Big Fish Audio | Sound On Sound Paul Sellars | Funk City Product Review
Skip to content

Funk City | Sound On Sound

Reviewer: Paul Sellars | Rating: 5 out of 5 Back to Funk City product details

Don't be deceived by the rather naff cover artwork: this library is actually impressively well put together, containing many very usable sounds recorded at 16-bit, 44.1kHz resolution. There are 29 different construction kits, plus an additional folder containing 19 types of single-hit drum and percussion sounds, ideal for programming extra fills or for ornamentation.

The kits cover a 95-130bpm range and stylistically provide more or less exactly what you'd expect. There's a strong hint of the '70s about many of them, although the production is bang up to date and steers clear of any self-consciously 'retro' touches. Live instrumentation is the order of the day, and various musicians are credited for drums, guitar, bass, alto/tenor/baritone sax, keyboards, vocals, and scratch effects. Particular credit is due to one Butch Taylor, who apparently supplies the guitar and the bass parts for this collection, and proves himself equally adept at both.

There's always a danger with this kind of library that the artists will start out demonstrating an affectionate knowledge of the conventions of their chosen genre, and end up drifting into an overdone parody or caricature of the same. Not so here: it's all judged more or less perfectly. So although the construction kits are bursting at the seams with sleazy wah-wah rhythm guitars, thunking slap-bass lines, spiky clavinets, and fat legato synth leads, the results always manage to sound solid, lively, and convincing - funky rather than funny.

The horn parts stab, blast, and generally punctuate the proceedings in all the right places, while some nice organ and Rhodes piano sounds hover in the background. The drummer fulfils his role admirably, never over-playing, and the conventional kit sounds are often augmented by conga patterns, which add some extra life and movement to the rhythm section. Even the sounds which are most difficult to make work (and which a cynic like me might expect to fall horribly flat) are handled with aplomb. I'm thinking particularly of the scratch effects, and occasional spoken or rapped vocal interjections. These could easily have descended into the realm of cringe-making novelties, but instead are deployed tastefully and with well-judged restraint.

This is a top-notch sample library, which maintains high standards of musicianship and production throughout. It delivers exactly what it promises, never straying from its chosen territory. The samples are consistently usable, with no obvious filler. Funk, soul, and urban producers in general will find plenty to work with here, and would be well advised to put Funk City somewhere near the top of their shopping lists.

Back to top