Today UJAM have released the Beatmakers, a Trio of New “Virtual Drummer” Drum Instrument plug-ins - Dope, Eden and Hustle. While these three instruments follow the stripped down interface found in the current UJAM drum instruments. For examples see my recent review of SOLID. I was so impressed I gave it an Expert’s Choice Award. Rather than being aimed broadly at styles such as rock with HEAVY and Hip Hop with PHAT, these three instruments are very specifically aimed at much narrower sub-genres.
While the creation of genre-specific plug-ins is nothing new, examples which come to mind range from Softube’s Metal Amp Room, through signature plug-ins from mixers who are known for a specific style of music, for example the Butch Vig Vocals plug-in from Waves, through to the EZ Mix series from Toontrack, in which for example there is a Reggae EZ Mix Pack.
"Hip Hop? What Kind Of Hip Hop"?
So genre-specific plug-ins are nothing new but the thing about these releases from UJAM which has caught my attention is that the styles are very specific indeed. I see these as potentially a very smart move, as producers within dance and urban styles adhere very closely to the conventions of each style in terms of sounds, rhythms and tempos. The instruments include Macros which allow one-knob control of several parameters at once (compression EQ, reverb, delay), all programmed to be appropriate to the style.
Can't You Do All This With Sample Packs?
Extremely specific sample collections have been available for years but with samples you either have inflexible loops or you need the skill and time to programme your beats from individual hits or from a sampler. With these new instruments from UJAM, users have access to the appropriate sounds and rhythms for the style in which they are working but with all the advantages of a flexible instrument which doesn’t present you with option-paralysis-inducing levels of choice. Just the beats you need and the flexibility to be able to steer your virtual drummer without having to direct every last hit.
So What Styles Do Dope, Eden And Hustle Cover?
Dope is aimed at people producing Boombaprap, Eden is tailored to EDM and Hustle is for Trap. The sounds, processing and rhythms are all genre appropriate so if you have the ideas and the lyrics production could get much quicker. The MSRP is at $129/129€, but there is an introductory price of $99/99€ each. It makes me wonder which genre they will focus on next?
What do you think about sub-genre specific Instrument plug-ins? What style of music wold you like to see next?