MULTI-FORMAT AUDIO/DATA CD-ROM
Pure Tabla is based on a library of rhythmic tabla loops performed by Aref Durvesh, who has recorded with artists as diverse as Sting and Jeff Beck. The word 'pure' is somewhat misleading as, in addition to naturally recorded patterns, there are also plenty of examples featuring heavy signal processing, courtesy of engineer and producer Gerard Albo.
Pure Tablas comes as a two-disc set, one containing Audio and Akai versions of the samples, and the other WAV, AIFF, REX2, EXS24 and Acid variants. I carried out my reviews using the EXS24 and quickly discovered the actual recording quality is first-class.
The loops are arranged into groups of three or four programs of the same tempo, ranging from 80 to 200bpm, with five or six loops per program, and mapped to adjacent keys at the bottom end of the keyboard. In many cases, these work well when layered or mixed in an arrangement, but the sleeve notes provide few clues as to which ones are natural-sounding and which ones are processed. By processing, I mean anything from heavy reverb to pitch-shifting, distortion and filtering, some of which is anything but subtle. However, they work fantastically well if placed in the right context.
There are 54 programs to choose from, which adds up to around 300 complete loops, although I was a little disappointed to find no single tabla hits. Had there been single hits mapped to the higher region of the keyboard, it would have been possible to play loops and to overdub new elements in real time, but sadly this opportunity was overlooked. However, having REX2 support does at least provide the ability to change tempo in compatible applications.
On balance, I feel Pure Tabla is a valid and well-produced library, ideal for anyone interested in the 'India meets dance' genre. It's only the lack of single hits that makes me feel slightly uneasy about giving it four stars. There's certainly plenty of feel, mood and excitement to explore, and many of the loops would sit well over more conventional rhythmic loops at the same tempo. Credit is due to the producers for making Pure Tabla available in so many formats.
Audio/Data CD-ROM £29.95 (including VAT).
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