Tropical Dub Connection: Outtanational Steppa's Mixtape Vol. 2

Finally arrived: The second stage of Tropical's musical world tour DUB Connection, “Outtanational Steppa's Mixtape Vol. 2“ is completed. Another fascinating one Dub-Album that picks up seamlessly from its predecessor. Like Vol. 1, it weaves musical influences from many styles of global pop and traditional "world music" with the powerful sound of Dub. A kaleidoscopic experience that takes us on a sound journey around the world. The collection of diverse styles and musical cultures ranges from Argentina to Cuba, Portorico, Jamaica, Great Britain, USA, Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, India, Turkey and the Republic of Tuva. Each of these countries contributes its harmonies, instruments, rhythms and melodies that are here Dub be merged. The album is a truly global journey and a unique auditory experience. From the meditative sounds and songs of the Indian subcontinent with instruments such as santoor, sarangi, bansuri flute, shenai, sitar and tanpura, to the pulsating African balafon, kora, ngoni and tribal voices to modern Afrobeats. The musical diversity is extensive. And there's more of it: Southern country blues, Argentine tango and the oriental vibes of the Turkish baglama, the Alaturka violin and the Mey flute. All of these elements create an impressive mosaic of sounds and rhythms that allows us listeners to delve deeply into the cultural essence of each culture. Sound too eclectic? It may be that a few instruments, rhythms and harmonies do not do justice to a complex musical culture. But this is not about the portrait of specific musical traditions, but rather about the creation of a global sound under the sign of Dub. We acoustically fly over regions, countries and even entire continents within a few minutes. What we realize is that the whole world is full of fascinating music beyond our limited horizons. What there is to discover! The album is not only an impressive musical achievement, but also a testament to the power of music to overcome barriers and bring cultures together. The blend of traditional and modern sounds creates a bridge between past and present, East and West, providing a captivating listening experience that celebrates the earth's cultural richness. Despite its diversity, “Outtanational Steppas Mixtape Vol. 2” remains one in its essence Dub-Album. The production is superb, and the mix manages to weave the diverse sounds into a harmonious whole. The journey the album offers is not only entertaining but also enlightening and inspiring. It invites you to experience the world through your ears and enjoy the universal language of music.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Hollie Cook: Happy Hour in Dub

"Why we a Dub Make an album of Happy Hour? Because we wanted to bring out the many musical details that were still to be discovered and uncovered in the songs,” explains producer Ben Mckone. Logically, because Hollie Cook's bright voice is so present in her music that it covers a lot of what is happening musically in the background. That is why there is nowhappy hour in Dub“ (Merge), the Dubversion of their 2022 Lovers Rock album Happy Hour. Nice because I love Dubversions and I still had the instrumental and Dub-Versions of their Prince Fatty productions in ear. But what a disappointment! Unfortunately, "Happy Hour In" is missing Dub' the musical power and inventiveness that characterized Cook's earlier work, particularly that produced by Prince Fatty. The production and instrumentation are technically flawless, but formal excellence does not make good music. There's happy hour in Dub There are definitely moments of brilliance, the sometimes beautiful arrangements and the skillful mixing are impressive - yes, the details Mckone mentioned actually exist - but the album as a whole remains pretty bloodless. Apart from that, the strings and synth pads as well as cheesy background harmonies, which repeatedly conjure up the typical Lovers Rock atmosphere, are simply annoying. But that may be an entirely subjective assessment. I don't like hits, no matter what genre and musical culture they are. All the more amazing, however, how inspiring and varied Prince Fatty once interpreted Lovers Rock. But it is precisely against this background that "Happy Hour in Dub“ unfortunately only lose. And it really makes me wonder why Cook and Fatty aren't recording an album together again.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Ras I Mothep: Orbital Dub System

