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Review

Alpha Steppa: #streetdub, Vol. 1

(This text has been machine translated.) Known is Dub no live music. Nevertheless it is possible to produce dub-tracks spontaneously on the street, or in a mountain railway, or on a green meadow, or in the car or or in the subway, or… Ben Alpha made a concept out of it: “It was my idea, to take myself and the artists out of their comfort zone (stage and studio) and create a kind of musical diary", he explains, "That's why we recorded the album live on the streets of Great Britain, France, Mexico, Spain, the USA, Ireland and of the Czech Republic.” How that happened can be seen on the Youtube channel from Steppas Records This week there will be episode 50 of the Streetdubs being uploaded.

The album "#streetdub Flight. 1“Is a collection of 23 (!) dubs from that series. In the narrower sense it is not a pure Dub-Album because next to Dubs from Ben and his aunt, you can hear a lot of vocals, including from Ras Tinny, Nai-Jah, Awa Fall, Fikir Amlak, Ashanti Selah and others. Logically, the pieces were not composed and recorded on the streets. The backings were prerpoduced and are mostly known from the Alpha Steppa studio albums. Only voice and live dub-mixing happened in the fresh air. Sometimes the inclusion of additional instruments, such as z. B. Violin, trumpet, guitar and harp by Dubzoic & The Mariachis. Even pure unpluggedDubs (flute and guitar only) can be heard.

Not everything sounds at studio sound level, but you are often compensated with beautiful scenery in the background - or the gray image of everyday urban life. The lyrics in the videos are subtitled - quite helpful. With the great effect that the often socially critical texts develop a striking intensity of meaning on the live stage of a real city. “We use the videos as an opportunity to shed light on topics that are important to us,” says Ben, “It's a kind of Dub-Activism.” It's amazing that his concept works so brilliantly just by shifting the context, away from the stage and into real life. That's why - you have to be honest - the videos are the original and the present album “only” the copy. But unlike the videos, you can also consume them while writing a blog article.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Zion Train: Illuminate in Dub

It is now - even if not fresh as a dew - that Dub-Version of the new Zion Train album from last year: "Illuminate in Dub“(Universal Egg). Can a good Zion Train album by one Dub-Reworking get even better? In the case of “Illuminate in Dub“My answer is clear: Yes, it can. Okay, we lose a large part of the consistently good and committed lyrics of the original, but we gain a lot more musical conciseness. That likes about that Dub-Mixdown and better mastering are mainly due to the fact that here - unlike the vocal version - the music changes from "backing" to "fronting". Neil Perch has no deconstruction and minimalist here Dub-Reconstruction operated, but has largely retained the complexity of the tunes. The presence effect only arises from the shift in focus to the music and the more dynamic sound. "Illuminate in Dub“So it's not a reinvention, it's built pretty close to the original - and still better. Especially since the mostly grandiose hooklines of the vocal versions are also in the Dub can be heard.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

Sumac Dub: Ex-Home Session

(This text has been machine translated.) I have seldom spent so much time at home as in the past few weeks. Corona locks us up in our apartments and houses. This confinement is excruciating, but it can also be a source of great creativity. To Tom Dorne aka Sumac Dub that seems to be the case, because he currently has an outstanding, beautifully melancholy EP with the telling title "Ex home session" (ODGProd) released. Not only does the title refer to the domestic isolation (in beautiful Grenoble), but it also ties in with Toms "Jam Session Vol. 1" from 2019 on. Seamless, because here and there a calm, meditative sound predominates, interspersed with ambient noises such as z. B. The twittering of birds and sometimes accompanied by the violin or piano playing of the master himself. The vocals sampled from speeches or readings are also typical of the two works. But it is above all the "ex-home session" that casts its spell on me. The magical atmosphere of the first tracks is overwhelming. Deeply sad, gloomy, heavy and yet powerful. Soft beats garnished with measured piano chords and melancholy violin playing. Unbelievably pretty. Then follows the track “Imminent Departure” and with it a sound metamorphosis Dub-Techno - which is shocking but absolutely conclusive. The warm plucking minimal techno beats only logically continue what the two previous tracks “Petit Prince” and “The Hadal Tone” began.

