Roots Makers: In Dub

Sometimes you just get stuck, and in the end you have to accept that. There is this new one Dub-Album (actually there are two albums) about which at the time of this review there is almost nothing or very little information to be found. Even though the band / the musicians / the producer conglomerate have their own website, one Facebook-Page, one InstagramAccount and a YouTube-Canal operates; the gentlemen may not respond to inquiries either. So much of what you read here is pure conjecture.

... and so there were once three people, presumably from a francophone country, who banded together around a classic style Dub- Record album. Not particularly resourceful "Roots Makers in Dub"Named, it is the counterpart to an instrumental release, which is - no na - simple"Roots Makers“Titled. Both appeared on the same day, and the artists call themselves ... * yawn * ... Roots Makers.

One should not be fooled by this lack of imagination; the name says it all: this is one of the best rootsDub-Albums of the young year before; the accompanying instrumental album also gives rise to great joy. The riddims are catchy, instrumented in a classic style and superbly mixed; even the reviewer finds little to complain about. Well, maybe the drummer could have held back a little with the fills and there is a suspicion that there were no brass bands live in the studio - but that's about it. 

Zum Dub-Mix unfortunately (or thank God?) There isn't much to say: Classic effects, well placed; not too dominant, but also not below the threshold of perception. In short: it all fits together well and adds up to a fine one Dub-Album that people are very happy to recommend - especially in combination with the instrumentals.

Incidentally, the three Roots Makers are bidding on your website the individual tracks as exercise tracks - sometimes without drums, sometimes without bass, guitar, etc. For (budding) reggae musicians in lockdown, one might think.

Ultimately, it is to be hoped that the quality of the music will convince the listeners, because promotion is apparently not a strength of the Roots Makers. With this in mind, my unreserved recommendation: Listen and enjoy. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


Interview with Thomas Blanchot (Mato)

Your name: Thomas "Mato" Blanchot
You live in: Paris, France
Your current album: Scary Dub

What is your personal definition of Dub?

I would say Dub is sound art. It's a unique style that takes total control of the track - both in terms of composition (through edits) and mix (through effects). What we know today as a remix has its origins a long time ago in Dub. The prerequisite for this was a new kind of artist: The Dub-Mixer. In fact, the Beatles paved the way for it when they fired their sound engineers and took control of the recording technology themselves. The studio itself - that is, equipment including sound engineer - is undoubtedly a full-fledged member of the band when music is recorded. The sound tracks then become material that can be shaped without limits; similar to the improvising style in jazz. Ultimately, every moment is about refining every note or melody.

"Different styles of music as reggaeDub to adapt - that is my trademark. "

need Dub a reference, such as a vocal counterpart, or can it be created as an end in itself in the studio? 

At the beginning there was the edited version of a title. These are the roots of Dubwho became his own style as the repertoire grew. Producers like Mad Professor or Jah Shaka, on the other hand, have their own Dub-Tracks recorded and not used on pre-existing material. I see my productions somewhere in between; I look for well-known titles that can be easily adapted and then produce them from scratch - only about them dubto be able to practice. So I absolutely need a reference to my work and see Dub as a counterpart to something that already exists. However, my references are not found in reggae; that's the special thing about my work.

Of course you can do everything dubben - some styles are better suited for this than others. A hypnotic, melodic reggae bass can drop the listener into a trance for hours, while a harmonically supportive pop bass does not have this capacity. A melodic bass, the rhythmic skank and the placement of drum fills are, however, undisputed elements of a successful one Dub-Recipes.

"I see Dub as a counterpart to something that already exists. "

Is there a basic requirement for Dub-Production?

Knowledge and a feeling for the culture is always a good start - knowing which techniques are available and in which recordings they have been used so far is immensely enriching and provides orientation. I have hours and hours Dub Heard until my ears were bleeding. The further way one Dub-Novice is to learn and try to reproduce the classics of the genre. When you have digested it all and done it, then you “are” Dub, then you can express yourself in this art. Whoever masters the sound can tell a story without words.

How does the creation process of a typical Dub-Tracks from Mato?

Different styles of music as reggaeDub to adapt - that is my artistic identity, my trademark. And it's a good resource, the genre of music Dub To introduce people who have a completely different musical horizon. With familiar melodies I not only arouse feelings and memories, but also curiosity. It's my way of keeping music universal and my audience diverse; I and my productions cannot be taken over by a single community.

