Loops, loops and more loops. The Essential Rhythm DVD sample set crams in 322 drum loops in addition to another 200 rhythm combo, acoustic guitar, bass, percussion, and one-shot samples. Riding on the fame of Dishwalla drummer George Pendergast, this disc offers 24-bit Acid/Ableton Live ready samples. This DVD focuses on drum loops, organized into 108 styles with multiple variations and fills on each style. The drum styles are similar and seem appropriate for "modern rock" applications as one might expect from a 90's rock drummer. The recordings are quite good, mixed with a nice variety of room sounds. I dropped about a dozen different styles into an Ableton Live mix I've been working on. The loops sat nicely in the mix, allowing plenty of room for vocals and instrumentation, while providing punch. There are twenty or so variations in mic'ing setups, room sounds, and room compression but only four or five different kits. The limitation in drum variety indicates that this sample set is geared toward modern rock in particular. Aside from the drum loops there are percussion samples, single bass notes, and acoustic guitar chords. These samples are versatile when loaded into a sampler or Ableton Live and can quickly be used for basic backing tracks. All the sound snippets, fills, and loops on this DVD can add a lot of variety and dynamics to build good drum tracks and some basic backing tracks. Its application in recording, like most sample CD's, is limited. The rigid timing nature of loops and the difficulty in finding appropriate samples is always problematic in creating sample-based rock. But for post-production and demo tracks, this DVD serves its purpose admirably. If used wisely, this disc will leave those "royalty free" funky drummer-boy samples on the records where they belong. ($59.95 MSRP; www.georgependergast.com)

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