The last two tracks stunned me, because they were written by the Bass Trooperz. I have no idea whether Tom is involved in them or whether he is just using their tracks as a Dubs mixes. In any case, they also fit perfectly into the overall work, feature beautiful sitar playing and atmospheric waves - but then turn up the beats clearly. That puts a positive and energetic end to one of the most beautiful Dub-EPs from the Corona period.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Review

Marcel-Philipp: Dub You Crazy & Can't Get Enough of Dub

I'm getting more and more of the impression that reggae instrumentals are next to each other Dub to conquer (back) a permanent place in reggae. A true multi-instrumentalist is at work here too: Marcel-Philipp. Five years ago I raved about his debut “Morning Sessions Vol. 1” - an incredibly optimistic, carefree, sun-drenched instrumental album, characterized by beguiling melodies. Now, four instrumental albums later, he starts with "Dub You crazy"And"Can't get enough of Dub“His first two Dub- albums before. “I had a specific idea in mind early on, like my first one DubAlbum should sound. ”, He explains,“ But to realize this idea, I had to search for the right equipment, setup and workflow for a long time and experiment with it. ”Which makes all the more sense, since Marcel-Philipps is more hand-played, more open and airy sound - despite the lack of vocals - miles from the usual Dub-Sound is removed. It is therefore not surprising that "Dub You Crazy ”and“ Can't Get Enough Dub“Quite acoustically from the Dub-Frames fall, the sound DubIt's more like a live concert on Sunday morning instead of a smoky basement club shortly before sunrise. But there is no rule how Dub Has to sound “right”. First of all, everything is allowed. If you get involved with Marcel-Philipp's sound, you will discover very nice arrangements, clever mixing and lots of positive vibes - dark ones Dub-Magic but less. Which brings us to the interesting question of where Marcel-Philipp draws the line between instrumental and Dub pulls. “In my instrumental versions, I ensure a balance between melody and rhythm instruments. The melodies of the solo instruments tell a story. The rest of the instruments form the foundation, ”he explains. “I want an honest and authentic sound without reverb and delay effects. The instruments should sound as if they were right in front of me. With mine DubOn the other hand, bass and drums are in the foreground. From the melodies of the solo instruments I usually only use a small excerpt, while in contrast to the minimalism of my instrumentals, I know no limits when it comes to the choice of effects. Marcel-Philipp's music lives precisely from the balance that he describes here. The melodies are essential. If they are sacrificed to the mix, what actually makes up the special quality of his music is lost. Drum & Bass cannot always fill this gap. That's why the instrumentals remain the measure of all things for me.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Review

Lee Groves: Dance a Dub

How much I loved the sound of Rockers Hi Fi, Dreadzone, Groove Corp., More Rockers, and other progressives Dub-Bands that made dance music in the 1990s and Dub fused into an exciting new sound. A sound that doesn't just have dance beats Dub-Ingredients provided. No, it was a complete reinvention that synthesized wonderfully complex beats with reggae basslines and offbeats. Break beat, industrial, drum and bass, indietronic, ambient and yes, house and techno also influenced this sound. Those were the times! At that time I wrote cockily about the “future of Dub". Well, far from it. The sound evaporated over the years and from the old warriors only Dreadzone is left with mediocre releases. But luckily there is Echo Beach's brilliant back catalog and luckily there is Lee Groves. The former contains the matching tunes and the latter has the dance /Dub-Groove the 90s soaked up with breast milk. If you bring both together, you get: "Dance a Dub“(Echo Beach) - a glorious renaissance of what was once so progressive Dub-Sounds. Lee Groves just knows how to do tunes from the Dub Pistols, Dubblestandart, the Dub Syndicate, and many others, to make the original sound like they were recorded in Birmingham in 1995. For this purpose, Mr. Groves has vigorously remodeled the templates, overdubbed, provided with a good shot of kinetic energy and mixed powerfully. I think it's perfect. Which is not surprising, by the way, because Lee Groves is a rock-hard music professional. He started out programming sound cards for the hottest synthesizers of the early 90s, sounds that are prominently found in pieces by Vangelis or the Pet Shop Boys. Then he founded PuSH-Records - among others with Spencer Graham from Dreadzone (!). In his career as a producer, big names followed one another: Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson, Janet Jackson, Craig David, Goldfrapp, Beck, Britney Spears, Black Eyed Peas and even Janet Jackson. And now, to crown his career: Dance a Dub!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Review

New Age Steppers: Avant Gardening

What? Huh? A new album by the New Age Steppers? We left the New Age behind us a long time ago. What are they still doing here? A little research brings it to light: With the album released today "Avant gardening“It is of course not new material. Rather, here are rare ones Dubs, versions and unreleased tracks gathered from the On .U vault. Date of origin: 1980 - 1983. Warning: We are dealing with some extremely experimental musical assets, for which it spontaneously makes sense why it has remained unpublished until now. On the other hand, from today's perspective it is absolutely amazing to see how avant-garde Mr. Sherwood gardened in the past and what crazy plants he grew. I also vaguely remember the slightly disturbing album "Spaceship Africa" ​​- also by his hand - which was undoubtedly the forefront of the previous one Dub- Vanguard marked. “Avant Gardening” is hot on his heels. Pretty cerebral, but real, die-hard On-U fans (like Lemmi) will of course still have fun with it.

