Categories
Five Star Review

Pinnacle Sound: In Dub, vol. 1

Released in the last few meters of 2023, the album “In Dub, Vol. 1” (Bat Records) from Pinnacle Sound is one of the highlights of the year for me. Okay, I've criticized the retro sound often enough and in fact you can ask yourself how much sense there is in recreating the sound of historical reggae styles. But on the other hand, the historical material is already limited in terms of quantity - not to mention the sound quality. So when new music is created in a historical style, it can easily be dismissed as eclectic or historicist, but at the same time it can be wonderful music. Maybe it would help to delete the “historical” and simply take the style for what it is, without any implicit judgment: a characteristic sound form. So what if we understood “Early Reggae” simply as a musical style with no historical dimension? As well as z. B. Steppers or One Drop? Although the comparison is flawed, it would be a welcome solution to my dilemma that I like Pinnacle Sound's new work so much - even though it is historical early reggae in its purest form. I love the album: the sound is so irresistibly fresh, so energetic and so catchy that it is a pure joy - and any academic discussion about the justification of eclecticism is forbidden. Apart from that, “In Dub, Vol. 1” a quality of Dub, as it did not exist 50 years ago.

My new favorite album has been released on Bat-Records, the small studio and label based in Clermont-Ferrand that, in addition to Pinnacle Sound, also owns Dub Shepherds belong. Both creators of beautiful retro reggae. In the present case Dub album have Pinnacle Sound and the Dub Shepherds worked together congenially, after all it is about them Dub-Version of the Pinnacle album “Soul Medicine” from 2022, which was released at the time by the Dub Shepherds was mixed (and probably also recorded). What could be closer than that? Dub-Mix to put into the hands of the shepherds? And they did a fantastic job. If you wanted to explain what in a music seminar Dub then you would only need the track “Psam 2” from “Dub Medicine” play and then the Dub-Put on the “Psalm 150” version. The seminar could remain wordless, because... Dub gets to the heart of what our favorite music is all about: using the mix to create a completely unique piece of music. The difference between the two psalms – despite the identical material basis – could not be greater.

Even if the psalm is something very special, the album is convincing throughout its entire length. Everyone Dub is a through-composed piece of music with wonderful arrangements, great melodies and good mix ideas that go far beyond the (sparing) use of reverb and echo. A mix that gives the pieces a real dramaturgy - like a meta-arrangement. I'm glad that this album was released in 2023, because in this way I can fervently and with full conviction contradict gtk's thesis that the annual output in 2023 is bad.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Categories
Charts

Dubblog annual charts 2023

It's that time again: We serve you ours Dub-Top 5 of the year ending. As you can see, diversity counts for us. How could it be otherwise with such a diverse genre? We look forward to your comments.

Top 5 from René

Zion Train: Dissident Sound

Maybe the best Zion Train album ever. Everything is right here: composition, production, mix. Even the message fits.

Pinnacle Sound: In Dub Flight. 1

Appeared at the last meters of the year and immediately became my highlight of 2023. Runs on a loop over the Christmas holidays.

Guiding Star Orchestra: Communion

Finest instrumental roots reggae with fantastic brass sections, soulfully mixed and gently presented.

Prince Fatty meets The Gorgon in Dub

It's hard to believe what the fat prince gets out of the Bunny Lee productions he's heard thousands of times.

Jah Myhrakle: Who Keeps The Seals Dub

A mystical and mysterious album from Belize, from a musician about whom hardly anything is known. It doesn't have to, because the music speaks for itself.

Top 5 of Ras Vorbei

The Thugs: Holy Cobra Dub

Tracks that have exactly this expansive, profound attitude, this feeling of constant invention.

Jah Myhrakle: Who Keeps The Seals Dub

Jah Myhrakle is an electrifying reggae performer who presents a mental and spiritual challenge in a positive sense.

