Sound Oracle Percussion Loops Library
By Anderton |
Sound Oracle Percussion Loops Library
Dress up your beats with these complex, novel loops
by Craig Anderton
Sound Oracle is the chief sound designer for Timbaland, and his samples have also appeared in productions for Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Christina Aguilera, and others. Although the artist names may imply these loops are for hip-hop/trap/R&B, that’s only partially true. Percussion isn’t as contextually identifiable as, for example, the late Clyde Stubblefield’s tight drum sound or John Bonham’s mammoth tone, so it can work its way into a variety of music. I’m one of those people who doesn’t feel a song is complete until there’s some percussion element on it that adds movement and "bounce," so I was sufficiently intrigued to download a review copy and check out the loops.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- The 45 loops are not variations on a theme, but each has its own identity. That makes it easier to “slice and dice” a loop into variations.
- Tempos are mostly in the 60-100 BPM range, which underscores the hip-hop lineage.
- The file format is 16-bit/44.1 kHz.
- Most loops are two measures, but there are 4-measure ones as well.
- The sounds are very original—it’s not just a collection of the usual percussion instruments at all, but fall more into the “complex sound design” category. As such, some loops are well-suited to cutting off the last couple beats, and using them as intros or transitions.
- According to Sound Oracle, the sounds were recorded with vintage samplers and tape to take advantage of what those recording/playback media offer.
- All file names indicate the tempo in BPM.
- All loops are royalty-free.
- Some loops don’t end on a zero-crossing, so there’s a slight click. If you encounter one, add a very short fade out (e.g., several milliseconds) and bounce the clip to itself or export it.
- The loops are not in a stretchable format. You can open them in Cakewalk SONAR or Sony Acid Pro to create Acidized files, or use Propellerheads’ ReCycle to create REX files. Otherwise, you’ll need to use DSP to stretch to different tempos.
- Although there are demo videos on the Sound Oracle web site, they’re used primarily in context with other sounds, so you can’t be sure which sounds are attributable to the loops themselves. Some demos with just bass or guitar would have been more helpful.
I was curious at to what would happen to the loops in the EDM-friendly world above 120 BPM, as well as in rock songs, so I brought several files into SONAR and Acidized them for stretching. I was surprised that many loops worked extremely well at higher tempos, even in trance hovering around 127 PBM, and the originality added a flavor not found in libraries designed for those genres. Flipping back to the other end of the tempo spectrum, I added the loops to Brian Hardgroove’s Bass Loops and some loops in progress from funk/jazz legend Mike Clark. Not surprisingly, the loops were very comfortable in their home turf.
However be aware these are mostly complex loops that work best in fairly minimalist contexts—they’re not like a tambourine hit every eighth note. Some could even form the basis for a song, where you wrap sounds around the loop designed to accommodate it—not the other way around.
If you want bread-and-butter loops that sit in the background, this is probably not the loop library for you. Oracle Percussion Loops is for those who want interesting loops with texture that can share the spotlight along with other beats in a track, and even step out front from time to time.
Available for $34.99 (direct download) from Soundoracle.net
Craig Anderton is Editorial Director of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.