If you want to know exactly: “Aggro Dub-Version "is a version of" Some Love "from the third New Age Steppers album" Foundation Steppers "from 1983. The track was released in 2004 on the Japanese CD reissue. "Send For Me" was recorded on June 12, 1983 at Southern Studios for a previously unreleased BBC Radio 1 John Peel session. "Izalize" was recorded in 1980 and released in 2003 on the Japanese reissue of the Steppers' self-titled debut album. This rhythm also formed the basis for the track "Snakeskin Tracksuit" on the African Head Charge album "Environmental Studies". "Unclear" is one Dub-Version of the track "Guiding Star", which is on the second Steppers album "Action Battlefield". A version of this rhythm also appeared on the album "Threat To Creation" as "Eugenic Device". “Singing Love” is a Jah Woosh DJ cut of “Love Forever”, which was originally part of the 12 ″ discomix that appeared on the back of the “My Love” maxi in 1981 and for the first time in this edited form in Japanese CD reissue of the debut album was re-released in 2003. "I Scream (Rimshot)" was the B-side of the single "My Love" in 1981 (but was not included in any of the later New Age Steppers releases). By the way, the vocals are from Ari-Up. "Avant Gardening" was recorded in 1980 and originally released on the Japanese CD reissue of Steppers' debut album from 2003. "World Wide Version" is a Dub of "My Whole World" from the album "Action Battlefield", recorded in 1981 and originally released on the Japanese reissue in 2004. The clavinet on it was played by Kishi Yamamoto. "Some Dub"Closes the album and is a quite different take on the" Some Love "rhythms recorded during the 1983 sessions for" Foundation Steppers ". Concentrated information - thanks to Discogs.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Sly & Robbie: Red Hills Road

I almost get the impression that the world is now ready for instrumental reggae. Perhaps the ever-growing popularity of Dub pioneered the little sister “Instrumentals”. But it can also be that some dancehall aficionados - starved by the minimalism of the beats between hip hop and trap - are now demanding a full sound, rolling grooves and real arrangements (we are all getting older). Clive Hunt's fantastic album “Blue Lizzard” as well as the superb “Jamaica By Bus” from Addis Records - both released just a few weeks ago - arouse hope. Not to mention “Manasseh Meets Praise” or the beautiful albums by Marcel-Philipp - all impressive instrumental works of more recent date. Probably standard for the colleagues from the Ska faction, it causes us reggae listeners to get excited. And now Sly & Robbie come with their new instrumental album "Red Hills Road“(Taxi) around the corner - no Dub, mind you. “I have a great love for instrumental reggae,” explains Sly Dunbar, “In the times of Ska and Rocksteady there were a lot of instrumentals, but not afterwards. Especially not with dancehall ”. The one developed in a very similar way Dub-Music. In times of full-bodied roots rhythms, the genre flourished and then - at least in Jamaica - finally blessed the time with the advent of digital dancehall beats. Only outside of the island does the genre live on and today forms a reggae parallel world that surprises even the globetrotter Sly and is more European due to the mighty “rumbeling sound” Dub-Soundsytems raves: “Europe is a huge market for Dub - Dub is just nice there ”. But Sly & Robbie wouldn't be the Riddim Twins if they just followed trends. With their life's work in their pockets and the sheep probably halfway dry, the two no longer have to prove themselves and just do their thing, beyond trends, mainstream expectations and chart placements (just as they have always liked to do) . With this relaxed attitude, the two twins, who are as physically different as they are emotionally closely related, created crazy instrumental tunes in the pop studio that mock any concept and stylistic uniformity. The lowest common denominator is that most of the tunes try to think of dancehall as instrumental. But there are also Kumina and Mento borrowings, musky soul schnulzen as well as age-old recordings from the 1990s. To call the collection an “album” is, in any case, imposture. But, what can I say: Nothing fits together here, dancehall in the form of instrumentals definitely doesn't work and no one needs to bang Dean Fraser saxophone either - and yet “Red Hills Rd.” Is somehow a charming work. The quirky bizarre productions, the radical rollercoaster of sounds (everything has to come out) as well as the audacity to break so badly with the good reggae taste give “Red Hills Rd.” The status “worth hearing”.
Incidentally, Red Hills Road was Kingston’s nightclub street in the 1970s. This is where Sly & Robbie got to know and appreciate each other when they played in competing clubs (Sly in "Tit for Tat" and Robbie in "Evil People") and used the breaks to visit and listen to each other. So the album is something of a homage to this legendary street - and their studio is still located at number 30 to this day.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Five Star Review