The melody is mine Dub-Adaptations. I need a fascinating melody that I fine-tune through tempo and arrangement. The rhythm has to flow of course: whether steppers, rockers, one drop - if it doesn't fit, it will be changed again. It is important not to dilute the intake; it has to remain an adaptation - by no means a complete transformation.

“The melody is mine Dub-Adaptations. "

Everything is recorded live on my recordings and no samples are used. I play keyboards, drums / percussions and bass myself; other musicians can join in if necessary. Occasionally, over the course of time, I was able to acquire a wide range of sounds and a wide variety of instruments - such as percussions, vintage synths, SynDrums and the like.

The best part of my job, however, is the mix: Coming from the old school, I've worked with different boards and techniques. I've only been using Pro Tools for 15 years; it allows me to revise the mixes as long as necessary. I also use a lot of old equipment like the Roland Space Echo RE-201, various spring reverbs, vintage phasers, self-made things, etc.

Mato productions have a typical, "clean" sound that reminds me of productions from the early 1980s - is that intended?

I'm a big fan of the 70's and 80's sounds, but don't want to imitate them - I just try to adapt the soundtracks to my own hearing. Anyway, I'm a big fan of the Channel One sound - that's my personal milestone to be reached. This sound still benefits from the glow of the 1970s, but already has a clearer, more precise sound. Add a small dose of “2.0” and the Mato sound is ready.

The drums on your recordings have their very own, unmistakable sound - soft, but with a heavy punch. Let me guess: You play the drums yourself. 

Right! I started playing when I was 13 because my brother needed a drummer for his band. After some experience I founded a reggae band - or rather: an orchestra with a brass section and all the trimmings. That was an important lesson for me not only in music: to hear the others, to perceive one another.

After school I started to study drums - first in France, then further in the USA, where I graduated from the Los Angeles Music Academy in 1998. So I'm first and foremost a drummer who plays his riddims. I adjust and tune my drums precisely to get the sound I want. This is probably the most time-consuming work in my productions, but it is the origin of my own sound identity. The drums must always be present and precise; They can only be bumpy when I'm doing hip-hop (I'm a big fan of Dr. Dre). So the secret is out: behind an album by Dub Mix producer Mato is actually a drummer's album!

Your productions don't have the extra-heavy bass that you would expect from Dub expected. He seems rather reluctant, possibly to adapt to European listening habits. How important is sound to you in general?

As with any genre of music, there is a Dub different possibilities and never just one way to get to the goal. Even if I use all means, I can still bring in my own style. As a drummer, I love powerful bass - there is nothing more effective in my music than the sub-bass because I use it. But unlike other styles where the bass is mixed in the foreground, I prefer the traditional, balanced mix. I wouldn't see that as Europe-related ... my audience is all over the world.

Your ingenious version of Daft Punk's "Homework" blew my mind at the time and I also really appreciate the albums that followed. Where does your inspiration come from, how do you choose the themes for your concept albums?

Thanks for the kind words. As I said - basically I'm a drummer, and as an instrumentalist it's hard to get a foothold in the international music scene - even if you have mastered a lot of different styles. I am in the fortunate position of being able to pack everything I like into my music: The drums are my superstar; Melodies are completed with echoes, sound gimmicks, delays and many other effects - wonderful!

"The drums are my superstar."

I'm looking for appealing concepts that allow me to implement my musical ideas. I started with two albums with reggae covers of classic French chansons (note: “Il est cinq heures, Kingston s'eveille 1 and 2"), To which the corresponding Dub-Albums followed (note: "Il est cinq heures in Dub 01 and 02"). Then I produced four reggae hip-hop remix albums that made me known internationally. In the end, I started the series of concept albums, which I've been expanding ever since. Fortunately there is no lack of inspiration - work on the next album has long since begun. 

I usually start with a concept idea - whereby it is important that the titles in question have strong melodies, can be transferred to the reggae rhythm structure and ... yes, are also spiritually acceptable. With simple sound gimmicks, titles like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” are created Dub"Or elaborate, complexly arranged pieces like" Enter the Dragon Dub"(Note: both from"Hollywoo Dub"-Album). 

“My Holy Grail is the 'Classical Dub'-Album."

The current “Scary Dub"Release can definitely be used as a sequel to" Hollywoo Dub“See, even though it wasn't originally planned. My "Holy Grail", however, is the "Classical Dub“-Album - it took me an infinite amount of time and energy, classical music as Dub to adapt.