Dublerone: Dub For Kailash

Handmade Dub-Chocolate at its finest with a jazzy touch from the Swiss capital.

Creation Rebel: Hostile Environment

After more than 40 years of absence from the stage, Reggae/Dub-Legend back with a brilliant new album.

The Grapes of Dub: Combat Dub

Head Music: These strange sounds are remarkably bizarre yet exciting to listen to.

Top 5 from gtk

2023: Unfortunately no!

Just between us: 2023 was not a good year for that Dubgenre, especially in the area of ​​roots. Of course, a “merely good” album could have been placed here, but that wouldn’t have been deserved. That's why no No. this time. 1 – unfortunately!

Dub Syndicate: Acres of Space (Re-Release 2023)

Even at No. 2, you have to fall back on the tried and tested: The “Acres of Space” album, originally released in 2023, is also available in 2001 Dub Syndicates is a wonderful work refined by Adrian Sherwood. A long-awaited re-release!

Mellow Mood & Paolo Baldini DubFiles: Manana Dub

About the quality of the Dub-Counterparts from Mellow Mood’s “Mañana” album only require two words: Paolo Baldini.

guidance Star Orchestra: Communion

“The finest instrumental roots reggae with elaborate brass sections and not so subtle ones Dub-Effects” – that’s what it says in the album review and you really can’t put it better.

Dub Plantation: Beware of the Megamagicmushrooms!

The debut of Dub Plantage sounds like a lost album mixed by acoustic wizard Paul Smykle that could have been released in his heyday - around '84. Wonderful!

Categories
Review

Masamune: Mirage

Musical styles develop, meander through the musical landscape, absorb musical and generally cultural influences, change the direction of technical innovations, become mainstream, become narrow streams or, often, even dry up completely. Dub has changed since its invention in the late 1960s. The leap into Europe and the development of the UK brought about an important realignment.Dub. Since then it has been Dub has become an international style and has increased enormously in its diversity. But if you tried to identify a general trend, it always failed. The genre is too pluralistic. But now I dare to hypothesize that the flow of the... Dub is getting closer and closer to the current of electronic music. Yes, yes, I know, Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus already did it in the 1990s Dub and techno have merged, but what was an exception back then now seems to be increasing in volume and frequency. I expressly mean not Dub Techno, what pure techno Dub-effects, but the counterpart on the reggae side: Dub with techno appeal. Purists will of course reject this out of hand, but I believe there is interesting potential here. The Frenchman Masamune (who apparently named himself after a famous Japanese swordsmith of the 13th century) explores this with his album “Mirage” (ODGPROD) carefully. He does this cleverly by exploring familiar electronic territory with track 1 Dub starts and then slowly moves towards techno, where it finally arrives at track 4 - only to take the curve to drum & bass at track 5. This makes sense and is also fun. If you're not afraid, you should take this short introduction to techno Dub and beyond that, definitely listen to it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
Interview

Interview with Paul Fox

Your name: Paul Fox
You live in: Southampton, UK
Title of your last album: Standing Dub

What is your personal definition of Dub?
For me, a dub is almost always a dub version of a vocal tune. This means that the dub is another version of the original song that breaks down the tune into component parts and focuses on certain parts at certain times. The dub Will also inevitably incorporate echoes and other effects to make it more 'out there' than the original song. At other times, dub is a mixture of rhythm and effects to produce an interesting and hypnotizing version of a song.

What makes a good dub?
To me there is no definition of what makes a good dub. If there was a formula to make good dubs then once you know the formula, all of yours dubs would be great! So I feel it is always about the end result. Does the end result feel good to your ears and body and soul? If it does then you have made a good one dub. Sometimes it may be a hardcore steppers dub or it may be a very mellow chilled dub. As long as it 'feels' good then it is good! This may be different to every listener.

