Contact: Big Fish Audio, www.bigfishaudio.com
Format: DVD-ROM with 50 construction kits duplicated as WAV, REX, and Apple Loops files; 24-bit/44.1kHz
Price: $69.95 list
Something about this DVD-ROM really works. It’s not that all the loops are amazingly spectacular; it’s that they work together well, provide a solid foundation, and there’s no filler. You can use the construction kits as is, but I mix and match a lot — although the kits are in various keys, much of the best material (drums, percussion, scratches, etc.) isn’t key-dependent and adds different flavors to other kits. Speaking of scratches, there’s a ton of good ones; there are also selected one-shot hits in each kit. Tempos range from 70 to 140BPM, but hover mostly around 100BPM.
As to quality control, some drum loops end with a fraction of a second of attack, while some other types of loops end abruptly, with a click. Still, a quick exponential fade solves either problem, and what really counts — musical, muscular, and useable loops — is in place.
Again, let me emphasize this isn’t ground-breaking material, but that’s also its strength: Hip Hop City is like the bass player who always shows up on time, plays in time and with feeling, is grateful for the paycheck, and smiles a lot . . . in other words, the bass player you keep calling back. The fact that this collection has a good attitude, lots of variety, strong playing, and still weighs in for under $70 is impressive — check out the example to the right.