Music Tech Magazine
Songwriters Drumpack 1 & 2
Drummers can be an unpredictable bunch at times, losing the delicate lyrics of your finely crafted song in a sea of drum fills and excessive cymbal-hitting. Toontrack, the masters of all things drum-related, has decided to give the power back to the composer with the Songwriters Drumpack – two volumes of MIDI drum loops that can be easily arranged into a complete song.
Each pack contains just over 450 individually played files that are optimised for one kick, one snare, two toms, one floor-tom, two crash cymbals and one ride cymbal in EZdrummer and Superior Drummer. Of course, given that these are raw MIDI files you could use them with any software instrument or sampler, but previewing the grooves is easiest from within Toontrack’s own software.
You get a massive range of fills, four-bar and eight-bar loops in ballad, mid-tempo, half-time, up-tempo and shuffle styles, with swing and straight feels plus ¾, 4/4 am d6/8 time signatures. The grooves are categorised into songs (14 in Pack 1, 13 in Pack 2) with intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge and fill sections.
To make things more flexible and easier to arrange, each groove is also presented with subtle variations of increasing intensity, which makes it a doddle to lay down flowing verses and bridges that building excitement. If you’re after tight beats with a more commercial edge you’ll want to opt for Pack 2, played by veteran drummer Peter Fredlander. However, if you’re after a hint more shuffle, check out our personal favourite, Pack 1, played by Swedish session drummer Richard ‘Huxflux’ Nettermalm.
Both packs contain plenty of instantly usable grooves with enough variation and flair to sound interesting and live, but not so much as to draw attention to themselves.
Verdict Nicely balanced, tight and expressive grooves in a variety of styles and tempos.
Pack 1 – 9/10
Pack 2 – 8/10