It was somewhere in the beginning of 2014, that I was browsing the Web in search for some material to use in my music. I had been kind of silent for quite some years, and one of the reasons for that was that I was kind of finished with the sounds that I had produced for some years. Finished with my virtual brass section, finished with my own vocals, and very much impressed by more recent online works from Net Labels mainly in the digital spectrum.
I have this thing with in-your-face digital Dub and other Roots Reggae. I love it, I can make hours and hours of DJ mixes carrying the sounds. I can't, however, produce it myself. It's simply not there, in my soul. At least, not at this moment. After several failed attempts which I don't even want to discuss, I felt myself kind of stuck between the stuff I produced earlier and, well, something I wasn't really sure of.
In this state of mind, I was kind of looking on the Internet for some stuff to work on, or with. Typing all kinds of key-words into the search engine, getting all kinds of websites with shady contents that might be nice for some private productions but for the rest has, let's say, legally questionable material. Sure, it would be nice to download an Acapella by let's say Luciano and be able to create a musical work with it that you can release, right? Well, forget such niceness when you use shady websites like the ones I just described.
Someone once said, in a different context: "Do as they say, not as they do". I took that principal at hand, and went on to look for a legal variety. Is it possible, to get some good quality legal vocal material, preferably of the authentic kind? This is where I discovered just why almost every website with advertisements has this banner linking to LOOPMASTERS.com.
Usually and like "everyone", I ignore banners and ads when I visit a website. The times that I've actually clicked on an ad because I was interested in the site can be counted using the fingers of one hand, and I'm online since the early 1990's. Being the "rebel" that I am, the more I see an ad the less I'm likely to click on it. The reason why I did visit the Loop Masters' website therefore had nothing to do with the publicity. The reason was simply I was looking for legal material, especially vocals, and my search engine gave me the link. The only link.
Now, a few months later, I can only conclude that Loop Masters is the one-stop for most of the most authentic and legal online source material for the production of (DUB) Reggae Music. This is not my suggestion for a slogan to use in yet another banner, it is my personal conclusion at this moment. A conclusion which I would like to share, without apology but with reasoning.
The first thing that I noticed, was a familiar name: Dubmatix. This Canadian producer is without the shadow of a doubt living up to his last name "King" when it comes to Dub and the North American continent. He knows his music, he knows his vocalists and he knows his studio. I looked further and discovered they had a sample pack with material from none other than Mad Professor. My fingers started to itch as I was clicking my mouse. However, I wasn't jumping to the "Sample Boutique" as they very pleasantly describe themselves to get Drum loops and such things.
This is when I discovered what would become source material for literally all my productions this year, both released and (yet) unreleased or even unfinished. Source material for 10's and 10's of tracks, perhaps even well over a 100. Quality source material, for prices that make you laugh. Authentic quality source material, of which the first serious online review is yet to be written. This review -and the product reviews the Dubroom already published- is only the beginning of a serious promotion campaign to right that blatant wrong.
Now, do I seriously think that Loop Masters is waiting for a Dubroom review to get customers? Absolutely not. In fact, I am convinced that they have a good running business and probably didn't even notice how the Dubroom reviewed one of it's products only days after it's release (Mad Professor's Reel to Reel Reggae Volume Two). The overwhelming major part of Loop Master's catalogue is aimed at the producer of Electronic Dance Music or EDM, so they're obviously not depending on "our kind of people" (Dub/Reggae producers).
A kind of independence that -in the case of LOOPMASTERS.com- provides quality of the highest -read: non-commercial- kind.
Let me put it in other words, more blatant. The music we love, (DUB) Reggae, is commercially not attractive. You will not score a world hit with a Dub tune. At least, not yet. There is no strict commercial interest that will drive a provider of Samples and other Soundware to offer (DUB) Reggae related material. There must be some other reason for Loop Masters to offer the things they do, and I can come up with nothing else but a pure love for Reggae.
So, what I'm reviewing here is actually not really the website LOOPMASTERS.com but rather the things you, as a producer of (DUB) Reggae music can find there. Yes, there is much more than what was already reviewed here in the Dubroom and even though eventually all interesting products will get their own review, you might not want to wait any longer after reading what you're about to read.