At the "Homework“The manager of Daft Punk contacted me about the album and asked for a copy in advance. I was very nervous and expected a "no way" for an answer - Daft Punk had a reputation for being tough when it came to their music. In the end, they only asked if you could play the album at a party - the part was approved!

The tracks from “Scary Dub“Look to me like short comic strips with all the horror sound effects. Do you agree with me or do you see the tracks in a different light?

I absolutely agree. Like in the review very well explained, I am a concept artist. My concept albums invite you on a journey with unforeseen events; An acoustic adventure, so to speak, within a given framework, which is clearly new in its form. 

If the concept is to score from horror classics as DubTo adapt s, the lightness of humor naturally offers an interesting perspective on it. Aren't fear and happiness two uncontrollable twin emotions? It's important, however, not to denigrate the music itself - I have a lot of respect for that. 

In my "Dub Top 5 "by the way, there are two albums that are one of my sources of inspiration and fit very well with my own work - Mikey Dread's" African Anthem "and" Scientist Rids The World Of The Evil Curse Of The Vampires ". Without a doubt, I have always been deeply impressed by the Scientist concept albums produced by Henry “Junjo” Laws!

The reviews of “Scary Dub" on have received good feedback - apart from the criticism that some of your Dubs are too short and end with fade-outs - or are these tracks, which are only +/- 3 minutes long, part of your success? 

I'm old school - even when I combine opposing styles of music, I want to keep the classic stylistic devices. My stories are short but substantial - also so as not to lose the listener's attention. We tend to wander, for example, when someone talks too much or too long. In this respect: yes, the short pop format is probably part of my recipe. Ultimately, it's always about the story - which you can arrange to end with an exclamation point or an ellipsis. I interpret these fade-outs as a dream that evaporates and disappears. 

"The short pop format is probably part of my recipe."

What does the future hold for Mato? Is there a concept for the next album, would you like to comment on it?

The new project will be a soul / jazz / funk tribute that is very close to my heart. Last fall I released a first single from it - one Dub-Adaptation of Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage"And a new version of"Thus spoke zarathustra“, Which is inspired by jazz pianist Eumir Deodato. Next up are 45s from Kool & the Gang, Bill Withers and certainly more singles before the album is released. Stay tuned, this is going to be great!

Will there one day be a Mato album that will take place Dub-Adaptations contains original material you have written yourself?

Yes, and the project is already finished: an EP with 4 tracks, all of which I composed myself. It's a mix of my favorite styles: Reggae /Dub-Jazz / Soul / Funk and Disco. And this time the tracks are at least 5 to 6 minutes long and intended for use in clubs. On “Scary Dub“By the way, there are already three titles I have written to complete the album. Unfortunately, there are no instantly recognizable melodies for Dracula, Frankenstein or the mummy - so I wrote some myself.

If time and money didn't play a role - which project would you like to realize?

In fact, I always had to work with what was available. My first Dub I recorded it on a 4 track tape; with a microphone for the drums, a Roland synthesizer and a delay pedal for the guitars. Today I have a well-equipped studio, but the musical idea is still worth more than all the equipment.

"The musical idea is still worth more than all the studio equipment."

I am now in the fortunate position that I can do what I love and also work with a label that supports me in all of my decisions. It allows me to share my music with as many people as possible - which is a project in itself.

The “Classical Dub“-Album taught me that it takes time and experience to consider classical music with some flow Dub implement; that's why I'm planning an operaDub Project - actually more of a musical comedy that I would like to realize one day. This also requires more inspiration than financial opportunities; it should "only" be an album and not a live show. It's going to be a demanding project. Let's see how it develops.

How do you see the resurgence of Dub and roots reggae that has been taking place in Europe for some time? There are many European productions that sometimes sound more authentic than the current Jamaican output.

It is great! Music from a small island infects the whole world and you don't even need vaccinations against reggaemylitis!

Jokes aside, Jamaica is a very poor country and violence is ubiquitous on the island. Current productions are an expression of this present and the Jamaican government doesn't support roots & culture - on the contrary. Thank goodness there are many ambassadors around the world who keep Roots & Culture alive: Reggae musicians, singers, producers, sound systems, labels and sound engineers can be found everywhere - and they set standards. It's just like every creation: Ultimately, it escapes the Creator and becomes independent.

