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Review

Gaudi + Savona: Havana Meets Kingston in Dub

"Havana Meets Kingston" was a big deal in 2017. Following the example of Buena Vista Social Club, Jake Savona aka Mista Savona - reputedly Australia's "leading reggae producer" - invited veteran Cuban musicians to veteran Cuban and Jamaican studios, where they met veteran reggae musicians such as Sly & Robbie , Ernest Ranglin, Bongo Herman and others met to record music together – and of course to make a documentary (which apparently never came to fruition). A huge effort that paid off with the (relative) success of the album. But it would be a shame not to use the recordings further - and that's a good idea Dub-Album on! Anyone who thinks so big cannot hire just any remixer, which is why Savona turned to Gaudi, who also enjoys fame and respect outside the reggae cosmos. Gaudi took five years, around nine Dubs to mix that up now "Havana Meets Kingston in Dub" (Mista Savona) find. Maybe he has thought through every turn of the knob intensively and weighed it up against alternatives, in order to actually make one after months of planning Dub record. But maybe he was just in a severe corona lethargy. Anyway, it's finally here, that Dub-The album is out and it turned out really well. Gaudi's meticulousness pays off, because the sound and mix are simply superb. However, a lot would have had to go wrong in order not to turn the brilliant templates into brilliant ones as well Dubs to peen. The arrangements are simply great and the perfect craftsmanship of the musicians leaves nothing to be desired. So: Gaudi gives us a wonderful Dub-Album that would have been worth waiting for had you known it was planned to exist. I'm even of the opinion (no wonder) that the Dub-Version of the album is better than the original. The sound is tighter and the overstuffed arrangements have been reduced to a level that really allows each individual instrument to come into its own. Gaudi is pretty reluctant to use reverb and echo, because enough is already happening without them. Perfectly dosed, I would say. It is also noticeable that the organic live sound produced by Savona is a very appealing contrast to Gaudi's more electronic tracks Dub-Mixing stands. Altogether certainly one of the notable ones Dub-Highlights 2022.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

Blue & Red: Hidden Dubs

The 1990s were an exciting decade musically. It was the time of the UKDub and the hour of birth of Dub-Sound systems as we know them today (okay, Jah Shaka, originator and forefather of the modern Dub, was active many years earlier). Dub was big and even spilled vaguely into the mainstream. It was one's fault Dubstyle that developed a distinct affinity with house. Let's think of Dreadzone, Zion Train, Groove Corporation or Rockers Hi-Fi. What was happening in the UK at the same time was the emergence of Jungle. Fresh and unheard, absolutely insane music heavily influenced by reggae. More Rockers and Smith & Mighty produced jungle tracks that were very, very close to Dub were built. There are only a few albums I have put on more often than "Selection 2" by More Rockers. Why am I telling this? Because behind More Rockers, just like behind Smith & Mighty, there was a man who we still often meet today: Rob Smith aka RSD aka Blue&Red. We know him mainly as a remixer who is often booked by Echo Beach, but also because of his own, quite special ones Dubproductions – which, by the way, regularly divide opinions. Because what makes Smith's productions so special is his rigorous minimalism, his stoic repetitiveness and the naked roughness of his Dubs. All three characteristics that I value very much in their consequence, but there are many Dubheads who see Smith's music as a betrayal of the genre. Now his album "Hidden Dubs Vol. 1" appeared and I have grave doubts as to its suitability for converting the Rob Smith-despisers. As in defense, Rob Smith quotes Style Scott as saying: “Dub is really what you would call a deconstruct, you strip it down, you strip it right down to bone!”. From that point of view, must Dub be minimalist and raw. And that's exactly what he delivers to us with his “Hidden Dubs" - tracks spanning the past 25 years, some of them remastered, some of them unchanged. All hard Dubs, pure, rough with partly overdriven bass and minimal instrumentation. The Junge/Drum&Bass school sounds through here very clearly. A classic reggae producer would Dub never implement it in such a seemingly "soulless" way. But the hardness has its appeal and the renunciation of beauty is radical, but also liberating.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Vibronics Meets Mafia & Fluxy in Brixton

Two worlds come together in a wonderfully harmonious way: Steve Vibronics, veteran of the UKDub and Mafia & Fluxy, British rhythm twins and hit producers. While the former stands for classic UK sound system culture, the latter are more protagonists of classic reggae and lovers rock. In any case, they are both classics. But Mafia & Fluxy can also be different. on "Vibronics Meets Mafia & Fluxy in Brixton" (Scoops Records) they play really hard steppers. The perfect basis for Steve Vibronics to produce exceptionally high-quality Dubs to forge (allegedly he "composed" the rhythms and just let them record them). Compared to Mr. Vibronic's recent collaborations, this album really stands out. The Rhythmstwins' sound is simply better and their arrangements more exciting. It's often the details that make a huge difference in the overall result. And here it can be stated that three perfectionists and masters of their subjects found together and together a really nice Dub- created an album.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

