Big Fish Audio | Home Recording Thad Brown | R&B Backline Product Review
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R&B Backline | Home Recording

Reviewer: Thad Brown Back to R&B Backline product details

No style of music is better represented with loop libraries than hip hop and R&B. These genres rely on sliced-up sounds programmed with a good beat box, and the grooves in turn often depend heavily on 60's and 70's funk and soul tunes for both their sounds and feel. Those live source grooves also form a basis of a killer loop CD, and R&B Backline ($99.95) from Big Fish Audio delivers on this promise.

R&B Backline, subtitled "Chuck Webb's Rhythm Section," is a collection of loops of electric bass and drums. Chuck Webb is a highly respected session bass player who has worked with jazz, funk, and R&B luminaries. The drummer on this collection, Khari Parker, has been playing with Destiny's Child; yet judging from this collection, he could play with anybody from Hank Williams Jr. to Bill Laswell.

The two words that describe the two CDs (one audio CD and one with the loops as Acidized WAV files) are live and groovy. The expertly recorded drum kit sounds full and roomy, and the sharp, penetrating bass sounds are ready to fit into a mix. Each individual groove has two versions of the drums and bass playing together, and then each track isolated for the respective instrument. Played together or individually, these loops have a pocket as deep as the Dockers on Bill Gates. The tempos vary from 71 to 115 BPM, but generally stick in the comfy 85-100 BPM range where most R&B lives these days. Classic soul music respected few boundaries between musical styles, and some of these loops would fit nicely in a rock tune with even a touch of funk. Plainly put, a killing live groove always sounds good. The bass playing is just as good as one would expect from a seasoned pro, but file away the name Khari Parker as well. I expect to hear about him more in the future.

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