The "Various" aka "Various Artists" in the title of the review is quite an overstatement, especially since only the riddims/Dub Versions of the dominions Sly & Robbie, the Roots Radics and Peter Chemist are involved. The latter in turn uses the first two as instrumentalists in his role as producer. A circle closes, so to speak, even before you have heard the first note.
The recently released album "Dub Masters' (Reggae Library Records), comes across as cheap in terms of cover artwork, and in a sense it is: here's a few Dubs of different acoustic qualities thrown together for no apparent reason; Mastering obviously (obviously if the word existed) didn't take place. Quasi a product for final use at the digital rummage table, brand K-Tel. All in all a grace star, thanks for the interview.
A different approach to the review emerges when looking at the tracklist: there is a small but impressive collection of excellent ones Dubs or tracks by Black Uhuru, Earl Cunningham, Barrington Levy, Jimmy Riley and Sly Dunbar himself; plus a few classic ones Dub-Outings of no less classic riddims: Cuss Cuss, Level Vibes or Breaking Up (here erroneously called Real Rock Dub listed). So the album is a little "powerhouse" and the blemish of the lack of mastering suddenly adds to the authenticity of the tracks - even if fiddling with the volume knob is quite annoying.
And so deliversDub Masters” takes a look back at the 'good old days' – I would say plus/minus the year 1980 – and reminds you of what Dub Jamaican character at that time: The absolute supremacy of drum & bass and the clever fading in and out of the (already sparse) other soundtracks. This concentration on the essentials works acoustically excellently and shows that one can definitely do without the sometimes limitless echo & hall orgies today: A few accents here and there do the trick. If the blank – that is, the riddim – is of quality, it doesn't take much to produce ear gold. Well done, Dubmasters – and by that I mean the real stars of the album: the sound engineers and mix masters who celebrate the art of omission. I guess someone at Reggae Library Records forgot to mention her by name.
It doesn't take much to make the reviewer happy; a bass-heavy, but still dynamic mix with drums from the Sledgehammer brand is enough - i.e. drums that you can not only hear, but above all feel... Drums of the powerful kind, affectionately called "skull splitters". Then a few more Dub- Effects in addition - that's really all you need for that little happiness, the ear orgasm.
Jah Myhrakle's "Who Keeps The Seals? Dub(Gold Den Arkc Recordz). So give the album five stars and you're done. Thank you for the conversation!
No way - I like to dig out the acoustic magnifying glass and take a look behind the scenes; such a classic Dub doesn't suddenly appear out of nowhere. This also applies to Jah Myhrakle, on whose vocal album "He Who Keeps The Seals' the one to be discussed Dub-Release based.
Mr. Myhrakle himself likes to use funny spellings and puts out one album after the other - all with more or less beautiful cover artwork. He prays down his sometimes difficult to understand, probably profound texts mercilessly and emotionlessly, come what may. If you now feel reminded of Vaughn Benjamin aka Akae Beka, you are right: we are dealing with a clone here. Or with a cross between Akae Beka and Jah Rubal - that's probably the best way to describe it. And the same applies there as there: Less would have been more, because maximum output is not synonymous with maximum quality.
Back to Dub, back to Who Keeps The Seals Dub“. As stated above, the dynamic acoustics are delightful; the Dub Effects are well done, even if they are mostly placed pointlessly. If you go a little deeper and pick apart the structures of the tracks, you unfortunately can't get past the irrelevant, uninspired basslines - a big shortcoming in the Dub-Universe where the true hooks are mostly found in the basslines. Taking all the pros and cons into account, the bottom line is - despite the mediocre source material - an album with hammer dynamics: by no means bad, but 5-star material must be able to offer more.
To start with something positive, Alborosie is a great live act with his Shengen Clan. But that's it again. At the beginning of his solo career, the Italian delivered a decent performance with his country-typical grating voice (greetings from Umberto Tozzi, Gianna Nannini, Zucchero & Co): Who doesn't remember the "Herbalist"? And who could have guessed that this track would be the blueprint for pretty much everything else to be produced at Alborosie's Shengen Studio?
