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Big Fish Audio | Kontrol Freaks 2

Sample Library By Mike Senior
Published December 2010

This set of 40 hip‑hop backing‑track construction kits is the work of producer Soul‑G and includes Apple Loops, Acidised WAV and REX formats. Each kit is showcased via a short demonstration full mix and then all the constituent layers are separated out as individual loops. The drums are presented not only as a mixed file, but also as a series of single‑instrument loop and one‑shots. This is handy, because the mixed loops are all digitally clipped — not any more than is common in a lot of hip‑hop releases these days, to be fair, but I'd much rather make up my own mind about how much to clip my drums.


Overall, the groove is more about about lumbering impetus than nodding danceability, and the murderous seriousness of much of the emotional tone reminds me a lot of Notorious BIG in his prime: it might sound laid back, but it'll shoot you as soon as look at you! The nice tight kicks are a highlight, while snares are usually more understated, focusing the listener's attention on the muscly low‑end and any vocal overdubs you might add. Basses are typically warm and round, with a hint of funk to them, frequently tipping the hat to Dr Dre.

There are few holds barred in terms of forces for the rest of the arrangement: you get a wide range of acoustic, electric and electronic instruments. However, it has to be said that the collection seems to lean more towards the latter two categories, and there's some tremendously characteristic lead and rhythm synth programming, in particular, with deceptively simple lines that somehow add up to more than the sum of their parts. The use of contrast is superb, with each sound differentiating itself beautifully from the rest, not least via artful effects use. This heightens the drama of momentary textural changes and also makes things a doddle to mix!

Soul‑G's use of vinyl samples is arresting too, showing an instinctive ear for pitching, editing, and otherwise sculpting, such that they fit into arrangement pockets where their interesting details can really shine out. That enviable hip‑hop skill of mining commercial potential from the cheesiest and most banal sources is also very much in evidence. I usually break out in a rash at '80s‑style FM synth sounds or mark-tree glissandi, but he somehow manages to get away with using both of these offenders in his mixes without me batting an eyelid. In a word: voodoo.

And that's not the only magic here. I love the way Soul‑G incorporates gritty, noisy samples into the track while maintaining an 'expensive' sound, and it's great that, without hiding his influences, he always seems to add something unique to the brew. Overall, this is a welcome change from hip‑hop libraries that seem intent on regurgitating partly digested photocopies of the latest chart sensations. Leave those titles for the jingle merchants and go to Kontrol Freaks 2 if you want a dose of the real deal. Mike Senior