LAB: In Dub

Ever since Fat Freddie's Drop we've known that reggae is BIG in New Zealand. A Bob Marley concert in 1979 is said to have been the catalyst for this development. In addition, the Rastafari culture is quite widespread, especially among the Maori - and marijuana is also known to be consumed very generously Down Under. Be that as it may: Reggae is chart-ready in NZ. Interestingly, this is by no means reggae based on the Jamaican model, but rather a very special, typical NZ reggae sound. It's difficult to analyze exactly, but one thing is clear: he's incredibly relaxed. So relaxed that it's sometimes derided on the island as "BBQ reggae" (we would call it "elevator music").
With LAB there is now a new star in the sky of the southern hemisphere. A band whose origins lie in reggae, but which – much like Fat Freddie's Drop – now tend to serve the pop market. But there are enough reggae songs in the oeuvre of five albums to keep the watchful eye of our Hamburger Dub-Label's Echo Beach draw attention. This decided without further ado: Let's put the best songs in Dubs transform, Paolo! What is meant is Paolo Baldini, who carried out a nice commissioned job here. The result is now called "LAB in Dub(Echo Beach). Luckily the tracks are more original than the title. Even if Paolo prefers to produce steppers, he has managed to create an extremely beautiful, gentle and harmonious work here. Perfect sound (the sound of the originals is already beyond any doubt) and above all great mixes! Here you will find the classic Dub-Principle in its purest form and demonstrates its full potential.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

Death by Dub: Abundance

I don't know what it is, but instrumentals or Dubs led by brass instruments seem to be absolutely trendy in 2022. I'm very happy about it, because I've always liked the brass sections in reggae. So good that I always regretted that the productions often give the horn sections so little space in the pieces. The fact that they then fell victim to keyboard fake brass instruments in the course of increasing commercialization is one of the dark chapters in reggae history. But now the time for compensation seems to have come: Youthie, Dub Vallila, The Super 20 and now: Death by Dub with the album "abundance" (Color Red). It's blowing from all directions at the moment. Influenced by the usual suspects, Perry and Tubby, and of course Tommy McCook and Rico Rodriguez, Dan Africano and Scott Flynn have formed a band that's completely different Dub and has dedicated brass. Dan Africano and Scott Flynn are veteran reggae musicians and (like Lee Hamilton and Craig Welsch of The Super 20) received their reggae apprenticeship from John Brown's Body. Around 2018 the two struck out on their own, moving to Denver, Colorado and forming Death By Dub. Now they present their debut album "Abundance". As with the "Whinds of Wareika" a variety of musicians have their hands in the game here. The arrangements are correspondingly opulent. But unlike the "Whinds", we are dealing with "Abundance" with real ones Dubs to do. The sound is tighter and the beats are heavier. I'm absolutely delighted with this album. It strikes the perfect balance between focus and openness. The rhythms are excellently produced and the brass melodies are composed with inspiration. Actually everything is correct here. In addition, the vibe of the whole album is so wonderfully positive and uplifting that it's just a pleasure to float through the summer with this music.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Review

Dub Spencer & Trance Hill: Imago Cells

The "imago" is the sexually mature insect that has emerged from the juvenile stages, i.e. the adult form. To turn a robbery into its imago - a butterfly (like the one on the cover of the new albums by Dub Spencer & Trance Hill is shown) - so-called "imago cells" become active in the body of the caterpillar. They are the triggers of metamorphosis. Interestingly, the imago cells are present in the caterpillar's body from birth, but are initially suppressed by the insect's immune system. Only when they succeed in asserting themselves and multiplying over the long term will metamorphosis begin.
An interesting story that Masi Stalder, Markus Meier, Julian Dillier and Philipp Greter tracked down to metaphorically illustrate the change in their musical style. Because, in fact, the people of Lucerne do Dub-Musicians with their new album "Imago Cells” (Echo Beach) a clear stylistic change, viz Dub to trance. A change that – according to their own statement (and the band name suggests it) – was in the band right from the start. Offbeats can still be heard, but driving dance beats are clearly more dominant. In addition - completely unusual for the people of Lucerne - are the electronic synth sounds. Luckily not in the form of the "pads" typical of trance, but used rhythmically. All in all, it reminds me of the 90s sound of Dreadzone, Rockers Hifi or Zion Train. On the other hand, there is also the familiar, unmistakably analogue/acoustic signature sound from Dub Spencer & Trance Hill. What I particularly like: The music of the gang of four grooves like never before. What used to be partly cerebral Dub was is now body-oriented dance music. I'm excited to see where the metamorphosis will take the four experimental Lucerne residents in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