Voluminous drums, a simple bassline and credibility samples packed into a simple 80's rubadub-Arrangement without significant hooks; an Italian who tries his hand at patois and perhaps for that reason just barely misses the meaningful content: that was all half-funny with the “Herbalist”; but building a whole career on this concept… well, contrary to expectations, it actually worked! Alborosie fans probably won't agree with me that all albums sound the same and the tracks are interchangeable - that goes for the vocal ones, and especially the cultivated boredom ones, I would argue Dub-Albums. Even the artist himself doesn't seem to have much fun at the mixing desk:
So let's move on to Alborosie's current ones Dub-Release: Schengen Dub / Embryonic Dub (Greensleeves/VP Music Group) is the name of the stream version, which comes up with an amazing 22 tracks. This seemingly never-ending consonance can kill one or the other listener - fans of vinyl, on the other hand, can expect two albums that probably offer better sound and should be easier to digest simply because they are divided into two portions. Or you make it easy for yourself and dizzy through the acoustic convolute - in the sense of: If you've heard one track, you've heard them all:
To end with something positive: Alborosie is a great live act with his Shengen Clan!
Opinions may differ on Mellow Mood – the Italian “en vogue” reggae combo with the dreadlocks twins on the mics: some find it too much dancehall, others too much roots and then there are those who love patois-singing prosperity consider Europeans to be extremely embarrassing. Fortunately, Mellow Mood only interests us peripherally here, because it's actually primarily about Paul Baldini, who plays a leading role in all of the band's productions as producer, sound engineer and mix master.
There is no longer any need to say big words about Baldini – his productions for various artists are generally of high quality; but he can really shine with his Dub-Mixes: These are musical battering rams whose punch subjects the speaker membranes to a breaking point. There's a hunt Dub-Effect the other; between echo and reverberation attacks it squeaks and bubbles, it's a joy.
Of course, this also applies to Mellow Mood's current release "Morning Dub", which Baldini in contrast to the extremely compressed-sounding vocal album "Morning“ sounds wonderfully bass-heavy: It must be so saturated and dynamic at the same time Dub sound 2023.
That would be the “Mañana DubActually a contender for a 5 star review, if… yes, if there wasn't a desire for a bit more modern sounds. Mellow Mood and producer Baldini don't show themselves to be particularly willing to experiment here, see/listen to the drum and percussion samples or the synth sounds. That may be complaining at a high level - but it should show that there is still a little room for improvement.
Has it really been more than 20 years since Groundation's landmark album "Hebron Gate“ appeared? I still remember that the famous, but no longer active Ixtulluh distributor gave me the album. It wasn't love at first sight by any means; it took me a while to think about the release back then: do you still need an unknown band when - in contrast to today - there are tons of other new releases vying for attention? In retrospect, my hesitation was a mistake, because the first time I listened, my jaw dropped. This was reggae the way I had wanted it for years: down-to-earth roots with appealing lyrics and various jazz and blues sprinkles that made the whole thing really interesting: here there were obviously accomplished musicians at work, with influences from other genres made. The fact that the album was recorded under the aegis of Jim Fox and has the appropriate (sound) qualities increased interest - obviously not just mine, as the feedback from the reggae community has shown (although there were also some reservations about Harrison Stafford's voice, which took some getting used to). ). A comparison with the two previous albums reveals the quantum leap in the development of Groundation - and so "Hebron Gate" ultimately became the (not yet so elaborate) blueprint for all subsequent albums by the band; at least as long as this line-up - including Marcus Urani and David Cachere on Hammond organ and trumpet - existed. What followed was a steep career in the reggae universe - especially in Europe, where Groundation, as a successful live act, played almost everything that deserved the name stage; the big festivals anyway.
After "Hebron Gate" the EP "dragon war' or the album 'Dub Wars", the Dub-versions of some album tracks - very tasteful work thanks to Jim Fox, who brought the simple beauty of the instrumentals to the fore and gave them an unexcited Dub- Underwent treatment.
Fast forward to 2023; Groundation is still there (albeit with an almost completely different line-up) and still has it, like last year's release "One Rock“ impressively demonstrated. The veteran Harrison Ford – who obviously managed to secure the rights to the Groundation catalog – is taking the “Hebron Gate” anniversary as an opportunity to revisit the album. This could very well have been a remastered deluxe edition - with unreleased tracks that were already too bad for release at the time, or with bumpy studio outtakes that nobody really needs. Instead, he had the idea of leaving the original tapes to Martin Nathan aka Brain Damage, who unraveled the soundtracks, polished the sound to a high gloss, then put the whole thing back together (sometimes in a highly idiosyncratic way) and provided it with a few additional instrumental tracks or sound effects. It is probably no coincidence that the title “Dreaming from an Iron Gate” (Baco Records) the word “Dub“ can’t find it again; that would also be short-sighted. Rather, the new album is an in-depth, at times psychedelic journey into the bowels of Hebron Gate.
