Realfeel Groove Library
After the thrill sequencer users experienced when they discovered they had the means to play orchestral and rock instruments, came the realisation that the perfect guitar lick was not a product of notes alone, but of timbre, subtle timing and judicious bending of the strings. None of which can be easily replicated by the twiddling of a pitchbend wheel. And so it was that people started putting together specialised guitar grooves recorded by a MIDI guitar.
And now it's happened with drum patterns. Realfeel has produced a collection of 99 drum patterns recorded with a Roland SPD-8 Total Percussion set in an effort to capture the flams and parawhatsits which drummers, in the throes of inspiration, tend to play. Realfeel admit that the patterns are not aimed at those who primarily want dance and rock rhythms - although the patterns do have something of a rocky edge (isn't that a cliff? - Ed) - but rather, at users who simply want drums that 'breathe' a little.
During recording, the pads triggered a D110 and the patterns are mapped to the MT32. It's close to the GM/GS standard, but there is a drum map so individual assignments can be made to suit your own equipment. The patterns are eight bars long with a fill in the last bar or two, so it's very easy to cut and paste them to suit just about any song. You must, however, be careful not to cut out any hits if these are programmed slightly ahead of the first beat of the bar.
Around 30 different styles are covered and these are divided into six categories: Intro/Fill, Rock, Soul, Jazz, Reggae and Latin. So, you can look down a category list and pick a range of patterns to suit the style of the day. It's worth pointing out, however, that most patterns fit into more than one category.
Realfeel admit that some patterns have been 'tidied up' a little, most of the quantisation having been applied to the Latin and secondary percussion to bring it squarely on the beat. By and large, this proves to be an acceptable compromise, though there were a few too many maximum (ie. 127) velocity notes for my personal preference.
The patterns definitely have something of the openness of a live performance about them, and where this is the desired effect, should fit the bill admirably. For myself, I have to say I have developed a preference for some of the harder-hitting, up front, down-the-line patterns which I've heard programmed from a keyboard: it's all too easy to confuse sloppiness with feel. But then, much of this depends on your application, and there's no doubt these patterns could give drum track users a different perspective on their music - which, for the price, is not to be sniffed at.
Realfeel Groove Library Volume 1 - Available on Atari disk in Creator/Notator and MIDI File format.
More from: Realfeel, (Contact Details).
Review by Ian Waugh
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