What aspects of dub music fascinates you the most?
Having listened to dub music for about 40 years and having been making dub music for more than 30 of those years, the aspect of dub music (and any kind of music) that fascinates me is something about it that sounds really interesting. This could vary from one to another dub track to another. It could be something like a very strange sound that is being used which works really well or it could be some amazing musicianship like incredible drum playing or a fantastic flute solo. It could be the original use of an effect on something that catches your ear. Basically, the thing that fascinates me the most now after all of these years is something that draws me to the dub because it is interesting and original.

How did you discover your passion for Dub and how have you and your music developed since then?
Simple answer – Jah Shaka. When I first started listening to reggae music, I enjoyed it dub versions but did not really pay much attention to them. However, when I first went to see Jah Shaka Sound System I was completely blown away and fully appreciated the beauty of dub music and the places it could take you to in your mind. I started making reggae music and dub after going to some Shaka sessions and my music has developed a lot since then. For many years I think that I was so heavily influenced by sound system culture that I believed dub music should be created with sound systems in mind. The way my music has developed is that I no longer think in those terms and I am totally free to make whatever kind of reggae and dub that suits me. I listen to a lot of genres of music and now I like to incorporate other flavors into my music which keeps it interesting for me and hopefully for other people too.

What does the process of creating a typical Dub track of yours look like?
As I said, the dub Almost always starts life as a vocal track first so the process usually starts by loading up a song that contains vocals. If the individual tracks (drums, bass, chops etc) are already quite produced (EQ, compression, effects and so on) then I will think about what needs to be different in the dub to distinguish it from the vocal version. This could mean changing the EQ on the kick drum to make it sound heavier than the original version if that is what the track needs. Or it could mean changing the levels slightly because I want the focus on something different. Then I will choose the right effects and decide if I need any new sounds that were not in the original song. Before doing an actual mix I will just play the dub through many times mixing as I go and making a mental note of the things that work well and the things that don't. I will also be aware that if that dub is part of an album, then I have to make sure that the mix fits in with the album. So in other words, to keep the album interesting I don't want everyone dub to start with the same kind of intro like just chops and a melody before the drums and bass come in. There should be a variety of approaches and some dubs may start with all of the sounds or just drum and bass or just vocals and chops.

When you are satisfied with a dub track you produced?Almost never! But at some point you have to admit that it is probably not going to end up sounding noticeably better the longer you spend on it and also you have to keep interested in it yourself. If I worked on one dub for a year solidly then it might sound really great but it is more likely that I would have lost interest in it and that would be heard by the listener. If I feel quite excited about a track then I want to stop working on it when it has 'peaked' in terms of how good it sounds to me.

What is most important when producing dub?
The same thing as working on any kind of music – make sure that I like it and would want to listen to it and make sure that it is interesting to the ear.

You also sing yourself. When do you decide to turn your production into a song and when do you just stick to dub?
I almost always start a track assuming that I will sing on it or someone will sing on it. I have released a couple of dub only tracks over the years but this is very rare. This usually comes about because I have a concept that I like. For instance, I released a dub called Roots Rock because I wanted to make a sprawling long song (nearly six minutes) that had horn solos, guitar solos and other sections a bit like Journey to Addis by Third World. In fact the b-side of my first release was called African Mask and was about 8 minutes long I think and was a similar concept of a long sprawling track that took you on a journey but that one changed into even more of a dub version halfway through.

Basically asked: Do you like songs or dubs better? Why?
Instinctively I would say songs but there are definitely times I prefer them dub version of a song. I think that some dubs are so classic that they outshine the vocal version such as 'King Tubbys meets Rockers Uptown' even though the vocal version is amazing. Similarly I prefer 'Your Teeth in my Neck' by Scientist to the vocal version even though I love the vocal version. I think overall I like hearing a good vocal followed by a good dub version which sort of makes the experience feel whole. The reason I probably prefer vocals is because that is where the journey normally begins for me and the feeling I get from the song is what initially pulls me in.