Almost exactly a year ago I professed to find the album "Reconciliation" by Ras I Mothep shamelessly good, even though it consists exclusively of rather brutal SteppersDub offered. Well lies with "Orbital Dub System" (Subsquad) the next album of the Sound Systems from Aix-en-Provence, and again I have to listen in fascination. The simplest digital productions, pure rhythm, endless bass and otherwise 4-to-the-floor. Where's the sophistication? where the art Where's the good taste? I don't know, and I can't think about it because my head is full of bass and digital thump. Seriously: It's not easy to write a differentiated review about the music of Ras I Mothep, but on the other hand they are Dubs from the south of France too beguiling to pass up. Let's put it this way: The rich sound of Dub can also be broken down to very simple basics: syncopated beats, bass, effects. That's exactly what "Orbital Dub System". The secret lies in the arrangement of the beats, which follows a secret formula: it is directly intertwined with the metabolic processes in the human brain and creates involuntary compulsion. Forced to listen to the next track. The obsessive compulsive is aware that he is being tied to this muscle against his will. A terrible fate. So think carefully before checking out the album.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Zion Train: Dissident Sound

Zion Train turns 35 this year. This makes the band, the label, the sound system, in short: Neil Perch one of the absolute veterans of the genre. I also remember well a concert organized by Nicolai (Echo Beach) in Cologne in 1994, where I saw Zion Train live for the first time. That same year, Zion Train released the landmark album Siren and signed to the Mayor label (now Warner) shortly thereafter. It was the time when we all believed Dub be on the way to the mainstream. Not even close! And fortunately, as we now know. A sell out would have that Dub robbed of his soul. Long story short: Zion Train is something very special and I'm always very happy about the (rare) releases. Now it's finally that time again. just releasedDissident sound“ (Universal Egg). I suspect that the exceptional quality of Neil Perch's productions is that he Dubs how songs understands and develops. Like a good song, also needs a Dub an idea, a central element that makes it unique. This can be an exceptional bassline, melodic horn sections, an inspired solo instrument, or the like. The melodic aspect is essential. The melody makes it Dub a song-like instrumental piece. And that's Zion Train's specialty. Each album (apart from the early work) is a work of its own character - unmistakable and unique. In addition, of course, there are the necessary virtues of Dub-Production: Inspired instrumentation, clever arrangement, clean craftsmanship (with real instruments), crisp sound, fat bass, more radical Dub-Mix. Why am I listing all this? Because "Dissident Sound" offers all of this in ideal form. I would even go so far as to say that this is one of the best Zion Train albums ever. Like its predecessor "Illuminate", "Dissident Sound" was also recorded in Germany. Paolo Baldini has also contributed bass and guitar again and singer Cara can also be heard on three tracks. The album was recorded entirely with "real" instruments and mixed by Neil with analogue equipment. Even if I'm otherwise an advocate of digital productions, I have to state that "Dissident Sound" benefits massively from the analog and handmade sound - which can also have something to do with the anarcho attitude that the album title and cover so ostentatious represents.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Mad Professor Meets Channel One: Round Two

The Mad Professor and the Channel One Sound System take it easy. There are now seven years between the first and second round of their exchange of blows. A period of time that I had massively underestimated, because the first round was still too present to me - which wasn't necessarily due to the music, but maybe more because I appreciate the two opponents in general and especially the great cover impressed me had. The Dubs of the first round were in fact quite disappointing. Especially the sound of the Channel OneDubit was terrible. Now lies with Mad Professor Meets Channel One: "Round Two" (Ariwa) present the follow-up album and one thing is immediately apparent: at least the British Sound System has learned something new. The sound is actually quite decent, but the productions (I have no idea who recorded them) are still too harmless compared to the furious live performances of Channel One. Only the final track, "Straight to Mad Professor's Head" has the magic and punch I've come to expect from a sound system of the likes of Channel One's. Unfortunately, the professor does not know how to defend himself adequately. His Dubs are - as usual - complex arranged and virtuoso mixed and the sound is beyond any doubt, but as almost always in recent times, they are compositionally disappointing. The tracks simply have no corners and edges. They remain bloodless, the basslines are weak and there are hardly any melodies. But well, the professor has long since completed his life's work. He has so many brilliant Dubs conjured up like probably nobody else. Let's rejoice that he refuses to retire and is still turning the knobs.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Elijah Solomon: Solomon Dub

