AMG REVIEW: 1981's Basic isn't exactly an instrumental album; there are vocals on several tracks, but most of them aren't by R. Stevie Moore, and most of the album's best tracks are either pure instrumentals or extended tracks with lengthy instrumental sections. The opening track, the Durutti Column tribute "For Vini," is Basic's best (and best-known) song, and the rest of the album continues in the same low-key vein, with several brief snatches of songs and dialogue segments interspersed with the more traditional fare. Most of the album is recorded with an actual rhythm section (either Chris Bolger or guest vocalist Margaux on bass and either Jim Price or Irwin Chusid on drums), which means that Basic lacks the occasionally sprawling one-man-band quality of some of Moore's earlier instrumental-oriented albums. While Basic is a mildly rambling, casual affair, it's not unfocused or boring, and fans of Moore's less pop-oriented material will find much to like.
–Stewart Mason, All Music Guide