It's almost like DUB was created for the
technologies that would arise in the decades after
the music was born in the late 1960's, early 70's:
Zion Train's DUB Selection is another very fine
example of that. For just over 50 Euros, you're
being provided with powerful drums, real bass,
real keys, real vocals and: real horns!
The package, about five gigabytes large,
basically comes in two parts: REX and WAV. Even
though the wave files contain some most
interesting material, a look at the Rex section
provides you with a quick-start, especially for
owners of Reason and such programs.
Which is exactly what we'll do at the start of
THE REX FILES
Some browsing through the Rex files within
Reason comes up with some -more or less- matching
loops incredibly quick. After about 25 minutes,
yours truly collected a couple of drum loops, a
bass line from a bass guitar, some keys and a
matching trombone section.
A little bit of Dub mixing followed, with a
truly simple set-up containing just two echo's,
one reverb (in initial mode) and the filters on
the Dr. Rex loop player. A very interesting
experience as the sound of Neil Perch's studio
blended with the effects, definitely creating
The result? A four-minute Dub that sounds pretty
ZION TRAIN DUB SELECTION 1: ENTERING THE
Admitted: there was a little bit of cheating
involved. At the start of the Dub, you can hear an
introduction which did not come with the Rex
files, but rather was the result of a sneak
preview at the wave files, which can also be
opened in Reason and triggered with the drum
These wave files contain, next to the same
material which can be found in the Rex section,
some very interesting stuff. Included in this is
an impressive selection of vocal recordings, some
of which have a rather melodic approach.
In the second tune created for this review, two
of these vocal samples are included. That is, on
top of a piano and organ from the Dubroom library
and a couple of matching loops which were grabbed
rather quickly. Again, just to see what can be
done just a short while after you have the discs
or downloads available for use.
ZION TRAIN DUB SELECTION 2: WATCH HOW YOU'RE
An advantage of the fact that most loops come
in the Rex format, lies within the possibility of
these files to play in another tempo than the
loops were originally recorded. This enables the
owner of the Zion Train Dub Selections to dive
deeper and combine loops from various tempo's in
order to create something completely new.
Add some horns, some keys, a clavinet, a
bassline and drums. Restructure some of these
loops, like the bass, and make a riddim that has a
vibe. On top of that, take 8 bars of toasting from
the vocal samples, then cut and paste them in the right
place of the rhythm.
Such a thing opens up deeper possibilities of
the package, especially for those producers among
us who are willing to spend a little bit more time
before the dubbing can start.
Here's how such a riddim sounds like, again
with the use of only two echo's, a basic reverb
and the filters on the various devices themselves.
The vocals fit in just fine, et voila:
ZION TRAIN DUB SELECTION 3: IN TUNE WITH THE
Finally, a fourth tune, done with some quick
grabbing of chords, a horn lick, a bassline, drums
and some vocals:
ZION TRAIN DUB SELECTION 4: PICK IT UP IN
Admitted, there was some final mastering done
outside of Reason, but that wasn't much more than
a limiter and subsequent normalizing. It should be
More important: the setups used in Reason for
these three dubs were kept to the most simple
level, in order to show the basic power of the
loops. Basic power, which can and should be seen
as self-evident for everyone remotely involved in
the production of computer and loop based DUB
THE WAVE FILES
Where the Rex format is designed for the
software which can deal with it (Propellerhead
Reason for example, a crucial tool for the
computer based Dub producer), Wave Files are much
more open in nature.
They require editing, subsequent sequencing and
possibly more editing. They will keep you busy for
many hours before you're able to produce something
within your sequencer or multi-track recorder. But
then, you're really able to deal with the depth
provided by Neil Perch in this excellent sample
So, let's leave the Rex files for a while and focus on
that biggest part of the sample and
loop collection: the wave files. They're all
formatted in high quality 24 bit, and can be
divided into two different sections: loops and
A look at the samples, first.
THE VOCAL WAVE FILES
stands out is the enormous amount of vocal hooks
and licks, jingles if you will, some of which we
already heard in the first three audio examples
that come with this review. Some of these jingles
can also be found on two podcasts from Radio
Dubroom 2010 (see further in this review).
Zion Train works a lot with vocalists Brother
Culture and Dubdadda, both of which contributed to
the vocal files, 50 in total. They vary from
"short shouts" ("now man",
"ease up", etc) to more melodic and long
parts, which you might have to cut and paste a
little bit, just like was done in the third DUB
On top of that, a lot of vocal parts can
be used for radio shows as much as your own Dub
productions. Just like the multitude of sound
effects you can find as well, by the way.
THE FX WAVE FILES
The effects are divided into three categories:
"Lush FX", "Atmospheres" and
"analogue Noises". The three of them
each come with their own puropse and idea,
alltogether the possibilities of use are rather
The Lush FX are definitely the most versatile.
They come from an analogue synthesizer and contain
many beeps, sweeps and siren-style sounds. When properly
put into echo, they will definitely
spice up just about any Dub tune.
