Big Fish Audio | Sound On Sound John Walden | Funk University Product Review
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Funk University | Sound On Sound

Reviewer: John Walden | Rating: 4/5 Back to Funk University product details

This library from Big Fish Audio is all about drum loops. There are no other instruments, or even single drum hits. The 800 loops are served up in three formats and are organised into tempo-based folders across a range of 55-150bpm. Within a particular folder, the loops are subdivided further based upon the drum kit used, each kit having a distinctive sound. Aside from the tempo and kit number, there is no further guidance regarding each loop's content, for example to indicate which are fills.

The various kits provide plenty of sonic variety. While the snare sounds used are all typical of funk - mostly quite tight, dry, and restrained - there are also kits where the snare has more of a 'crack' or 'ping' to it - suitable for a tight rock sound as well as funk. There is a mixture of both 'dry' loops and those where the kit has been recorded within a more lively space.

Amongst the lower-tempo loops the playing is not too busy, but definitely has a funk feel. As the tempos get up to the 70bpm range, things start to liven up a little, and there are some quite aggressive-sounding loops with a bigger snare sound. However, there is generally a nice mix of fairly straight loops, busier loops (with plenty of examples of syncopated snare or hi-hat work), and loops containing fills. At tempos above 120bpm, the action gets a little busier, while right at the top end of the tempo range there are one or two loops that would obviously make your limbs ache. On the whole, though, the playing is very tasteful and restrained. Most of the loops are in four/four time, but a smattering of six/eight loops appear, as do a small number that feature brushes rather than sticks.

Obviously these loops would suit funk-based music, but I could also imagine some of them working in soul, R&B, or even more commercial hip-hop - perhaps anything from Jamiroquai through to the Black Eyed Peas, with a few stops in between. The more aggressive and ambient loops would also work in modern rock (the tight snares, for example, would not be out of place in some nu metal) or pop styles. The library has plenty of content and, given the multi-format package, it certainly offers value for money. However, it might have been nice to see some single hits included, particularly some cymbal crashes to add as accents. I'm not sure there is anything radically new on offer here in terms of musical content, but if you are looking for a 'funk drums 101' loop library, Funk University is a pretty good starting point. John Walden

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