Tag Archives: loopmasters

The Lifeshare Loops from Realstrings: Hip-Hop and RnB

The Lifeshare Loops from Realstrings: Hip-Hop and RnB

This is a loops pack with a difference.  You get 28, 4-bar, real strings phrases, minor  and modal keys, recorded at 90 bpm, written to work with urban, RnB and hip-hop styles, performed with all the guts and emotion of real strings.

And your money goes to the homeless charity Lifeshare.

All proceeds from the sale of this pack go to Lifeshare.

Homelessness is a devastaing social problem and it’s up to us to respond.  Buy this pack to get the raw emotion of real strings in your music and help to alleviate the hardship of homelessness as well.

With thanks to the string players (Sarah Brandwood-Spencer, Paulette Bayley, Alex Stemp, Simon Turner and Nick Trygstad), my colleague Julian Cole who has developed a Kontakt version, George Atkins at 80 Hertz studio and the guys at Loopmasters.

Broken Chords

Broken ChordsString instruments can do all sorts of quirky things, like rolling broken chords. I’ve turned this technique into a loops pack.

These are 3 and 4 notes chords bowed across the strings, up and down, creating a distinctive rolling texture.  There are 94 chord patterns, recorded across 4 bars, at 100 and 120 bpm.  The loops cover major, minor and open 5th chords, and unusual patterns like augmented, diminished and sus chords.


The pack also includes sustained notes with rising and falling dynamics and a Kontakt instrument.

Here’s a look inside.

And a demo featuring the loops.

Realstrings 5: Uplifting Cinematic

My biggest string loops project to date has just been released at Loopmasters. Realstrings 5: Uplifting Cinematic.

RS5-CoverThe theme of this pack (and another coming out later this year) is uplifting, inspiring, good-feel, sync-friendly strings.  Everyone wants their music to get synced.  It’s additional revenue, it’s exposure, it’s kudos.  Advertising, documentaries, sports, drama, they all need music, ‘cos however great the visuals, it’s the music that brings out the emotion in their stories.

Listen to any music to picture, and more often than not, strings are in the mix, since they support emotion and character so convincingly.

This is a collection of 640 real strings loops and phrases, written around common chord sequences and presented in 10 construction kits, at tempos from 120 – 130 bpm.   Use individual phrases, or stack them up for rich orchestration.

All the loops are 4 bars, supplied as full mixes and separate stems (violins 1, violins 2, violas, cellos). Most files are 5 bar in length, to include the ambient tail.

Each construction kit includes:

  • Pads for warm, flowing, simple chord movement.
  • Rising lines,  to create crescendos and a musical lift.
  • Melodies that sweep and soar.
  • Figures, to bubble along and provide movement.
  • Staccatos for punch and drive.
  • Riffs that are simple and hooky.
  • Runs for sudden, swirling flourish.

This short video takes a look inside the pack.

And here is a demo track produced by Julian Cole.

Realstrings Vol 4: hip hop

Hot on the heels of our credit for Kanye West, comes another loops pack – Realstrings Volume 4: hip hop.

A collection of 83, 2-bar loops (full and stripped down mixes), plus 72 phrases, at tempos from 75 – 100 bpm.  The material reflects how strings are typically used in hip hop, featuring minor and modal harmony, staccato rhythms and stabs, musical influences from disco, world and classical, dark as well as dynamic moods, and gritty performance.  The pack is available from Loopmasters.

This video looks inside the pack, and explores what strings bring to hip hop.


Skrillex and realstrings

My son likes to pick out tunes on the piano, like you do, and I help him find the notes if he gets stuck.  He’s nailed the Axel F theme and asked to learn another one, which he sang to me, and opened up on YouTube.  The riff he was singing sounded familiar.  It was; I wrote it.

Skrillex – love him or hate him.  His name makes Dubstep afficianados involuntarily vomit apparently.  The tune  Ruffneck has plays in the millions on Youtube.  Not sure if it’s getting loads of radio play or selling much.

