Big Fish Audio | Keyboard Magazine Ken Hughes | Brush Artistry Product Review
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Brush Artistry | Keyboard Magazine

Reviewer: Ken Hughes | Rating: Key Buy Award Back to Brush Artistry product details


Pros: Excellent, musical feel. Great tone and recording quality. Useful mix of styles. Snare-only tracks add further utility.
Cons: Could use more cymbals. A little more flashy playing wouldn't have hurt.
Bottom Line: Highly recommended.

With a resume like drummer Pat Campbell's, which includes stints with Jim Campilongo, Tin Hat Trio, Tom Waits, and Willie Nelson, it's not surprising that these loops have brilliant feel and taste. Campbell delivers loops in the disparate styles of jazz, Latin, country, and funk with authority and great musicality.

It's also no wonder that the tonal quality is marvelous. Highly prized vintage Gretsch and Premier drums, vintage A. Zildjian and current Bosphorus cymbals, and a Drum Workshop Johnny Craviotto signature model snare were used in order to give the loops a palpable vibe. You can almost taste the martinis and see the cigarette smoke hanging in the air.

Campbell begins with eight cuts of swing beats in 2-beat and four-on-the-floor-variations. Tempos up to 220 bpm accommodate anything from real jazz to jungle, and the acidized WAV files make it easy to match tempos not included in the stock loops.

The playing throughout is pretty reserved; it'd be easy to dismiss this collection on the grounds that it would be easy to do as well on one's own. I defy anyone to program MIDI beats that feel this good, and have as much musicality. Campbell's brushmanship is top-shelf. The idea is that a world-class jazz drummer was on your session. World-class guys don't overplay.

Air-filled ballad beats follow the swingin' stuff, and after that are some bright jazz waltzes from 90–220 bpm. A nice selection of - again, very reserved - Latin feels such as bossa nova and samba come before the country beats. The country selections offer everything from old-timey cowboy song feels (very cartoony) to the "train beat" to the Tennessee waltz. 6/8 feels and a goodly number of brushy-funky beats round out the collection.

For their laser-focused mission, the two sections of kit samples are very good indeed, with enough dynamic variation to let you play your own beats convincingly. I might have wished for ride and crash hits at more dynamic levels, but what's here is enough.

Brush Artistry is a bullseye offering good variation within a narrow stylistic slice. A Key Buy.

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