Big Fish Audio | EQ Magazine Craig Anderton | Dub Basis Product Review
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Dub Basis | EQ Magazine

Reviewer: Craig Anderton Back to Dub Basis product details

The throbbing sound of dub conjures up images of Kingston, ganga haze, and . . . really heavy-duty signal processing. Is it truly possible to capture the processed, organic dub sound in canned samples? At least with Dub Basis, the answer is yes.

However, be aware that if you're looking for the old school, Burning Spear type of dub, that's not exactly what's happening. Dub Basis is more hip hop/rap meets dub; the tracks themselves lean more toward hip-hop, while the processing (with the emphasis on filtering and lo-fi) reach into the dub zone. Interestingly, some of the tracks and parts work well in a chill-out or smooth jazz context. I even jacked up some of the 85-90 BPM material to 140 BPM, and it slid into dance music grooves as if it had been designed with that in mind. It's rare to find tracks that are so versatile.

The CD-ROM offers 50 construction kits, each with a full mix and 5-20 individual tracks (several loops and lots of one-shots). The sounds are indeed full, deep, and creative, but overall I was less thrilled with the full mixes than with the individual tracks. I find the CD more useful for those"hey I need a couple cool loops for this tune" situations than when you need something that will provide the backbone for a peice, with extras overlaid on top. (It's also worth noting that some of the one-shots are pretty cool - if you're willing to take the time to go through all of them, you'll find some nice tidbits to round out your sampled drum kits.)

Unfortunately, one thing that works against the "mix and match" approach - and I hate to keep nagging companies about this - is that the acidization is wildly inconsistent. Some loops stretch well, but the majority have missed transients or misplaced markers that limit the ability to stretch tempo. Another problem is that some of the one-shots have tempo-synched delay, and really should have been acidized loops so they would work at multiple tempos.

Overall, these sounds get high marks for creativity and useability, and I'll be using this CD a lot in the future. But I'll need to tweak most of the acidization markers when I do.

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