How good an old schoolDubconcept can be implemented today, as Elijah Salomon proves with his album "Solomon Dub" (One Champ). It was made by the Zurich band DubHand-recorded by Conquerors and recorded in Jamaica by Bobby Digital at their Digital B studios, then mixed by John John at King Jammy's studios and mixed by Joe Ariwa at London's Ariwa studios. It is also based on a vocal album (“Salomon” from 2022). It can hardly be more classic. And that's what it sounds like - albeit with an outstanding sound quality that would have been unthinkable in the classical age. The Swiss singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Elijah Salomon is best known for his lyrics sung in Swiss German. However, I didn't really have it on my radar. That has “Solomon Dub' now suddenly changed. That classically interpreted Dub Can sound so fresh and inspired is a real joy. I was also positively surprised by the mixes by John John and Joe Ariwa. I'd saved the former as a digital dancehall producer and always dismissed the latter as the somewhat uninspired son of Mad Professor. Both teach me better now, because they deliver perfect craftsmanship and a firework of ideas. The inspiration probably comes from the excellent production that Elijah himself was responsible for and brought to the two of them. Credit for that should also Dubby Conquerors due, because the precision of their game is breathtaking. I can think of “Salomon Dub“ less in a sound system than with headphones in the subway, because the many details of the production and the mixes want to be listened to carefully.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Alpha & Omega: Dubplate Selection Vol. 4

Honestly, I don't know what else to write about Alpha & Omega anymore. I didn't count, but I estimate I've already written about 5000 reviews of their music. Everything was said there – several times! But on the other hand, the duo has a permanent place in mine Dub-heart, so I can't bring myself to ignore a new release of the two. So there he is, Alpha & Omega: "Dubplate Selection Vol. 4 ". On it you can hear what is always heard from A&O: mystical jungleDub, somewhat carelessly produced and mostly of medium to poor sound quality. But the hypnotic power that hers Dubs own, also works here with undiminished force. On the "Dubplate Selection Vol. 4" they have collected recordings for the fourth time that were previously known as Dubplates were in use. By this they mean alternative mixes of their productions, which they create exclusively for specific sound systems. Since the duo is quite prolific and constantly new Dubs produced, the number of their exclusive ones is also growing Dubplate mixes. In short: So it was time for a volume 4. I really like the handling of the vocal fragments by Ras Tinny, Nai-Jah and Joe Pilgrim. Used in an absolutely minimalist way, they characterize the Dubs with tiny tunes. They flash like sunbeams penetrating to the bottom of the jungle. Beautiful imagination!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Five Star Review

Studio One Space Age Dub Special

at these Dubno one comes by: Studio One Space Age Dub Special (soul jazz). You can hear them all here, the beautiful, never-aging Studio One rhythms - in their purest form, without vocals. And above all in brilliant quality! I'm just thinking of my old vinyl releases: unbelievably bad JA pressings in white covers - not exactly an expression of appreciation on the part of the producer. But soul jazz people are different. They are real sound nerds who carefully preserve and maintain the Coxsone legacy. You have the Dubs remastered from the original tapes, packed into one phat album and decked out with a gorgeous cover art that features Clement Dodd in space orbit. Incidentally, an image inspired by Lone Ranger's 1982 Studio One album Badda Dan Dem, which featured Sir Coxsone at the controls of a spaceship in space on the cover.

Most of these tracks are from the long out of print series of Studio OneDub-Albums released between 1974 and 1980 including Zodiac Sounds, Ital Sounds and System, Roots Dub","Dub Store Special”, “Juks Incorporation” and others. Many of these classic albums were originally only released in Jamaica in limited editions with special screen printed sleeves, all with absolutely minimal designs, which today cost up to £100 on vintage vinyl.

The credit for the Dubs apply to a fictitious "Dub Specialist”, behind which Studio One sound engineer Sylvan Morris should actually be hiding. He, his producer and the brilliant musicians have created many of the best recordings in the reggae genre. They are here as timelessly beautiful Dubs to enjoy.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Interview with Jah Schulz

Your name: Michael Fiedler

You live in: near Stuttgart

Title of your last album:
"Dub Showcase”, from 2022. The new single “Stories” was released on March 1st, 3

What is your personal definition of Dub?
future music

What makes a good one Dub out?
He puts a spell on you, hypnotizes you. In fact, if I get a little sleepy at home, that's a good sign.