There’s some debate on music forums about where the string samples are from, with suggestions that they’re off an 80s pop or tv track.

Nope, they are all from Disco Strings, by realstrings.com, 20 quid from Loopmasters. 

Here they are at their original tempo of 114 bpm.  Loops 18A, 18B and 66B.

It’s probably about the only time my lad has had any interest in Dad’s work!

Building blocks

My last 2 loops libraries with Loopmasters have been construction kits.  Mike Skinner of The Streets snapped up this concept with the last release from the band before he moved on, as featured on The Guardian website last year, which is constructed almost entirely with strings from Realstrings Volume 2.

rs vol 3In designing loops libraries, I (naturally) try to make them usable in as many musical situations as possible; one usage I envisage is for video and film editors.  Many will be making full use of loops and sequencing tech so it is a natural progression to supply building blocks in loops packs.  Indeed, many composers work in this way, creating musical elements than can interact and overlay.

Here is a track constructed entirely from one set of loops in Realstrings Volume 3, using the solo loops rather than the more common ensemble loops, and it shows how the pack can quickly be used to create a music bed with all the emotional content of string writing, and the flesh and blood of real instruments.

Logic String Loops

Share or buy?

The debate about fie sharing has been running for years.  I’m not in the camp that says the technology that permits file-sharing is killing the media industry; it’s the same technology that has revolutionised my life and work, so complaining about tech advances is hypocrasy on my part.  Taking something that you should pay for isn’t tech’s fault; it’s a weakness of human nature.

So how do I react when my loops libraries, which are an important part of my portfolio of work, appear on file sharing sites?  I am on a sales royalty (a minority percentage) so unless the libraries generate income, my investment is wasted, as are the investments of Loopmasters.  (My investment is time, studio and musicians’ fees.)

I’m frustrated, angry but ultimately optimistic.

Each copy taken does not necessarily mean a lost sale.
Some who search for a string loops library will buy it, some will take it.  Some will stumble across it and it and take it, just ‘cos they can, but probably wouldn’t buy it.

File-sharers ultimately become file buyers.
I may struggle to remember the distant past, but I know for sure that I was young, and stupid and short of money and mad that I couldn’t seem to afford everything I wanted.  But I’m older and wiser and have some social responsibility and a conscience now.  I pay for software and media because I know that’s what keeps the business going.

My brand gains wider exposure.
There’s been a lot written about the artist and the brand, and how wide acceptance of your brand ultimately leads to income (still not sure how exactly).  A recent post here was about RCVR, a short-film series with a big budget, given away to viewers on Youtube.  The guys doing that stuff are wiser than me, so I’m confident brand improves, even from a file-sharing site.

I’m overwhelmingly optimistic.  Jeez, I hope I’m not convincing anyone to turn to file sharing just ‘cos I can list at least some positives!

When my latest library appeared on file-sharing sites recently, I was, at first, incensed by 2 things; the page contained not only the text and logos from Loopmasters but the video I prepared to demonstrate the library.  And the file sharing site carried ads from well-known companies, which I interpret as the corporate big boys condoning file sharing.

That 2nd point I’m still pissed off about, the first gives me some interesting data.

I have a Youtube channel and the views for the Realstrings Volume 3 video were high, by my standards.  Youtube is even suggesting I carry ads for my vids to make some revenue.  So my brand is getting exposure and positive feedback.  But the list shows something pretty depressing – the hits from file sharing sites far out-weigh the hits from sales sites.  By a ratio of about 4:1 as far as I can tell.

Of course, a Youtube hit from a sales site doesn’t necessarily mean a sale, but this is at indication, at least, of take v buy.

I don’t think I can do much about it, other than try to capitalise on brand awareness and encourage the takers to become buyers in the future.  I expect advertisers to pull out though and Google, ffs, stop putting file sharing results in your searches!