Finhol Auto Stomp Player & KickBox Mark III
With a decidedly lo-fi heritage, the humble foot stomp is a great way of giving the solo player a bit of bass-drum like kick. German brand Finhol has applied some serious ingenuity to the Mark III KickBox, with its low-profile walnut box, superb anti-slip matt base and choice of two digital samples - kick drum or cajon.
The small stomp box Auto Stomp Player is classed as a "human controlled drum computer", and takes an input from the KickBox, or other foot stomps.
We have a choice of 12 drum 'patterns', from lone bass drum or cajon to bass drum, snare or rim, plus hi-hats; we have similar combinations from the cajon, including a shaker, and both straight beats and a couple of shuffles.
In manual mode, as you kick in your quarter beats the snare and hi-hat follow in tempo. In auto mode you set the tempo with four kicks and the pattern plays until you kick once to stop it.
Both units sound clean and contemporary. The level between the different drums on the Auto Stomp is preset, and in drum computer territory it's basic stuff - there's no dynamic range, so the beats can sound a little relentless, but it'll certainly fill out a solo/duo performance.
The KickBox III is very neat if you want a hi-fi kick. The Auto Stomp Player is ingenious, if a little relentless in use. But both will appeal to the increasing number of us who need to fill out our performances, but retain a human element.