What is your special strength?
I wish I had one! I am not sure what my strength is. Maybe it is to keep producing new music regularly for 30 odd years without getting bored.

Which album do you consider to be your best?
This will depend on what mood I am in. But it would probably be one of my recent albums such as Imaginary Lines, Same Blood or Standing Tall and those dub versions.versions. The dub album of mine that I usually listen to the most is Dub Blood, the dub version to Same Blood. But with standing Dub being released recently I am also leaning towards that one. The reason I like these albums and theirs dub versions is because I created these works without feeling like I should be making sound system music – I just wanted to make good, interesting and original music. So these are my most varied albums.

Are you able to make a living from music?
No. I wish I did but I have never made that much money from music and I have to work a 'normal' job to support myself and my family.

What aspects of producing music do you enjoy the most?
I think in very general terms I enjoy the journey the most. That is to say that I like having a concept in my mind and then seeing where that takes me in terms of sound choices and other aspects. It is a great feeling to sit back and listen to the last few hours of work knowing that before that, this idea had never existed. It is very satisfying when all things come together and the end result is sounding good to my ears. Nowadays I tend to get guest singers and musicians on almost all of my tracks. I do this because I like having other influences other than just my own on a track to keep it interesting. So when a drummer sends me his files or a guitarist sends me his files, it is a great feeling to bring all of their work and my work together to produce something new.

What do you dislike in the studio?
The one part of the process that I like the least is writing lyrics. I have literally written hundreds of songs. When I release an album, it will usually be around 12 tracks picked from up to 30-40 tracks that I have written in that period. So coming up with new lyrics and melodies after writing for over 30 years is a challenge especially because I want songs to sound new and original.

When you're not working on Dubs, what do you like to do most?
I like to listen to lots of different kinds of music. I also love a good movie!

What music do you listen to besides Dub?
It is probably easier to say what kinds of music I do not listen to! I like pop, alternative pop, dancehall, rock, progressive rock, hip-hop, rap, Afrobeats, singer-songwriter, soundtracks, punk music and more. I don't listen to country music or thrash metal and probably a couple of other genres but I am very open-minded about music. All it has to do is sound good to me regardless of the genre.

If money and time were no object, what project would you like to realize?
I would love to work with some of the new reggae artists in Jamaica like Jaz Elise and Lila Iké. I would also like to make a project that involved traveling to different countries and working with artists and musicians in those places. It would end up being a sort of fusion between world music and reggae/dub.

Are there any Sound System events that you particularly enjoy attending? Why?
I haven't been to a sound system for a while because I don't enjoy that environment as much as I used to. This is less to do with the sound system culture and more to do with being around so many people! I am more introverted than I used to be and just enjoy being with fewer people when I want to relax. However, when I have been to reggae or dub events, I still love the vibes. I have always enjoyed the vibes of Aba-Shanti. As long as the vibes are positive and the music is interesting and varied then it would be an event that I would enjoy.

What do you prefer: studio work or sound system performance?
Definitely studio work. Sound system performance can be amazing and incredibly rewarding to feel the vibes of everyone focused on the same thing but there is also a pressure and an aspect of nerves that does not exist with studio work. Being on my own or with another person in the studio is complete freedom and relaxation.

Who do you think is the greatest dub artist of all time?
I would probably have to look at the classic dub artists like King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, Lee Perry and Scientist for that title because they were the pioneers and deserve a lot of respect. I do enjoy more modern dub producers as well as long as the music is a bit different and is not just trying to emulate the golden age of dub music which people think of as the kinds of dub being produced in the 1970's. We have to look forward and be pioneers ourselves.

And who is currently the most interesting Dub artist?
Me of course!!! No, not really. I think someone who does things a bit differently grabs my attention but I don't have a favorite dub artist. It depends on the individual dub itself.

