In another life I probably would’ve been a drummer. I’ve been programming beats since scoring a Boss drum machine back in the late 80’s. However, the older I get the less time I have to devote to pre production when I sit down to cut tracks and any tools to expedite the process are welcome. I’ve utilized the loops which ship with Cakewalk’s SONAR for quite a few years now, but by and large they leave me wanting especially when I’m doing stuff outside of the standard 4/4 rock feel, and I still find myself programming beats significantly as there’s simply not enough variation of realistically performed loops to satisfy me. One lazy afternoon surfing the web I stumbled across the Odd Grooves site…
Across the board the feel is just fantastic incorporating ghost notes, soft single stroke rolls, and many other technical intricacies which are almost felt more than heard...
Odd Grooves is based around the performances of Magnus Brandell who was highly influenced by the polyrhymic work of the super drummers of 70’s and 80’s fusion, hence the name Odd Grooves. Intrigued by a few of the clips on their site, I decided to give them a shot. Each pack contains a thousand or more loops mapped for Sonic Reality’s I-MAP, Steven Slate Drums, XLN Audio Addictive Drums, Toontrack EZ Drummer/Superior Drummer, and General MIDI. I opted for their more conservative FourFour Drumming Pack 1&2 Bundle as I felt I’d get the most use out of it. The packs consists of a cornucopia of loops and a few song “stems” (ex versus, chorus, and bridge variations) organized by stylistic genre. I immediately found usage for some of the grooves and the fills across the board are incredibly unique and avoid the contrived nature I’ve found with stock MIDI drum fills. Across the board the feel is just fantastic incorporating ghost notes, soft single stroke rolls, and many other technical intricacies which are almost felt more than heard and raise the bar far above simplistic stock beats.
Randomly sampling some of the loops, there’s definitely some stuff included which I’m not sure I’d ever use including a few which are a bit of a stretch to call 4/4. I mean, if it takes 4 measures to cycle the syncopation to get back to 1, can you still call it 4/4? Of course, whether this is a strength or weakness is dependent on the project at hand. Where it gets really interesting is combining some of the more exotic loops with the more conservative ones to establish a level of familiarity then throw an auditory curve ball. If layering beats to construct unique sounding break beats, I imagine one would find a wealth of useable loops here. I’ve found a few combinations so inspiring that they’ve become the basis of some new songs.
If you’re in the market for a loop library and enjoy polyrhymic work, OddGrooves is an excellent choice at an excellent price. You can join their news letter for some free loops as well.
Price: $57 Direct
Pros: Large library, great feel, unique polyrhymic approach
Cons: Some grooves will be too “out” for those with traditional tastes