I heard them for the first time in 1992 Alpha & Omega-Debut albums "Daniel In The Lions Den" and "King And Queen". They were a revelation at a time when reggae was determined by “Computerized Rhythms” and Dub ceased to exist in Jamaica. I had never heard such a deep, grumpy, extremely warm bass in any reggae recording. The early 80ies I loved because of their deep soundDub-Tracks of the Roots Radics sounded as light as a feather in contrast. If there was any comparison to A&O, it was Lee Perry in his prime with Black Ark. The mystical-spiritual atmosphere of his recordings pointed the way, which A&O continued almost two decades later (and which is currently ending in the productions of Rhythm & Sound). South London bassist Christine Woodbridge and her partner John Spronsen make no secret of who their role models are: “Lee Perry, Augustus Pablo and Yabby You”. As for the music of these three Dub-Artists is less of the refined Dub-Mix (like for example with King Tubby) than their dense, atmospheric sound. Woodbridge and Spronsen have condensed, reduced and radicalized this sound again. He is unique and among all UKDub- Recordings clearly identifiable. In addition to Christine Woodbridge's deep, deep bass hum, the melodies of which are barely identifiable, and the stoic steppers drumbeat, it is above all spherical swelling and swelling background noises with massive reverbs that conjure up the acoustic impression of a jungle and make A&O pieces unmistakable . Acoustic sounds such as the reverberation of huge gongs, briefly played harpsichord chords, explosive melodica or percussions are also typical. What is astonishing is that the tracks, which are remembered as infinitely sluggish rolling rhythms, often turn out to be up-tempo pieces when listened to, which seem to advance with an unstoppable urge. It's great that A&O does not have the fate of many UKDub-Bands of the 90s share and have disappeared into oblivion. After listening to remixes of their old repertoire for many years, completely new pieces are now coming from the home studio in London. The new album "Spirit Of The Ancients" (Greensleeves / Zomba) share the two with Jonah Dan and shine here with great new tracks and wonderful vocal /Dub-Combinations. Jonah Dan, who produced and recorded the other half of the album, fits perfectly into the A&O concept. Although his style is cleaner and the tracks are structured more clearly, the two sounds complement each other to form a round UKDub-Album, as it has been heard far too seldom in recent years. Let's hope that some of this will stimulate the UKDub- Go out scene and motivate them to renew their vigor.
True Dub-Heads will not have remained hidden that the summer months were lacking in supplies. The only interesting material I could find is an album of the Dubwise prayers with the title: "The Dubplate Series ". (Realeyes / Import). This is a very small edition with a hand-burned CD and a laser-copied cover (of particular ugliness). Very, very skeptical, I put the CD (bought for 16 euros) into the player - and was pleasantly surprised. Classic UKDub was heard, not particularly innovative, but solid and astonishingly varied. The spectrum ranges from very nice, straightforward steppers beats to more experimental mixes and growling synth sounds. You can hear on many tracks that Alpha & Omega were the inspiration behind this. On the other hand, the pieces on which the violin playing of a certain J. Bloom can be heard are very independent - infinitely melancholy and very mystical. It is difficult to classify the pieces chronologically, because you can hear sounds from the 80s as well as the 90s - and who knows whether eclectic comrades of postmodernism were at work here and indiscriminately in reggae and Dub-History or whether we are simply dealing with old recordings? The whole thing is mysterious!
Since we have so much space this time (to interpret the lack of material positively), I want to take the opportunity to think a little outside the box of typical reggaeDubs to look out and, dear raggae fans, suggest an album that you can get from your house and techno dealer (e.g. www.kompakt.net): "Rocket In Dub: If Music Could Talk “(Italic / Compact). Irrespective of the reggae scene Dub has secured a permanent place in the world of minimal electronic music in recent years. In the beginning, the driving force was undoubtedly the Berlin Basic Channel label, from which z. B. Rhythm & Sound also emerged and their makers are currently responsible for the re-publication of the Wackies back catalog. The artists of the Cologne compact label have their own minimal style Dub-Music developed for which this “Rocket In Dub“Album is a good example. Hypnotic, powerfully syncopated shuffel beats with lots of little click & cut effects and full reverb and echo. The already quite slimmed-down one can be minimal Dub-Don't understand music. Everything superfluous has been eliminated - the core of the Dub-Sounds lies bare. Like in a laboratory experiment, neatly dissected, analyzed and recombined. If music could talk, it would tell us how it is in the subatomic world of Dub looks like, would tell us whether the microcosm of sound resembles the computer simulation that Rocket In Dub presents. I am willing to believe in it.
Finally, two short messages for Dub-Geeks: The “Culture in.” Produced by Sonja Pottinger and mixed by Errol Brown has just finished Dub“1978 album under the title "Rare and Unreleased Dub"(Revolver / import) Released as a South African import. Unfortunately mastered from pretty crisp vinyl. Was also published again Burning Spears “Living Dub Vol.1 "- but in contrast to the Heartbeat Rerelease from 1992 now under the title: "Original Living Dub Vol. 1 "(Burning Spear / Import). While the Heartbeat version presented the album in a new mix by Barry O'Hare and Nelson Miller, "Original Living ..." offers the original, better mix by Karl Pitterson and Benji Armbrister.