An album title like “Ghetto Dub"Gives hope for a veritable one-drop bass monster from the deepest 1970s, brand" Blackheart Man ". When a majestic and venerable “Ancient Mountain” is also cited as an artist, the expectation rises immeasurably: an album like this has no choice but to be either crazy or terribly bad; there is zero leeway in between. But as it is with preconceived notions: They don't stand up to reality. And so the reviewer is amazed when he discovers that this is a German production. Extensive research and an interview later, the world is all right again and the album is in perspective. So let's dive right into the matter and bring on the hardcore facts:
Ancient Mountain is a label, studio and musical project by Martin Musch and Markus Dassmann. While the latter plays bass, guitar, piano, organ and melodica as a multi-instrumentalist, Musch contributes the drums and mix and is thus setting the tone in the truest sense of the word. The drummer is no stranger to anyone who reads liner notes - with Uwe Banton's Movements, the Sharp Ax Band or Irie Miah's Massive Vibes, he has long been an integral part of the German reggae scene; You don't need to say a word more about Markus Dassmann from the Senior Allstars.
"Ghetto Dub Flight. 2“(Ancient Mountain Records) is not their first collaboration; Dassmann was the lead on the 2020 De Soto album “Silverado Days” and implemented his musical ideas. This becomes obvious in a direct listening comparison: "Silverado Days“Could pass for a more accessible Senior Allstars album; not nearly as top-heavy, but the mix is a typical old man's release: flatter than flat. “These are almost 15 year old home studio recordings that Markus recorded and mixed single-handedly - I only contributed the drums,” explains Musch. “For the Ancient Mountain recordings, on the other hand, we use a professional analog studio with a Hammond organ with a Leslie speaker; there is a piano, a Wurlitzer e-piano, a huge selection of old (tube) mics and the corresponding technology. ”Then the old school recordings go to his own Ancient Mountain Studio, where Musch does the things“ hybrid ” mixed with the help of selected analog EQ's and compressors, spring reverb and a small desk.
Ghetto Dub Vol. 2 and its predecessor (currently only available on Bandcamp) Flight. 1 are - contrary to the expectations of the title - inspired by the classic idea of B-Sides and Versions. “As a“ Ghetto Dub"We call a variety of reggae - the classically hard-played and reduced Channel One sound in minor, as cultivated by the Revolutionaries or the Roots Radics in their heyday at the end of the 1970s to the beginning of the 80s." Apart from that, according to Musch, “Ghetto”, far removed from the socio-cultural context, of course also means a space of limited possibilities and improvisation. In other words: None of the tracks were recorded with the intention of an album release. It is rather the classic recycling of leftovers - from a hodgepodge of musical ideas that has accumulated over time and was too good to throw away; of musical fragments that were not published elsewhere and remained. However, this does not detract from the quality of the material: "What ultimately counts with Ancient Mountain are good songs and a special analog sound."
The exercise was a success: “Ghetto Dub Vol. 2 “does not shine with rushing Dub-Effects - the simple and therefore all the more catchy bass lines are the best classic reggae craft. Martin Musch congenially gives his best Sly Dunbar: “We can't deny our musical background: Channel One, Sly & Robbie, the Roots Radics etc. are musical giants who have created this unique sound and which we are trying to reproduce. "
No question, original sounds and high-quality sound are personally more important to Musch than flashy effects: “We only use acoustic instruments. A grand piano that is picked up with two condenser microphones still sounds different than the best emulation. ”Especially with the drums, which Musch played mostly without a click track, the analog recording technology suits listening habits very well. “With my background as a drummer, I try to create an exciting contrast between soft sounds and percussive elements. Of course, a lot of sound also comes from the fingers, i.e. from many years of experience. Without an accomplished universal musician like Markus Dassmann, Ancient Mountain would certainly sound different. "
So routine and ability versus creative daring? Well, with “Ghetto Dub Vol. 2 “will certainly not be celebrating King Tubby's resurrection - Musch and Dassmann rely on small bass jewels and the classic, but now worlds better sounding analogue sound: Channel One Deluxe, so to speak. Just two mediocre excursions into the funky disturb the album flow and diminish the positive overall impression - without them the album would probably be the most coherent leftovers ever.