Journey To The Light
BIG FISAUDIO/WAV 2‑CD SET Rating: *** 3/5 Stars
Journey To The Light is a two‑CD set (one audio, one WAV) of drum and bass samples put together by American producer Jamie Myerson. This 70‑minute collection kicks off with 25 tracks of construction kits, which follow the tried‑and‑tested method of giving an example of the full groove followed by its component loops and individual drum sounds. All the kits are set at a D&B friendly 168bpm to "facilitate easy tweaking to nearby tempos." This makes all the loops and samples totally interchangeable in terms of tempo, if not key.
The kits are well programmed and lean towards the lighter, more melodic, jazz‑influenced style of drum and bass. The majority of the drum loops seem to have been actually played on a kit or sequenced using real drum sounds. This gives the loops a very 'live' feel. In itself this is no bad thing but, apart from some beats that have been processed or distorted, there are very few overtly synthetic patterns or hectic cut‑ups, which is a shame.
The instrumentation used in the construction kits is tight and polished, pads and synths are lush, and there is some nice jazzy Rhodes work. The inclusion of organic‑sounding guitar parts is also welcome, and very effective, although some elements (such as the reverbed piano) become a little repetitive. The bass parts are solid enough, with some effective live playing and plenty of synth click and squelch, but there is very little sub‑bass on offer. Some of the samples also sound suspiciously like factory presets, and therefore extremely familiar.
The next 31 tracks are split into small groups of nicely produced, themed samples, including more tightly played live drum loops, single‑hit basses, synths and sweeps. The section of miscellaneous synths is extensive, with some nicely atmospheric hits and riffs, while the 43 Rhodes licks and phrases spread over four tracks are well recorded and very usable. The CD is rounded off by eight tracks of drum hits, percussion and assorted effects.
On the downside, I found this CD quite restrictive in its style and, even though it makes some attempts at a more electronic sound, I think it may disappoint producers looking for a darker, edgier feel. The set tempo does make mixing and matching samples a doddle, but I'd like to have seen a bit more tempo variation, just to mix up the styles a bit more. Still, if smooth, jazz‑tinged drum and bass is your thing, be sure to give Journey To The Light a look. Oli Bell