Who do you think is the greatest Dub-Artist of all time?

There are so many talented artists out there today and each of them has their own heroes - for me it's the ancestors, the inventors of the Dub: Scientist is probably my sound role model, but King Tubby is the creator of the Dub- Art as we know it today. Paul "Groucho" Smykle is my third Dub-Hero - you don't even need to read the credits if you like your stunning Dub Mixes listens. They are immediately recognizable from the very first bars. What an art, what a skill, what a finesse! It's a shame that Groucho didn't go further down this path.

And who is currently the most interesting Dub-Artist?

There are now a number of bands in Europe that Dub also perform live - with videos, light choreography, etc. You have developed a very modern style that can keep up with current mainstream music performances. 

What are your personal top 5 Dub-Albums?

It was very difficult for me to choose - the list of my topDub Albums is very long. Here is an attempt to name the five most important:

Scientist - Scientist Rids The World Of The Evil Curse Of The Vampires 
Black Uhuru - The Dub Factor
Mickey Dread - African anthem
Sly & Robbie - A Dub experience
King Tubby & The Aggrovators - King Tubby's "Controls"

Editor's note: For the sake of the fluency of the language, we did not use gender in this interview.


DubBeach Allstars: Dubbing on the bay

There is this "New Releases" section on, which the reviewer likes to look into regularly - even if it's just to see what the colleagues put in between good and bad. That is the very, very wide range; only special and / or interesting things (in a positive or negative sense) find their way into the reviews. So bravely jumped into the flood of innovations, listened in randomly and actually found what you were looking for: It is Dubstrand Allstars' debut album "Dubbing on the bay“ (Dubstrand Music), which I am dragging into the glaring review light.

Admittedly, it's the drums again that grabbed my first attention; In their mix they are very reminiscent of releases from 1981, as if there were Peter Tosh's "Wanted Dread & Alive", Jimmy Cliff's"Give the People What They Want"Or Pablo Mosers'"Pave the way". This hard sound, which wasn't particularly bass-heavy, but with its punch at the appropriate volume probably left holes in the eardrum; this kick drum, which comes across as quite martial and almost commands where to go. The then relatively short-lived trend can now be found on the "Dubbing on the Bay ”album again - whether that was intentional or a coincidence remains open.

My second attention has that Dubstrand Allstars themselves counted - never heard, never seen, who should that be? The online research lets me run up completely for the time being; then there is still a fragment of information and it shows Brizion down. I have noticed the man several times; less because of his mediocre music than because of the sheer volume of his output: The Californian should cough once and at the other end shoot 5 albums, which unfortunately sound that way. A clear case of quantity over quality. Imagine if Vaughn Benjamin had teamed up with Brizion ... that would have been an endless flood of babbling albums.

The DubStrand Allstars, on the other hand, are thankfully not another solo project by Brizion; he takes (hurray!) a second musician - that is, a drummer - on board. No question about it, that brings the music to life, albeit with a downer: the man plays e-drums, which per se do not offer any great tonal variations. Strikes on the e-snare always sound tiring, an acoustic snare, on the other hand, sounds a little different with each strike - depending on where the stick hits the head. A small difference that makes a sound world.

Back to the album - it's not particularly bass-heavy with what feels like a cutoff at 60Hz, but see above: What was good enough for Tosh and Cliff back then should also be today Dubconceding beach all stars. Ultimately, there remains a collection of classic looking riddims; sparingly orchestrated with unobtrusively incorporated Dub-Effects. Not much has been done wrong, and yet everything seems uniform, monotonous. This is certainly not only due to the drums, but rather to the fact that only two musicians give their best: One plays the drums, the other plays the manageable rest of the instruments. There is no desire, musical ideas cannot be found. The whole thing seems more like a compulsory exercise and is therefore far from a masterpiece. However, if you are willing to lower your expectations accordingly, you will definitely enjoy "Dubbing on the Bay ”. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Papa Dee: Sir Pinkerton Investigates Another Murder in Red Hut Studio

Ah ... wonderful! Again one Dub-Counterpart to a vocal release - as it should be, I mean. One thing depends on the other and in general: One foot can't run. So I present ""Sir Pinkerton Investigates Another Murder in Red Hut Studio“(Red Hut Studios) - that Dub-Album for Papa Dee's last year, rather simply named "The Red Hut Sessions" release. The anticipation was great on my part, there was already a very nice vocal from Papa Dee /Dub-Combination that has a somewhat weird appearance history, but was convincing across the board: "Papa Dee meets the Jamaican Giants"And"Papa Dee Meets the Jamaican Giants vs. Internal Dread: In Dub".

