I reviewed the Drum Drops CD's a while back, which were simply two-track audio CD's of cool-sounding drum tracks for use in recordings, demos or what have you. Now the boys at Drum Drops are hooking us up with DVD's (4 GB each) of discrete drum tracks, set up as 24- bit, 44.1 kHz AIFF sound files with Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase and Digital Performer session files-copyright free and ready to use-for songwriters, producers, and remixers. Featured drummers are Style Scott (Roots Radics, Dub Syndicate), Nasser Bouzida (Blow Up Records), Jim "The Lick" Kelly (Acid Jazz) and Jan Kincaid (Brand New Heavies). These guys are the real thing. The Fistful sessions contain twelve funk, rock, hip- hop, soul and blues grooves at 82-147 BPM, whereas the Dub sessions (obviously) contain twelve dub beats from 69-143 BPM-all averaging four minutes long. The fact that these aren't just stereo loops is fantastic, as I couldn't imagine creating dub mixes (or any mixes to my liking) without multitrack drums. The Dub tracks have discrete mics plus percussion tracks and real spring- reverb effects you can take in or out of the mix. The mic'ing on these is all retro-sounding, with analog (2'', 15 IPS) tape hiss and cool 70's tones-tracked on a vintage Neve with Pultec EQ's and Fairchild compressors. The Fistful DVD's have stereo overheads, percussion and printed click tracks, with similar retro-minded mic'ing techniques. The versions I received for review didn't feature pre-cut edit points to mix and match for your own song structure (though you should be good enough to do that anyway!), but recent versions of these sets are pre-edited for easy use. I found that building a track around an existing song structure was totally cool, as I was making up the songs I was doing around the dub grooves anyway. These tracks are earthy and real, tempo is consistent but not stiff, and the grooves are really happening. Engineer Mike Pelanconi deserves credit for making real tracks like these available. ($150 each direct; www.drumdrops.com)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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