There's a lot to discover here that was lost in the original mix and is only now being revealed by the sound, which has been adapted to today's listening habits - such as the finely chiseled drum and cymbal work by Paul Spina or some background vocals that apparently made the mix 20 years ago. fell victim to scissors. This often gives the impression of being in the middle of an acoustic documentation of the old recordings, in which special features that have never been heard before are repeatedly pointed out. However, one can certainly question whether the newly recorded, additional soundtracks were necessary: they are often helpful in condensing the atmosphere; sometimes, on the other hand, they seem to be asking themselves the question of meaning. Also debatable are the excursions into… well, into the psychedelic. In and of itself not an uncharming idea, but it slows down the natural flow of the riddims: It grooves along very nicely and all of a sudden, without any warning, (newly recorded) synths roar and sway along... a bit in the direction of Pink Floyd, one might think . You can see that as an enrichment or as sacrilege, it always takes getting used to.
Which says a lot, if not everything, about this release. As always, use the comment tool below for additional opinions and discussions. That leaves the assessment of the reviewer, who sees himself torn: first the album amazes and inspires, then it bores, then again one discovers something new and unheard; sometimes the excursion into the psychedelic is good, sometimes it's just annoying. Does the star award even depend on the daily constitution? So I play it safe with the rating and at the same time rely on the independent judgment of the local people Dubologists: What do you think of "Dreaming from an Iron Gate"?
What used to be marveled at as a curiosity is now a matter of course: roots reggae and Dub have found their home in all corners of the world. This is also the case in the Chinese Sichuan province, where the seven-piece combo JahWahZoo got together to play surprisingly authentic-sounding reggae. her debut soon"zoo party“ and his Dub-Counterpart "Zoo Dubby" were produced on site by Nick Manasseh - which certainly allows conclusions to be drawn about the musical ability of the band.
The second album was - no less amazingly - a collaboration with I Kong, the veteran of the Jamaican Kong family, not unknown in the reggae universe, with Chinese roots. "Zoo to the Roots“ was released in 2020 and can be heard because of the successful tunes: Roots to the core, made in Chengdun.
In good old tradition is now (finally) the corresponding Dub-Album released: "Zoo to the Dub“ – due to a lack of Mandarin knowledge, I not only have to fit the name of the label, but also the other details about the production. Research suggests that Skunga Kong - son of I Kong - was at the mixing desk; one or the other reader may know more precisely and share it here. Ultimately, what counts is what is found in our auditory canals; and that is finely mixed Dub, which is based on solid, hand-made riddims.
There are two recommendations for this - one, to fully commit to “Zoo to the Dub“ to let in and to the Dubs to please; the other recommendation would be to revisit the I Kong oeuvre - the vocal release 'Zoo to the Roots' offers a fitting start.
Guido Craveiro's project "Dubxanne" is back after a long break - it's really been an incredible 15 years since "police in Dub" past? If you listen to the new album "Popwave in Dub“ (Echo Beach) time doesn't matter anymore: Craveiro's productions then as now are flawlessly produced and mixed, the sound very balanced and highly polished. But that brings us to the first point of criticism: Such brilliantly clean productions inspire for the time being, but after repeated listening, signs of fatigue are spreading. Everything is so neat and tidy that you want to scratch the vinyl to create a bit of shoddy. Before the vinyl fans among us get outraged: This review is based on the album stream.
The album title “Popwave in Dub“ sets the direction: reggae-fected cover versions of 80s titles, located somewhere between new wave and simple pop – right across the board, so to speak. This sometimes works impressively well, as the early releases of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" and Blondie's "Heart of Glass" or the furious "Tainted Love" show; sometimes less good (Depeche Mode's "It's no good", Visage's "Fade to Grey") and sometimes not at all: Cindy Lauper's chewing gum pop "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" is available here in the male version, which lacks any liveliness of the original leaves.
The album finally offers six more Dub-versions, which naturally interest us the most: The mixes are up-to-date, but a bit restrained when it comes to the effects. The latter does not always have to be a disadvantage, especially if you want to put the repetitive element in the foreground or simply want to intensify the atmosphere. See (or hear) the successful ones Dub Versions of The Cure's languid "Lullaby" and Blondie's "Heart of Glass". "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", on the other hand, is also available as Dub a flop – there was nothing left to save.
Such a hit & miss album is difficult to rate and the number of stars can only be a considered compromise. So on the plus side there's a nice idea, a skillful production and some nice titles and Dubs. Negatives are the clinically clean sound and one or the other mistake in the song selection; you can't ignore the Cindy Lauper total failure either. Therefore, may each form his own opinion; for the reviewer, the positives ultimately outweigh the negatives.