Blundetto: Good Good Dub

I was really looking forward to this album: Blundetto, “Good Good Dub“(Heavenly Sweetness). Dangerous, because such anticipation often leads to disappointment due to the high expectations. But not with "Good good Dub“! The Frenchman's album is simply very good good! Of course it's that Dub-Version of the album "Good Good Things" released last year - which in turn is a belated successor to "Bad Bad Things". Who doesn’t know Blundetto: It’s the Frenchman Max Guiget, who tends to record his music in a small two-room apartment near the Gare du Nord between a gigantic vinyl record collection, old recording devices, exotic instruments and overcrowded ashtrays. He is dedicated to global sounds - especially Latin - and maximally relaxed rhythms full of smoky atmosphere. Reggae is rarely heard on his “normal” albums. Quite different, however, on theirs Dub-Counterparts! Blundetto knows what Dub really needed: a reggae foundation. Okay, sometimes it's not that solid, but that would be too easy for the sound nerd. Rather, his art consists in fusing exotic ingredients into a fascinating sound amalgam, which is characterized by an intense, dense - sometimes quite melancholy - atmosphere. Whoever lets himself in, breathes in the fat atmosphere to the full, opens ears and mind, cannot help but succumb to this music; To let yourself fall into it like in a bed of cotton candy and finally to sink into pleasure. Beautiful! Only seven tracks - but with as much emotional content as seven albums elsewhere.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

Aldubb & Mr. Glue: Man

“I just like albums,” says Aldubb. »I don't like the development that most artists only produce singles. For me an album is more than the sum of its singles. The logical continuation of the idea of ​​combining several individual pieces into a complete work is the concept album. Actually is "The human being“But not a classic concept album, the concept consists more in the unusual combination of Dub and German lessons. "Since"A Timescale of Creation - Symphony No. 1 in Dub minor“Undefeated concept album grandmaster Aldubb but huge. His new work “Der Mensch” makes it clear from the seemingly philosophical title that it is by no means just a dozen vulgar ones Dubs can go. A concept consists of an overarching idea on which the work is based, an idea that gives it form and meaning. That idea is with Aldubbs new album "Der Mensch": German poetry. What ?? “The idea came up like this:” he explains, “Mr. Glue like it when during our DubHerz-Radio shows instrumentals were running, quoting 1-2 sentences of literature every now and then. At first it was just quatrains, until I got one Dub and arranged it into a song with longer lyrics. That was the song "Die Liebe". In terms of content, we then relatively quickly gave ourselves the two key words “man and love” as a guide. Then within a few weeks we had recorded 9 texts. ”What Aldubb describes it sounds so natural and obvious, but I wonder why no one has come up with this grandiose idea before. Day in, day out we patiently expose ourselves to the sound of boring texts about religion, weed and sex - one reason, by the way, why I hardly like to listen to "normal" reggae. There is such a wonderful lyric poetry that only needs to be combined with such wonderful music to create such a wonderful listening experience as “Der Mensch”. Aldubb and Mr. Glue have Dub Poetry just reinvented. Thank goodness, the two did not succumb to the temptation to underlay German-language poetry with atonal or otherwise cerebral “art music”. No, we're listening to superbly produced, hand-made ones Dubs, powerful and at the same time sensitive, meticulously arranged and mixed, perfectly mastered and above all extremely musical: “A lucky coincidence led Toni Farris, who had to do with the Evolution band in the studio over the weekend, found time that was almost at the time to spice up finished songs with a few of his ingenious piano melodies and thus to enhance them enormously ”, Al revealsdubb.

Rarely have I heard an album this enjoyable lately. Because of "German lessons"! Dub and poetry enter into a connection that is much, much more than the sum of the two components. The words get additional power through the music and the music becomes even more of a conscious "listening experience" through them. Let's get a new one Dub-Genre make of it! I am in.

However, anyone who suffers from conditioning damage against poetry caused by the real existing German lessons in his / her childhood will find everyone on “Der Mensch” Dubs completely sober without poetry. Nice too.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Review

Dubylon

Anyone having fun Dub Spencer & Trance Hill has will too Dubylon like. The liveDub-Duo from Stuttgart presented their debut album after a year of creative improvisation work: "Dubylon“ (Dubylon) - and what should I say? Sounds like Dub Spencer meets free jazz and is definitely worth an excursion. "DubFor us, ylon means letting our creativity run free, sometimes experimenting wildly with live-controlled effects and not being tied to limits or specifications, ”said João Braun and Julian Humburg. With that they hit the nail on the head - whereby we are already at the body part with the "Dubylon “should be enjoyed: the head. Anyone who intellectually engages in the interesting, contradicting mixture of straight beats and solid basslines on the one hand and weird, almost atonal experiments on the other, should have an exciting experience with the five tracks of the EP. In any case, I'm pretty excited to see which of the two directions the journey from Dubylon will go further.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.