Drum Spirit is the name of a new release from Sonic Vision, a South African producer of CD sample libraries. The CD is an interesting collection of traditional drum loops, percussive vocal hits and loops, and vocal phrases.
The release features master African percussionist Mabi Gabriel Thobejane, who has traveled the world and toured with Sakhile, Amampondo and Juno Reactor. His work can be heard in the soundtracks to Matrix Revolutions and the Mortal Combat films.
On Drum Spirit, Thobejane works his magic on bongos, congas, shakers, timbali and tribal bass drum. The recordings are fairly dry, but capture a bit of room ambience which adds some depth to the sound. The samples are provided unprocessed, with the exception of one vocal phrase, “Africa is the cradle”.
The drum loops are organized by BPM, ranging from 100 to 150 in steps of 10 BPM. For each BPM, Sonic Vision provides several loops for each instrument, ranging in length from 1-bar to 4-bar. The drum parts are full of life and make the rhythms in most loop-based music seem rigid and simple in comparison.
The loops can be used construction-set style to build up arrangements, or used individually to add some African rhythm to your tracks.
In addition to the drum loops, Sonic Vision provides a selection of vocal hits, loops and phrases. While the drum loops are excellent, the vocal samples are a welcome surprise.
The percussive vocal hits and vocal loops are very funky. The CD also has some longer .wavs of Thobejane talking and singing. His voice is very evocative and full of rhythm and melody.
The samples are provided in a variety of formats, including Battery, Kontakt, Exs24 & Reason Kits, as well as .wav files.
The recording and production work on Drum Spirit is very good. We noticed some typos in the file names, but this doesn’t detract from the loops’ usefulness. We would like to have seen Sonic Vision provide more information about the rhythms, especially since African rhythms can have specific stories or ideas associated with them.
Overall, Drum Spirit is a great set of rhythmic percussion and vocal samples that bring the sound of a master African drummer to your computer.