What are 7 years when it comes to the successor to the praised "Natural Heights"-Album by the Danish Guiding Star Orchestra goes! The new release "CommunionIn contrast to its predecessor, Tribe 84Records only contains eight tracks (none this time Dubs what on a separate Dub-Album gives hope), but which are worth listening to: Finest instrumental Roots Reggae with elaborate brass sections and not so subtle ones at all Dubeffects that also work well live:
The fact that experienced musicians are at work can be heard from the first note and culminates in the solos of the wind instruments - grandiose work on trombone, flute and saxophone. Nevertheless, I wouldn't put the jazz stamp on the whole thing, the thing simply grooves too well: bass & drums behave as driving forces - sometimes as rockers, sometimes as one drop.
Ultimately, “Communion” is undoubtedly a superb album, but does it deserve five stars? Not quite, because fade-outs are really no longer necessary or appropriate, especially with well-arranged instrumentals. Then you also have to say a few words about the sound of the album: Compared to "Natural Heights", here you have gone into somewhat more bass-heavy realms. Which isn't a bad thing per se and is even desirable in the genre - as long as it doesn't come at the expense of the heights. A comparison of the two albums by the Guiding Star Orchestra makes the difference in sound clear. That may be complaining on a high level and doesn't affect one or the other listener in the slightest - but above all it shouldn't stop anyone from dealing with the album, especially since it's about 35 minutes of the finest music.
Here's a brand new album that brings back strong memories of a hit from the 1970s - a time when I remembered the Dubs wasn't aware of but loved this radio play single: "Egyptian reggae“ by Jonathan Richman & The Modern L0vers – who comes out in terms of age and still remembers it?
On their album "chicha Dub(La Panchita Records). Whereby I use the word "Dub' in the title a bit exaggerated - 'Chicha Instrumentals Dubwise" is more like it, but who likes such bulky titles...
Guitarist Salvadori and drummer/DJ/producer Chalart58 belong to the Manu Chaos sphere in the broadest sense; The former is touring with him, the latter is in the Dub-Scene no stranger and has recently entered with Chao reggae album published. Together they release “Chicha Dub“ now an album that lives from upbeat riddims and is probably supposed to spread a good mood. The whole is light, beautifully and cleanly produced; the percussionist is outstanding, who can express himself in the arrangements. And yet this release has a few glaring weaknesses - like: The bass is for a Dub-Album kept too quiet and almost drowns in the mix; and if we're from Dub speaking, the relevant effects are all there and well placed, but the spark only wants to jump over when the omnipresent whining guitars take a break:
The "Chicha Dub' could easily have been used as the soundtrack for the TV series 'The Munsters', some tracks are so strange. I, on the other hand, lack the sluggish, often mystical heaviness on which a Dub with the help of various studio effects. Here's the opposite of that - if you like it, you'll celebrate the album.
That could easily have caught the eye: Icon David Bowie "in Dub“. Also because the previous Dub-Tributes of the Echo Beach label most extreme between hit (Police in Dub) and Miss (Palmer in Dub) swayed. So here it is, something pseudo-witty named "Dubby Stardust: Spaced Oddity". You could have just called it "David Bowie: Spaced Oddity" or if that's not possible for copyright reasons, then for my sake "The Thin White Duke: Spaced Oddity". But the reviewer gets lost in the details again...
However, it is the album that should be discussed and not its name. Producer Lee Groves grabbed a few gems from Bowie's catalogue, re-recorded and that Dub-Subject to treatment. He also found some vocally fitting singers - with the emphasis on singers, because one track (and "Heroes" at that!!!) massacres an inconsequential-sounding female singer whose name I have wisely forgotten. But the rest of the tracks… yes, it's worth seeing (read: hearing).
As mentioned at the beginning, this could have been a musical suicide mission, but it actually works: the sounds and arrangements are melancholy, bass-heavy and provided with hypnotically slow one drops (only “Let's Dance” could have used a little more oomph); the Dub Mix successful and very close to the pulse of time. You can do that from the current competitor product, Easy Star All-Stars' "Ziggy stardub“ Don't claim, it comes across as quite conservative (if not to say: old-fashioned). Lee Groves, on the other hand, has managed the balancing act, much of the spirit of the originals in the new Dub-Transfer versions (particularly successful: "Black Star", "Space Oddity" or "Ashes to Ashes"); Bowie enthusiasts may see things differently.
All in all - despite a few points of criticism - a thoroughly successful album that the reviewer streams up and down on repeat. And frankly: A volume 2 is needed; Bowie has plenty of other masterpieces to offer and Lee Groves is obviously the man to a) do the tracks as Dubs and b) to interpret them in a contemporary way by means of sound and mix. Staging and zeitgeist... ultimately two qualities that David Bowie made good use of.