With the “Jamaican Giants” it didn't work out this time; "Sir Pinkerton" is more Swedish than Swedish (like Wasa crispbread, I would almost like to say, but the Barilla pasta cookers have long since incorporated that). To explain: Papa Dee is Swede, the musicians are Swedes; Studio, recording, mixing, mastering: everything in Sweden, through Sweden & from Sweden. What can I say: Europe rules, at least what classic (roots) reggae and Dub concerns. They have been made here very well for some time, with attention to detail and with a lot of respect for the greats. No wonder that to us some European production sounds more Jamaican than the output there.

Back to Papa Dee and his Dub-Release: The big, not entirely unreasonable topic, which has been dealt with several times in variations, is murder cases in which the famous "Pinkerton National Detective Angency" conducts investigations - by the founder, Sir Pinkerton himself. What does that have to do with the music? Nothing; Titles like “Serial Killing” or “Pure Murder” Dub“Are somehow to be understood as borrowing from Jamaican role models. 

In the end, one can say a lot of good things about "Sir Pinkerton investigates ..." (the length of the album title is really bad for marketing): Beautiful, hand-made riddims, a fine sound and a successful, classic one Dub-Mix that gives the echo loop a lot of time - King Tubby sends his regards! The only disturbing thing is the rock steady (or is it Ska?) Track, which is more or less due to a personal dislike. Out with the part from the playlist and everything is good & recommendable again.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review Second opinion

Mato: Scary Dub

What did my cloudy eyes have to see? Hasn't there lately Colleague Wynands fobbed off Mato's new album with a ridiculous 3 stars and thus probably not only triggered gasping in me? This wonderful, new release "Scary Dub"(Styx Records) by the French miracle whirlpool Thomas Blanchot, who under his pseudonym Mato 1A-Reggae, -Dub, -Hip Hop and various remixes produced? So the man who came to terms with his Dub-Version of Daft Punk's "Homework“Into the collective Dub-Burned into memory? Yes, dear readers ... I can understand your outrage at this incredible misjudgment very well! I spontaneously give out a round of smelling salts or valerian drops (as needed) for everyone whose blood pressure is going crazy.

A paralysis later you have to say that Mato's Dub actually nothing for the original Dubheads is. There is not the pleasant one Dub- Intoxication - you know it: When the knees become weak and buckle easily; when the head involuntarily begins to nod to the rhythm and the acoustic world consists of a hypnotic, endlessly repetitive bassline and slow, heavy hits on the drums - and with Echo & Hall & other effects arsenal into the psychedelic dreamland where time leads then only consists of slowness. At least that's how it feels with me - let me know if you suspect a need for medical action.

No, Mato is more of a concept artist, storyteller, comic artist who translates 2 to 3-minute stories into acoustic gems. Or even the classical music or the soundtrack and everything perfectly produced & mixed - not for the big dance sound system, of course, but for the well-kept home system. Even the otherwise picky-critical reviewer doesn't find anything to complain about, which is a sensation in itself. However, in his new work, Mato has dealt with film music again; this time a bit narrower with the horror movie genre. There is practically everything represented that has rank and name - from Dracula, Frankenstein to Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers to Fox Mulder and Dana Scully; we don't want to forget the great white shark and the thing from the swamp either. An album full of “Scary Dubs “just.

Each track is a comic in itself; the film melodies are immediately recognizable, the matching sound effects sensational: an eerie organ, screeching women, Christopher Lee's voice - "I am Dracula" is the best Dub-Entertainment:

Or how about that Dub-Version of the "Jaws" theme, i.e. the "great white shark"? The slowly swelling, then nervous, panic-spreading strings ... the memory of the late 70s is immediately there again:

I still have one: Michael Myers goes reggae in “Halloween Dub“… Uh… scaaary !!!

So this time Mato is making music for the SciFi / Horror / Splatter-Movie fans and of course for the children in the Dubheads. It's casual entertainment, light fare, well presented ... and I love it. I actually throw myself away every time I say the “Jaws Dub“Listen - and the album is currently playing in an endless loop!