Which sound system do you value most?
Jah Shaka was my introduction to sound systems and so will always be greatly valued but I really like Aba-Shanti. Often small local sound systems have an appeal because they have an original vibe unless they are just trying to emulate Shaka or others. So there is a local sound system near me called Countryman Sound System that plays a varied and pleasing selection that does not descend into endless steppers.

What are your personal top five dub albums?
Classics only on this list….
Augustus Pablo: King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown
Lee Perry: Great ape
Jah Shaka & Aswad: Jah Shaka Meets Aswad in Addis Ababa Studio
The Twinkle Brothers: Dub Massacre Part 1
Sound Iration: In Dub

Categories
Review

Protoje & Zion I Kings: In Search of Zion

Review René

It's a bit strange that a Jamaican artist has to turn to musicians outside of Jamaica if he wants roots reggae rhythms. But okay, Jamaica is moving forward – while here in the “West” we conservatively hold on to the legacy of the 1970s. Since we still have some purchasing power here (let's see how long that lasts), Protoje came up with the idea of ​​having his 2020 album "In Seach of Lost Time" "remixed" for our listening tastes and as “In Search of Zion” (RCA Records). Remix here means that the three Zion I Kings producers have actually composed and recorded a completely new roots instrumental album - which, however, only serves as backing for the vocals from Protoje's existing album "In Seach of Lost Time". It's a really crazy concept: just swap out the music to better sell the album to European and North American audiences. Well, it's just business. However, the Zion I Kings were proud enough to release a double album Dub-versions of their productions. And let's listen to it now. What is immediately noticeable: The spectrum ranges stylistically from lovers rock backings to (subdued) roots steppers. I'll now benevolently delete the Lovers Rhythms because I can't do anything with Schlager, no matter what musical form it comes in. The backings of Schlager are not far from elevator music – a product of boredom. What remains are the rootsDubs on the album. But compared to the state of the art, they areDub of the present, incredibly pale and inconspicuous. Where is the power of Roots? Where is the dynamic, where is the rebellious statement? How can a roots album by a great artist come across as so shallow, unoriginal and despondent? The same applies to the Dubmix: Absolutely generic. Unfortunately, “In Search of Zion” is a huge missed opportunity for modern Dub to make it palatable to a broad target group of Protoje fans.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Review gtk

Admittedly, I'm more familiar with Protoje - especially in recent years - through casual overhearing: I'm not into hip-hop, I'm not into chanting. Maybe in this case you could call it conscious hip hop, progressive rap, sing-song or whatever; In any case, the music and lyrics leave my auditory nerves pretty unimpressed - even though I have certainly engaged with Protoje's albums, even if not with the usual intensity: In the end, every artist deserves a chance.

For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that in Protoje's oeuvre - or should we say: in the oeuvre of his producers - one can certainly discover successful hooks. You could already find them in the first (internationally released) albums - thanks to producer Don Corleon, who basically wrote the Reggae/Conscious Dancehall/R&B-heavy material at the time, right down to the lyrics, for Protoje. With the albums and singles that followed, Protoje was able to establish itself as a permanent fixture in its ReggaeHipHopR&B hybrid genre with its own label and management and, above all, the support of producer/keyboarder Phillip James. Live a little more roots, in the studio a little more R&B - to each their own. It was only a matter of time before a major label put Protoje in the black and signed him up to a contract. Sony Music or its sub-label RCA Records has more or less controlled Protoje's fortunes since 2020, although he expects "a certain level of creative control" (=> Wikipedia) from the deal. One would like to wish him that, even though one knows that majors are not exactly squeamish when their financial input does not bear the expected fruit.

Two very successful albums on RCA Records later, we are faced with a surprise these days: someone has the (vocal) tapes of the 2021 release "In Search of Lost Time“ handed over to the Zion I Kings team – nothing less than the roots-oriented reggae album “In Search of Zion(RCA Records) (RCA even calls it a “remix album”). Whose idea that was is anyone's guess; it may be Protoje himself to regain some credibility in the reggae community; It may be Sony/RCA Records that also wants the Sunshine Reggae segment to be covered in its roster. The fact that Zion the I Kings was hit may be because of their good reputation or because of their first collaboration on Protoje's last regular release "Third Time's the Charmto be grateful for.

