Big Fish Audio | Sound On Sound Magazine John Walden | Groove Planet Product Review
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Groove Planet | Sound On Sound Magazine

Reviewer: John Walden | Rating: 5 Stars Back to Groove Planet product details

Big Fish Audio's Groove Planet is a pretty straightforward sample library. The bulk of this collection is a series of 22 loop-based construction kits, with most loops consisting of electric bass and acoustic drums. A small number of 'bonus' instruments are also included, based on the instruments used within the loops. In total, there are some 300 samples, broken down into various bass articulations, and two drum kits, all supplied in Reason NN-XT, Gigastudio and Kontakt formats, although the raw WAV files could obviously be used to build similar instruments in other sampler formats if required.

I tested the loops via Acid Pro 6. The construction kits come in a variety of keys and tempos ranging from 85 to 185 bpm. Within each kit, there are different numbers of bass and drum loops, but these are each labelled 'a', 'b', and so on, suggesting a pairing between a specific drum loop and associated bass loop. The smallest kits have four loops in total, while the largest has 16. Each kit also includes a pre-mixed WAV, so it is easy to audition the kit and hear what can be done. Sonically, the bass and drum sounds seem very consistent across the various kits. This is a distinct advantage here, as it makes it easier to mix and match loops across the kits for some extra variety.

Musically, the loops could work within a number of different contexts. While the playing is most definitely funky throughout, the sounds are pretty classic and would therefore also fit quite happily in a rock context or, in one or two cases, something with more of a dance influence. For example, the 'Bonzo' loops cross a John Bonham-style drum performance with a Chili Peppers bass line. In contrast, 'Wilderness' - while funky - has a beautiful mellow feel to it. The 'Pretty Ugly' kit would make a good 'Police meet Chili Peppers' crossover and, for a more obviously '70s vibe, 'Harsky and Stutch' pushes all the right buttons.

With only 22 construction kits - and in some of these, only four loops - some might suggest that Groove Planet was a little skinny on content. This would, however, be a little unfair on two counts. First, the asking price is modest and is not going to hit any potential purchasers too hard. Second, and more importantly, the quality of the content is excellent. The recordings are very good, but it is the performances that really make these loops stand out. And in concentrating upon just bass and drum loops, Big Fish Audio have given funk-rock producers some excellent backbones around which to construct a full piece. If you would like a small-but-beautifully-formed slice of funk-rock rhythm section, Groove Planet is well worth checking out. Now, excuse me, I'm off to make some funky music..

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