The Super 20: Winds of Wareika

A number of reggae albums have already advertised a similarity to Rico Rodriguez's masterpiece "Man from Wareika". at "Winds of Wareika" (The Super 20) by The Super 20 I would be inclined to let this marketing strategy get away with it, because what the 12 musicians gathered on the album deliver here is simply grandiose wind instrumental music. The mastermind of the Super 20, the New York saxophonist Lee Hamilton, conjures up the classic horn sounds of Don Drummond, Rico Rodriguez, The Crusaders or Fela Kuti and fuses these influences with modern sounds a la Thievery Corporation or Quantic. In doing so, he occasionally exceeds the narrow limits of reggae, but this is by no means negative. Sometimes Latin comes into play, sometimes it sounds like Afro Beat. But the saxophone always plays the leading role. In addition to Hamilton, numerous other musicians have contributed to the creation of this debut album, which can also be heard clearly, because the productions are richly and opulently instrumented. In general, it has to be emphasized that the productions are extremely successful. They are a collaboration between Hamilton and Boston producer and engineer Craig Welsch. The two began working together in the early days of the band John Brown's Body, with Hamilton forming the horn section and Welsh acting as sound engineer. So for years the two have shared a common notion of what “feels good” about making music. This shows that trumpet, trombone and saxophone manage with ease what the melodica is denied, namely to develop the necessary expressiveness to lead instrumental pieces and to carry them loosely over the length of the album. So it's no wonder that the whole album feels super good to me too.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

Dexter Dub: From Dub to Bass

Dub is a fairly changeable genre despite its minimalist formula. A very impressive exploration of the limits offers and the Cologne Dexter Dub with his new album "From Dub to Bass" (Knick-knacks Home Productions). The sub-title is a short manifesto of Dexter's approach: "Electronic Translation of Reggae Music". Dexter in his own words: “A central fulcrum in my current productions is the love for reggae in all its facets and the attempt to bring the reggae vibe into electronic/digital genres such as Dub, Dubstep, Deep Dub, Jungle, Drum'n'Bass or whatever you want to call it". In my opinion, "translate" is not the right term, because all the genres listed are more or less direct descendants of reggae and Dub. But we know what Dexter means, so it's not surprising that he went back to "From Dub to Bass" delivers an extremely colorful potpourri of almost all styles that are subsumed under the term "Bass Music". Sometimes he even combines several styles in one track. The whole thing is wonderfully eclectic, almost anarchistic - and therefore extremely refreshing. As is well known, nothing is more beneficial than a courageous step across borders. A blessing that we friends of the Dub treat us too seldom. Here we have the opportunity to do so.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Culture Horn Sound System: DubLaboratory Vol. 1

I am very much in favor of boycotting Russia and Russian products. No question. But what about the album by a Russian sound system? I don't think the boycott applies here - for three reasons: 1. A Russian one Dub-Album per se is not a commercial product. Not hearing it will not harm the Russian economy, so boycotting it would be pointless. 2. Free (!) art and culture almost always serve the understanding of people and thus peace. 3. I firmly believe that the protagonists of a Russian sound system are subversive and critical of state power. So we are on the same page. It follows: I want you on the album with a clear conscience "DubLaboratory Vol. 1" (Dubophonic) from the Culture Horn Sound System. It is definitely not one Dub-masterpiece, but maybe the Culture Horn-Dubheads a little solidarity of Dub-community deserves. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, the Sound System from Kremenki in the Kaluga region has brought together the four best productions from its own oeuvre and is presenting them in the Dublaboratory in two versions: as instrumental and as Dub. I'm guessing fully digital productions, Stepper's style - but not brutal. Check it out and send some kudos to the Russian underground.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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Review

Nocturnal Emissions: In Dub

Oh, I almost dismissed Nocturnal Emissions as an unknown bedroom producer. But the web research revealed a completely different picture: The Nocturnal Emissions have been around since 1980! Back then it was still a real rock band that played industrial and punk. The electronic phase followed in the 1990s, followed by a minimal and downtempo phase. There are even two in the oeuvre of the London band (which has only consisted of founder Nigel Ayers for several years). Dub-Recent albums. The newly released album "In Dub" (Holuzam) presents a selection of eight tracks, all taken from these two albums. So not necessarily brand new material, but still pretty exciting because Nigel Ayers obviously doesn't give a damn how good it is Dub has to be. Instead, he delivers extremely weird minimal productions, which without the clear album title can hardly be considered Dub would be recognizable. With the mindset "Dub’ but the album can be understood as a great experiment: How abstract can the music be without the classification ‘Dub“to lose entirely? Or to put it another way: How far can you go Dub reduce until it stops Dub to be? The amazing realization: Pretty far. But Ayers is by no means only interested in minimalism. His economical tone sequences are interesting listening experiences and sometimes even develop a remarkable groove. Anyone who thinks outside the box of the conventional Dub If you want to look out, you should simply enjoy the Nocturnal Emissions (the wet dreams).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.