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Kurzweil Music Systems is proud to offer Up From The Curb: A Percussion Library Featuring Bashiri Johnson. On this CD-ROM, for Kurzweil V.A.S.T. Series instruments, you'll find loops, hits, and pickups performed by one of today's busiest, most creative session percussionists. The included instruments range from staples like congas and shakers to unique ethnic, fabricated, and "found" sounds. Bashiri Johnson has added his special magic to recordings by some of music's legendary performers - and with "Up From The Curb" and your Kurzweil synthesizer, to your recordings as well.
There are 19 loops on the disc, provided at multiple tempos. These loops were performed entirely by Bashiri, who overdubbed anywhere from four to ten instruments per loop. The loops are presented in multi-track format with one full mix sample, one sample for each individual track, and several submix samples. These loops are generally one or two bars in length. Each instrument used in the loops also has a set of "hits" - samples recorded separately from the loops. These samples are of various single hit articulations including rolls and short fills. These sets of single hits range in size from very small (2 or 3 samples) to huge (Congas from loop 12 have over 50 samples).
Bashiri Johnson started studying percussion, record production, and the music business under Miles Davis percussionist Mtume while still in his teens attending John Dewey High School in New York City. Today, he's a top call studio artist, having worked with pop artists such as Whitney Houston, Bob Dylan, Donald Fagen, and Aretha Franklin - as well as Jazz artists like Larry Coryell, Grover Washington and Miles himself. He also appears in hundreds of soundtracks for movies, TV, and advertisements. If you own a radio or a television, you've heard him. He possesses a massive collection of percussion instruments and objects, some conventional, some found, some invented, and all played with taste, flair and an uncanny knack for delivering just the right part with just the right instrument. Whether it's a Conga, a Rainstick, or a child's metal party rattle, you can find it here.
Some of the more unusual instruments included in the library are:
- African Bongo, AKA Can Drum: An African street drum, used for community gathering and festival grooves.
- African Iron: A small curved piece of iron, hit with a metal beater. Usually functions rhythmically as a clave.
- African Rattle: L-shaped, with round cut out pieces of gourd that strike against each other, creating a full-bodied shaker sound.
- Anvil: Not the traditional blacksmith's anvil, this is a metal plumbing pipe struck with a metal beater.
- Awlo: A unique iron instrument, the metallic rattling is produced by 6 small beaters sounding against a bell.
- Bash Bell: A large, cone-shaped iron bell, one of Bashiri's favorites.
- Bull Roar: A traditional South American and Australian aboriginal instrument, constructed by attaching a cord to a bow or chambered plank. The sound is made by twirling the instrument around the player's head.
- Batwa: Not an instrument, but more of a technique. It's the sound produced by alternately blowing over the mouth of a bottle and generating wordless vocalizations.
- Caxixi: (casheshe) This is a rattle found in Africa and Brazil, a woven basket with beads, gravel, or pebbles inside.
- Coil Chime: A 6-inch metal coil, found in an auto junkyard. Bashiri describes it as resembling "a big slinky." Darabuka: A type of North African Dumbek, this is a small, high-pitched drum.
- Dun Dun: An African bass drum, known as the "heartbeat drum."
- Guiro Pipe: A hollow ridged piece of metal tubing, played both by hitting and scraping.
- Hair Drum: A large Central African bass drum; the head is made from hair-covered skin.
- Humanatone Whistle: This is a whistle blown into by the player's nose. Pitch is controlled by opening and closing the vocal cavity.
- Mini Tabla: Like a Tabla...only smaller.
- Mini Talking Drum: See Mini Tabla.
- Ocean Drum: A frame drum, covered on both side and filled with BBs. The player can hit the drum in the traditional manner, or roll the drum to create an "Ocean" sound. Both these techniques are used on the CD.
- Oji: A thin, high-pitched metal Vibraslap, manufactured by a small company called Rhythm.
- Party Favor: A metal New Year's Eve party toy.
- Patum Tubes: These are long plastic tubes, cut to different lengths.
- Satellite Drum: A trippy metal percussion sculpture - made by a company called Epiphany.
- Stomp: The sound of Bashiri stomping on the studio floor.
- Sun Bells: Made by PJ Percussion, these are similar to agogo bells. The sound is produced by shaking.
- Tamb Stick: A stick with tambourine jingles on it.
- Tapon: A Brazilian snare drum.
- Tin Box: A metal box filled with pennies.
- Trash Snare: Thin, cheesy, cheap sounding snare drum.
- Thunder strip: A long sheet of metal, played by hitting or shaking.
The CD-ROM makes extensive use of the Macro feature in the Kurzweil, allowing you to load just the loops, individual hits on the instruments, ensemble hits (groups of similar instruments), loops combined with hits, loops by tempo, etc.
For the loops, various programs in each Macro give you great flexibility. The first program loaded is named for the loop ("Negril" in this case) and uses the chromatic keymap. The full mix of the loop plays at C4, and the various submixes and individual tracks play chromatically up the keyboard. Also loaded is a "Slidermix" program: Each individual tracks's volume is controlled by the K2500/K2600's 8 sliders (and Mod wheel if needed), allowing you to create your own mix for each loop. The rest of the programs loaded contain useful submixes and individual tracks.
A special group of "Modified" Macros use KDFX and V.A.S.T. processing to create completely different sounds from the same samples. Many of these programs can be used outside of the samples they are associated with here. Change the keymap and experiment with different sounds. Many of the tempo-based effects work with any loop of the same tempo (either from this disk or from other sources).
There are actually two complete sets of macros on the disc: one for users with KDFX equipped 2500s and 2600s, and one for K2000 and non-KDFX 2500 users. The only macros not available for non-KDFX users are the demos and the contents of the "Modified" directory; the data in these directories are dependent on KDFX.