In two different podcasts of Radio Dubroom
2010, you can listen to some jingles and Lush FX,
so that you can listen for yourself.
RADIO DUBROOM 2010 CHAPTER 17: THE WARRIORS
RADIO DUBROOM 2010 CHAPTER 20: RUFF AND TUFF
The Atmospheres are more designed for Dub
productions, even though there's a lot you can put
in podcasts as well. Predominantly, they can be
described as short audio-movie clips: a lot of
nature sounds, for example. Indeed: field
Synthesizer atmospheres are there too: they
will serve just fine as intro, outro or intermezzo
in your own Dub creations, with or without the
The Analogue Noises form yet a third and
different category. These are not just samples, a
lot of them can be used as background (or
foreground) loops. Loads of techno/house vibes,
which -when combined with crucial Roots drum and
bass lines- serve very well in contemporary DUB.
THE OTHER WAVE FILES
On top of the vocal and effects samples, the
bulk of the wave files are loops. Drums, Bass,
Keys, and Horns (defined as Lo-Fi brass).
THE DRUM WAVE
There are 40 different drum rhythms, all with a
couple of variations. You don't just get the drum loops,
each specific drum is also separately recorded and
put along with the full drum loops. This doesn't
just enable you to make a different balance of
the drum mix, for example you might want to
increase the bass drum, it's also perfect for
those that want to convert their wave files into
dr rex loops in order to create their own drum
THE BASS WAVE FILES
72 live bass lines and 50 synth lines: that's
more than enough to create several albums full of
new riddims. They range from very militant lines
obviously designed for steppers drums to more
relaxed lines, deeper if you will, for the perfect
One Drop dub. Many lines, when you hear them, will
produce a drum rhythm in your head and there's a
huge change you'll find a matching drum rhythm
Every line tells you the start chords to play
along with as well as the BPM tempo (of course).
On top of the lines, you get all the relevant
notes as well to load in your sampler in order to
make your own bassline.
THE KEYBOARD WAVE FILES
The same thing -and more- can be said about the
Keys files. There's piano, Rhodes piano,
organ, and even clavinet: the "whole"
original keyboard section that we know from the
The loops are versatile, like the bass lines.
From piano chords cutting like a sword (especially
with some strategically placed reverb) to organ
shuffles, from unmistakable clavinet licks to the
Rhodes piano which gives that ancient vibe.
On top of the loops, the keys are provided as
single tones too so you can load them in your
sampler. Just like the bass lines. However, all
the instruments also come with single chord hits!
When you're really lazy you can just pick a few
chords, load them in the drum computer, put them
on the 2 and the 4, and off you go.
THE HORN SECTION WAVE FILES
Arguably the most important part of the whole
package can be found in the "Lo-Fi
Brass" map. Lo-Fi? Maybe because the
recordings are analogue, definitely not recorded
in high definition. Crucial, because a horn
section which is too clean just doesn't seem to
fit in Reggae, it makes the music a bit too clean.
After all, you want effects on top of all
instruments... At least, in the opinion of yours truly.
Horns are well-sought after, both within the
circles of musicians trying to form collectives or
bands as well as the contemporary Dub/Reggae
producer who makes use of digital technology. For
many people, the horns are just as much part of
Reggae as the bass, at least, almost.
If only for this reason alone one and ones
should get this pack, the price won't
do much harm and for that you get no less than 208
different loops. Structured after opening chord
and BPM tempo, that is. Some are part of
one riddim, others seem to be more or less standing on
their own. All of them can and should be used in
many Dub productions to come.
Unfortunately, there are no single hits for the
horn section but a little bit of editing in the
wave files would even provide you with that, this
in spite of the fact that the themes and rhythm
loops themselves provide more than enough already.
THE ZION TRAIN DUB SELECTIONS
Even though most of the loops are also
available in Rex format, not all are. Especially
the horns need to be transformed into the
increasingly popular format which does require
some work but this same goes for those who want to
use the wave files alone.
You might need to browse a bit before you'll
find matching chords, bassline and horns.
Otherwise,. enough room for editing and sampling
to make your own. For this
review, we only scratched the surface as the time
to dig deeper was simply not there. Numbers used
in the end of the file names at first suggested
some kind of reference to matching files but after
asking Neil Perch of the Zion Train about it, he
said that these numbers could be ignored.
That said: you will not want to miss out on
this treasure of DUB niceness, first of all. At the
moment this is written (September 2010) the price
is just about 50 Euros which might require some to
wait a month or so but then, you're already
interested in the production of Dubwise and
probably invested something already.
All kinds of styles are represented and can be
created out of the enormous wealth of material,
all kind of production techniques can be applied
which makes the collection interesting for people
with a complete studio to producers limited to
The four quick Dub tracks which come with this
review proof it, as far as we here in the Dubroom
are concerned: just a quick grabbing of (closely)
matching loops and samples makes it possible to
create very decent-sounding productions.
expect when deeper digging and more time is used
to open up the box even more?
HERE TO CHECK OUT A DEMO PACK OR GET IT RIGHT NOW!