing. You'll have to get out that calculator if you get into any time-stretching, but the nice round number that is 160 makes even those tiresome calculations easy.
Next up is a section of drum rolls, highly useful for those all important jungle fills, and a whole series of one-shot percussion sounds, hi-hats, tambourines and the like, to add that extra sizzle over the basic loops. A series of sampled one-shot sounds, from Fender Rhodes to Juno sub-basses, complete the musical jigsaw, and the final section offers a load of SFX and vocal samples to spice up the mix. As upfront as you can get, this CD is the next best thing to owning a huge collection of soul and garage classics to sample from. In fact, it's better than placing pads, percussion and sound FX at your disposal. It's a jungle out there, and Zero-G have just declared war!"
"To oversimplify, jungle is a style of...
"To oversimplify, jungle is a style of dance music characterised by extremely fast drum patterns set into swirling, sexy pads, often with bass lines at half the tempo of the drums. The interesting thing about how drums are used in this style is that they hardly function as timekeepers at all; they add an energetic overdrive to a pulse laid down by a com bination of bass and percussion sounds. Since this is a dance remix style, quotations are commonplace, and pristine sound quality is not a concern. Drum loops are rarely used for their entire length, and often they are retriggered or obliterated with DSP just as you begin to recognise what you're hearing. It's a spacey, trance-inducing style.
Jungle Warfare from Zero-G is filled to the gills with just about everything you'd need to crank this stuff out in mass quantities. The first nine tracks (44 loops) are programmed loops of 32 bars or more, which means that there's room for a substantial number of alterations and variations in the basic material. Although they certainly keep the tempo going, many have rhythmic sub-loops that create syncopations. Others stop abruptly and stutter off into nothing, only to slam back in a bar or so later. The loops range from scratchy recordings of acoustic kits to clean drum machine beats. Another aspect of remixes is that drum sounds are not neccesarily called on to anchor the bottom of the frequency spectrum: Often a loop will have the bass rollcd completely off, leaving just the scratchy high end. Zero-G has this covered; you'll find a variety of loops with drastic EQ settings.
To roll your own drums, so to speak, the disc offers over 150 "straight" loops of four bars each. Some of these are indeed four bars long, others are two or one-bar loops. Again, we found a wide variety of kits, beats, and EQ settings, as well as an energy level that would exhaust entire clubfuls of dancers if the loops were played end to end. Unable to wait until the end of the disc to start working, we whipped up some tracks with some straight loops on our favourite digital audio and MIDI sequencing package. The loops are indicated as having a tempo of 160 bpm, so we set the metronome accordingly. When we tried to sync up MIDI attacks, we found that 160 bpm is an approximation; many loops drifted either ahead or behind the beat, even within the course of four bars. One loop even caused Greg Rule to exclaim, "Man, that rushes like crazy!"
If you approach this disc expecting a collection of air-tight loops that you can use to build a drum track for your pop tunes, you may be disappointed. To use this collection in a traditional tune, you'll have a lot of work ahead of you stretching and trimming loops to lit your tempo. But that's not what jungle is about. Heck, some mixes we've heard such as "Travels the Road" from UK remixers X Project, start and stop loops almost without regard to the groove. Other remix artists, such as Metalhead, use just enough of a loop to add that frenetic energy, and then drop it out, make it stutter, or put a monstrous delay on it. It's rare that you hear a loop played for four entire bars. What you will hear is a lot of analog beeps, boops, and sweeps, as well as pads of all types, processed like crazy. Jungle Warfare has a nice selection of these basic materials, too.
Among the 50 or so pads, you'll find many atmospheric effects, vox-ish sounds, sweeps, sus chords, minor 7ths, 9th chords, and icy textures. Even the obligatory Korg M1 Pole and Lore. The Rhodes samples sound like they were taken from a Stage model with stereo tremolo: very sexy. A deep, resonant gamelan gong is provided; I've heard this type of sample used as a bass sound or as a pad. Fidelity ranges from scratchy LP to direct-from-the-synth, and while some samples decay, others are abruptly cut off. GR also notes, "Cool use of EQ and effects processing. Love those delays at the end of certain loop passages."
The disc has several tracks for constructing your own drum kits. These include a good variety of the basics, but also brief percussion loops that would be great to use on top of the regular loops. TR-808 and Juno basses are represented by a few tracks of single notes, wobbles, growls, and sweeps. Not exactly multisampling, but in the jungle, they leam to make the most of what they have. As you'd expect, many jungle remix artists make good use of screams, wails, and a variety of other sound effects; Zero-G has provided a good selection of these as well. Vocal effects include a number of samples of Jamaican origin for that reggae touch. Jungle is an exciting and innovative style in which musical sounds and their functions are being re-invented. From what we've heard, Jungle Warfare gives you just about everything you need to survive in the remix rain forest."