Readers and visitors will have read about "Roots Step", a very contemporary form of Roots Reggae that appeals to lovers of DubStep and other forms of contemporary digital stuff. Roots Step is a sound by Berlin based producer DON GOLIATH, who has been interviewed because of his remarkable musical works. His countless tracks feature legendary vocalists like U Roy, Trinity, Dillinger, Kojak, Lone Ranger, and Prince Jazzbo. Others feature more younger but crucial singers like Ras Khaleel, Clifton Yeates, Seamus, Kamouflage, Kontent, Masta Jay, Assante and Tallis. Or MC's like Piracy, Lion Tafari, and Jah Rooti.
It's rather difficult not to notice that some of these names feature in more recent Dubroom productions and in case you've wondered just how it is possible for the Dubroom to produce a Dillinger track, now you know.
No, Don Goliath and I have not both been shopping at LOOPMASTERS.com. In fact, this is where I got introduced to this name, as Don Goliath is the one who provided the UK based sample boutique with 10's of acapellas he used for his own productions. Original acapellas, proven by the fact that many of the vocalists talk about the Don.
Under the name "Don Goliath - Reggae And Dub Acapellas Vol. 1-6", LOOPMASTERS.com offers full length lyrical acapellas including a license (quite important). Each volume has a number of tracks. You can buy a volume and pay less per track, or you can -like I did- pay a little more but only get the ones you want. A little nit-picking, because when you're looking at the prices you start to wonder why there is so little music found online that was created with one or more of the acapellas.
Usually, when there's not a sale you will pay around 8 Euros per track. Immediately after you make a purchase, you get "virtual cash" in your account, which is about 10-15% of the money you just spent. You can use this "virtual cash" with a next purchase. When there's a sale, you can get an acapella for as low as five euros this way. Again, this includes a legal license to use the vocal works in your own productions.
When I discovered LOOPMASTERS.com I could not believe that I had never heard any track featuring the vocal works before, in particular with prices like these. I see some non-commercial artists using acapellas from shady sites or jingles from albums that "everyone" knows, with the result that their own productions are shady and can never be seriously considered. This ridiculously cheaply priced series from Don Goliath -and other vocal releases at LOOPMASTERS.com- should put an end to that, in my opinion.
Sure, there are many who -for one reason or another- are unable to perform online payments. Still, this can not be an excuse not to pay attention to the website or the sample packs they offer. It's what I did when I first visited the website: I downloaded the free demo files from all the Reggae vocal packs at the website and some other stuff as well, like Mad Professor's Reel to Reel Reggae. In itself, this was almost the weight of a complete sample pack but that wasn't the only fun these free downloads gave me. They included a license too!
Check this quote, straight from the Loop Masters website:
The demo loops are covered by our General Licence Terms meaning you can use them in your commercial productions with no further royalty payments. If you do use them commercially we would very much appreciate you purchasing the full pack in order to help support our Artists producing the packs, more releases and free samples.
This simply means, that every online artist can -should- register at LOOPMASTERS.com, receive a free welcome pack and start downloading the demo files. It's free and gives your releases a legal foundation, which is not just relevant for obvious reasons: it is a sign of (self-) respect as well.
It did not take me too long before I wanted more than the free packs I downloaded. These free packs, however, had already brought me on a next level. Remember, I was kind of looking for material because I hadn't been producing anything for years because I was finished with my sound. I had found the source material I was looking for. This was indeed a financial investment, but even without any purchase I have done at LOOPMASTERS.com I had material for many, many tracks. Licensed material, that is.
For me, the Loop Masters boutique has provided me with just the right material to improve my sound to a next level. Something which in my idea can easily be recognized just by playing stuff I currently release and comparing it with my older stuff, like on my album "Showcase". No, I am not talking about easy-to-build tracks. In reviews I hope to publish later on the Don Goliath series, this will become very clear. I am talking about inspiring material that challenges me to go beyond what I used to do. Material that is educational, too.
I wasn't asked or paid to do this review. I wrote it because it is my work to promote (DUB) Reggae Music. Even my own productions and releases can and should be seen in that context. I think that when properly used, the material that LOOPMASTERS.com has for the average online (DUB) Reggae artist/producer can serve as a resource to improve the quality of many, many works.
When you're serious about your work, a visit to LOOPMASTERS.com is almost as obligated as having a computer in the first place.
August 4, 2014