MTM RECOMMENDED AWARD
As sample CDs have proliferated over the years, the majority of manufacturers have tended to stick to a particular style of music for each release rather than cutting a broader swath through a range of musical genres - as many earlier titles did. And, outwardly at least, Dub Basis gives all the signs of continuing this trend: the front cover modestly describes it as a collection of dub and hip hop construction kits. This it might well be, but the rather limited description could well be loosing Big Fish Audio potential customers for a sample collection which actually has much broader appeal.
That said, it's very difficult to say where its appeal does lie. Besides dub and hip-hop, you could also find uses for it in chill out, jazz and possibly soul music - and even that wouldn't cover it. The sleeve blurb rightly warns against expecting to find any 'out of the box' sounds among the 50 construction kits, contrasting the ecleticism of the library's broad sonic palette with the predictable analogue synth sounds used in so many contemporary loops and samples - and we could say the same for the grooves themselves.
In fact, originality permeates every aspect of this collection - much as with Smokers Delight (reviewed in the October 2003 issue). It doesn't have quite the same cool irresistibility as that groove library, but with its stylistic axis somewhere between the south Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, it makes for compelling listing - particularly given the inclusion of an audio CD which, unlike the .WAV-file CD-ROM, can be auditioned away from the computer.
An original, highly idiosyncratic collection with much broader appeal than the sleeve suggests.