Awarded 4.5 out of 5
Awarded 4.5 out of 5
"Possibly the cheekiest sample CD title in the World! Hoggie and the Turbinators (guess which one he is on the sleeve), aka Paul Hodson and Hardeep S. Saini, have been at it for years. Sampling, that is. Featured are performances and single hits on Dhol, Dholak, Ghara, Tabla and Duggi, Chimpta, Tumbi, and Taiaan. Bpms are given where appropriate.
All the samples sound as if they have already seen the inside of a Kurzweil K2000 (current sampler), S1000 (trusty companion) or something older. Some are a bit noisy / distorted. Then again, that might suit you - gungy drum loops can add warmth and feel. In fact, Track 22 (Vintage Masala) has been my favourite so far, and the samples are positively filthy!
From the top: Pora Dholak features 19 1-bar patterns, all at 125 bpm, recorded in wide, dry stereo, and all distinctly different from each other ( as opposed to marginally different, as is often the case with big self-consistent sets). This format is the norm for the specially-played and recorded loops that form the bulk of this CD (oh all right, yes, a few are presented in mono). There are similar Dhol, Tabla and ensemble sets at various tempos, with all constituents topped and tailed, and ready to roll along with your dance beat. For a change, why not spice up your top end with Tailaan (finger cymbal) pattern? Forget the dodgy looping. forget the hiss. You won't hear much of either in the mix. The same advice applies to the Chimpta, whose sound is akin to a tambourine.
Track 24 houses a set of 20-odd single hits. Some of these are noisy, but having sampled the lot, I found that a low-pass filter coming in behind the attack portion of each one cleaned them up without removing essential energy. And being dry, the sounds don't half take reverb! The Baja, which is up next, sounds like a cross between an accordion and a violin. There are three multisample sets, two natural tones, and one synth. All are useful, and the synth set is especially fine. The Tumbi follows, a simple one-stringed, plucked instrument. There's a multisample set, followed by several specially recorded riffs and loops. The Mandolin is given the same treatment, minus the archives. Some ensemble patterns give way to a Santoor multisample set ( which sounds a bit like a 12 string guitar).
Finally, there's two pipe riffs, a multi of the same, and then you reach 'Vindavox shouts'. A small group of exuberant males shout words like 'Areepa' and 'Bhangra' in stereo. A wistful accapella female winds up the voice bank. For the remainder of the CD, the samples revert to type; yet more Bhangra loops. On some, I could hear some low-level spill, suggesting that they had been lifted from an analogue multitrack session tape. Others appear to have digitally recorded in ultra-wide stereo. Both live playing and programmed beats are featured, and many patterns are quite sparse, suggesting that layering would be successful.
Conclusion: There's something good about this product. The fidelity is OK, except where vintage samples are used, in which case, never mind the noise, feel the feel. But the real boon is that it's a bit of a first - never before have so many Bhangra ingredients been offered to the masses in such accessible form. Try them out in unfamiliar surroundings, and you might start a trend: I'd suggest Hip-Hop, for starters."
Awarded 8 out of 10
Awarded 8 out of 10
"This may not be the tastiest of names, but it sums up perfectly what this Indian-flavoured disc has to offer. You get around 60 tracks with plenty of loop variations and a stack of styles that should benefit all but the most esoteric musical genre. The first batch of loops paves the way for the CD's format: sets of rhythms based around a 'kit' of traditional Indian percussive sounds. They're clearly and crisply recorded, and each can easily be incorporated into a piece of your own as the main rhytmic hook.
The ensemble loops are perhaps the most flexible on the disc; they can be used as dramatic background rhythms or layered together to produce some massive percussive build ups. There are also plenty of less complicated loops on the disc, featuring just one instrumental sound, so that you can experiment and construct your own complete rhythms. The vintage Masala section is where the ideas really start a-flowin', with more variation in sound and a greater rawness to the samples. It's the beginning of a section of samples that can be used for anything from special effects to the main ingredient of a song.
A tempo is given with each loop but, as the sleeve notes point out, some loops may have been cut to make them more comprehensible to western ears, or else the tempo is only given as a guideline. In practice, this means that you may have to work just that bit harder with your time signatures and tempos when empoying some of the samples.
It's not all loops on VindaLoops - there are plenty of single, percussive hits, vocals and drum machine programs incorporating an ethnic style. It is an ideal CD for anyone into Bhangra or world music, and techno heads wanting to move away from four-on-the-floor tedium into more exotic climes will love it."
Awarded 4 out of 5
Awarded 4 out of 5
"A very evocative resource for the sampler owner who's in the mood for a quick trip to India. "Your grooves never need to be boring again," according to ER. The Lion's share of this crisply recorded disc is devoted to 4/4 rhythm loops and tabla and/or related percussion instruments. Each track contains from four to 19 loops, breaks and single hits that are related by tempo or instruments used. The stereo imaging is very clear and characteristic pitch, blends, slaps, and finger rolls abound.
"Wonderfully expressive and expertly played,"commented our resident percussionist (GR). Also getting a workout on a few tracks are finger cymbals, rattles, clay pot, a one-stringed zither, and something that sounds rather like a timbale. Toward the latter part of the CD, there's a selection of hybrid loops that combine Indian percussion with TR-808, and some TR-808 patterns that are more or less in an Indian rhythmic style. Track 40, a set of eight phrases sung by female vocalist, has a lovely casual air. And who could resist a little kid saying, "Now the tablas"? The final track, a full-code test zone at 1kHz is a thoughtful touch. What's cool is that the accents in the loops don't always fall where a funk-based musician would expect them to. they open up a whole new rhythmic dimension.
"I'd love to layer one of these tabla loops with a rippin' rock groove," GR commented. "I want this disc in my collection." "No more boring grooves," ER concurred. Almost without exception, the rhythms are pre-looped as one or two bars of 4/4. We'd rather have heard the percussionist (s) play four bars straight through; it would give the user twice as much material in a single CD, and would also preserve more of the interesting nuances of live performance. The non-looped breaks are also given twice, in this case with a silent gap between the two identical samples, which makes it easier to arm your sampler for recording.
The liner notes suggest that the disc is made up for the most part of material that was collected using an Akai S1000 and a Kurzweil K2000, which accounts for the fact that the samples are already truncated and looped. The single notes on santoor and baja are a joke: already looped (very badly) in a sampler before being recorded onto the CD. In a few cases awful thumping artifacts are actually embedded in the tone. Hoggie & The Turbinator (the developers of this project) must have dipped pretty deep into the vaults for this stuff; frankly, we doubt whether many sampler owners will be that hard up for hanks and twangs.
By focusing a little more narrowly than 'world' percussion collections that try to cram the whole globe onto one disc, Vindaloops is able to provide a lot more variety for anybody who is into this particular ethnic vibe or who actually plays bhangra music, for that matter. Considering that many of the tracks have a dozen or more samples to work from, all recorded at the same tempo and with the same drums, player, and milking, you should be able to assemble a rhythm track that has some stylin' breaks."