Now we already know what we can expect from the Zion I Kings: flawless craftsmanship, solid arrangements and the finest sound, implemented in classic-looking roots tunes. You really can't complain, it's solid backing that gives every singer room to do their thing. This even works, as in this case, if the singer doesn't sing anything new. Wonderful and maximally enlightening: listening to the original and the reggae version back-to-back, comparing two worlds. Rap like that doesn't work on Roots... but it does. And it sounds good!

As an unexpected bonus, Protoje/RCA Records/Zion I Kings also give us this Dub-Tracks of these reggae versions recorded two years ago. The Zion I Kings can do that too, as they did with the Dub-Albums under his own name have proven - especially with the Vol. 1 of theirs Dub-Series, with which they pay an excellent tribute to Style Scott. Now we know - and have already discussed it here - that you shouldn't expect any crazy innovations from the men around Laurent Alfred - they boom accordingly Dubs bass-heavy from the speakers; The effects are used with appropriate precision and never oversteer. Nothing new under the Virgin Islands sun – “just” the usual reliability with quality.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
Review

Subdub: Digital Africa

Subdub is a well-known venue in Leeds (UK) that has been running since 1998 Dub, Roots, Dancehall, Jungle, D&B and Dubstep prescribed. How wonderful it would be to have a club like this in my city! Instead, there are clubs here that give me the choice every Saturday between techno, hardcore techno and tech house. mainstream instead Dub liking would definitely make my life more enjoyable. But somehow Mother Nature gave me this Dub-Gen donated and then put me on a deserted island where Dub is only available as canned food. This is exactly what the makers of Sub wanted Dub To give myself and countless fellow sufferers around the world some relief and planned to publish a sub in 2001dubcompilation album entitled “Digital Africa”. But when the “Digital Africa” test pressings finally arrived, the project was put on hold. Why? Well, dear vinyl friends, it's your fault, because pressing and distributing vinyl was so expensive back then that Subdub couldn't raise the necessary money for it. So the compilation disappeared on the shelf for a while - until 22 years later Dubquake team made a pilgrimage from France to Leeds and discovered the test pressings there: unreleased and exclusive titles by Iration Steppas, Jah Warrior, Vibronics, The Disciples, Tena Stelin, Nucleus Roots, The Bush Chemists and Freedom Masses. 12 UKDubs from the 90s, hard-hitting, uncompromising Sound System stuff curated by Simon Scott and Mark Iration. Since the financial situation of DubQuake is sufficient (and a digital publication is now available almost free of charge), the decision was made to “Digital Africa” (Dubquake) just in time to celebrate Sub's 25th birthdaydub to be released (of course also on vinyl ;-). “And” – the question now arises – “has the music passed the test of time?” I have to admit: Hell, yes, it has. Why “damn”? Because it raises a number of questions when music that was created a quarter of a century ago doesn't sound historical today, but still sounds up to date - and that in a genre that claims to be progressive. Okay, sound system music doesn't exactly represent the avant-garde Dubs, but the considerable historical distance should be more clearly audible than is the case with “Digital Africa”. Was the compilation way ahead of its time, or could it be that the UKDub hasn't really developed further and is stuck in the early two thousandths? The last thesis isn't quite that hypothetical, because... Dub in the UK is still influenced today by the actors of that time. But fortunately there are many Dub-Musicians who stand on the shoulders of the UKDub but have overcome it stylistically and are breaking new ground. Only on Sound Systems is he still alive, the good old UK-Dub-Sound – and there it is unsurpassed. Good things remain!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
Review

Paradise 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.
Categories
Review

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.
Categories
Review

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.
Categories
Review

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.