How do you have your passion for Dub discovered and how have you and your music developed since then?
I am via detours (jungle, breakbeats, techno) to Dub came. Reggae didn't interest me much at the time. But the music I loved as a child and teenager has always had a lot to offer Dub to do: bass lines, delay, Dub-Samples. As a young adult in the late 90s, I discovered Tubby & Contemporaries.

How does the creation process of a typical Dub-Tracks from you?
Very different. An interesting sample or loop, a theme. The rest will come by itself.

When are you with one of your produced Dub-Track satisfied?
At some point it just “clicks”. I'm not a perfectionist, that's an advantage. Some tunes take a little longer, others work within hours. But sometimes I bite my teeth out. But at some point a good feeling in my stomach tells me: it's done now.

What about producing Dub most importantly?
Imagination, willingness to experiment, not afraid of mistakes.

What is your particular strength?
I can work very quickly when I have a concrete idea.

Which album do you consider your best?
"Dub over science” from 2020 on Basscomesaveme.

Can you make a living with music?
Yes. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. I'm musically very versatile. alone from Dub but living wouldn't work.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?
Playing live and the creative exchange with other artists. I improvise z. B. very happy with others at my performances.

What do you dread in the studio?
Too many people look over my back while I'm producing. I can only endure that for a very short time. That doesn't apply to musicians who are currently working with me in the studio, that's fine then.

When you're not at Dubs screwing, what is your favorite thing to do then?
About Dub think.

What do you hear besides Dub?
Everything imaginable. Really!

If money and time weren't important: Which project would you like to realize?
Time and money don't matter at the moment, I just feel like I can do the things that I enjoy. I am currently working on a SpokenWord/Dub Plate. There is time, but things are moving slowly, mainly because it is difficult to find artists to take part. However, if money really weren't an issue, I'd have a sound system in my living room.

Which do you prefer: studio work or sound system performance?
Both is important. I love sound system events. you inspire me Often afterwards or during it I have the feeling that I have to go to the studio and start my machines immediately.

Who is the greatest for you Dub-Artist of all time?
Jimi Hendrix meets King Tubby

And who is currently the most interesting Dub-Artist?
There are many producers that I think are great. Too many to name all. But there are currently notable releases from Babe Roots, Om Unit, Bukkha, Tjah, Kaptan, Another Channel, …

Which sound system do you like the most?
Respect goes to everyone who takes on such a project. I always find that really impressive.

What are your personal top Dub-Albums?
Massive Attack Meets Mad Professor: No Protection
Rhythm & Sound: W/ the Artists
Dub Syndicate: Classic Selection Volume 2
Alec Empire: Low on Ice
Disciples: Infinite Density of Dub


Benjah and EK: Dust Off the Dubs

Dub is known to be a subgenre of reggae. But also Dub breaks down again into various sub-subgenres. Insanely, even a sub-subgenre, like Steppers, is made up of different ways of playing. There would be z. B. the old-school steppers we know from classic UK sound systems. Iration Steppers, Disciples or Jah Warrior are typical representatives. Then there is a younger school that is a bit more experimental. Alpha Steppa, Kanka or Jah Schulz come to mind here. And then there's the school that produces pure fodder for Sound Systems. A very special sound that is not so easy to describe. Instead of putting it into words, I recommend listening to this album: Benjah and EK: "Dust off the Dubs' (Lions Den). Benjah and EK are two young producers from France. They also operate under the name "Bedrin Records" and offer exactly the sound that forces the selector to rewind on sound system events. With a little imagination, the whole thing could be described as “technowise Dub" describe. The rhythm is XNUMX% reggae, but the productions have completely abandoned the mimicry of handmade music, the rhythm is maximally repetitive and all references are closed Dub and reggae in the form of samples, MC vocals and "jah" calls or sirens are absent.

The Berlin label Lions Den, which specializes in sound system music, has long been into the sound of the two Frenchmen and therefore decided to dedicate an album to them, on which they present the best Dubs of the last few years into a thick package of 20 tracks. I feel like Lions Den, I also like this uncompromisingly concrete sound, especially the polyrhythms forced by the drums did it to me. However, there are also some pretty bad ones among the 22 tracks (11 instrumentals plus Dubversions), in which sluggish synth orgies spoil my fun, or I'm overwhelmed by boredom because of the unimaginative beats. Maybe not everyone would Dub it deserves to be dusted off.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.