That makes a total of easily 4 stars, colleague Wynands ... oh well, I'll add another half a star: The X-Files are currently running in Dub - "The truth is out there". Sooo scaaary !!!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Ancient Mountain: Ghetto Dub Flight. 2

An album title like “Ghetto Dub"Gives hope for a veritable one-drop bass monster from the deepest 1970s, brand" Blackheart Man ". When a majestic and venerable “Ancient Mountain” is also cited as an artist, the expectation rises immeasurably: an album like this has no choice but to be either crazy or terribly bad; there is zero leeway in between. But as it is with preconceived notions: They don't stand up to reality. And so the reviewer is amazed when he discovers that this is a German production. Extensive research and an interview later, the world is all right again and the album is in perspective. So let's dive right into the matter and bring on the hardcore facts:

Ancient Mountain is a label, studio and musical project by Martin Musch and Markus Dassmann. While the latter plays bass, guitar, piano, organ and melodica as a multi-instrumentalist, Musch contributes the drums and mix and is thus setting the tone in the truest sense of the word. The drummer is no stranger to anyone who reads liner notes - with Uwe Banton's Movements, the Sharp Ax Band or Irie Miah's Massive Vibes, he has long been an integral part of the German reggae scene; You don't need to say a word more about Markus Dassmann from the Senior Allstars.

"Ghetto Dub Flight. 2“(Ancient Mountain Records) is not their first collaboration; Dassmann was the lead on the 2020 De Soto album “Silverado Days” and implemented his musical ideas. This becomes obvious in a direct listening comparison: "Silverado Days“Could pass for a more accessible Senior Allstars album; not nearly as top-heavy, but the mix is ​​a typical old man's release: flatter than flat. “These are almost 15 year old home studio recordings that Markus recorded and mixed single-handedly - I only contributed the drums,” explains Musch. “For the Ancient Mountain recordings, on the other hand, we use a professional analog studio with a Hammond organ with a Leslie speaker; there is a piano, a Wurlitzer e-piano, a huge selection of old (tube) mics and the corresponding technology. ”Then the old school recordings go to his own Ancient Mountain Studio, where Musch does the things“ hybrid ” mixed with the help of selected analog EQ's and compressors, spring reverb and a small desk. 

Ghetto Dub Vol. 2 and its predecessor (currently only available on Bandcamp) Flight. 1 are - contrary to the expectations of the title - inspired by the classic idea of ​​B-Sides and Versions. “As a“ Ghetto Dub"We call a variety of reggae - the classically hard-played and reduced Channel One sound in minor, as cultivated by the Revolutionaries or the Roots Radics in their heyday at the end of the 1970s to the beginning of the 80s." Apart from that, according to Musch, “Ghetto”, far removed from the socio-cultural context, of course also means a space of limited possibilities and improvisation. In other words: None of the tracks were recorded with the intention of an album release. It is rather the classic recycling of leftovers - from a hodgepodge of musical ideas that has accumulated over time and was too good to throw away; of musical fragments that were not published elsewhere and remained. However, this does not detract from the quality of the material: "What ultimately counts with Ancient Mountain are good songs and a special analog sound."

The exercise was a success: “Ghetto Dub Vol. 2 “does not shine with rushing Dub-Effects - the simple and therefore all the more catchy bass lines are the best classic reggae craft. Martin Musch congenially gives his best Sly Dunbar: “We can't deny our musical background: Channel One, Sly & Robbie, the Roots Radics etc. are musical giants who have created this unique sound and which we are trying to reproduce. "

No question, original sounds and high-quality sound are personally more important to Musch than flashy effects: “We only use acoustic instruments. A grand piano that is picked up with two condenser microphones still sounds different than the best emulation. ”Especially with the drums, which Musch played mostly without a click track, the analog recording technology suits listening habits very well. “With my background as a drummer, I try to create an exciting contrast between soft sounds and percussive elements. Of course, a lot of sound also comes from the fingers, i.e. from many years of experience. Without an accomplished universal musician like Markus Dassmann, Ancient Mountain would certainly sound different. " 

So routine and ability versus creative daring? Well, with “Ghetto Dub Vol. 2 “will certainly not be celebrating King Tubby's resurrection - Musch and Dassmann rely on small bass jewels and the classic, but now worlds better sounding analogue sound: Channel One Deluxe, so to speak. Just two mediocre excursions into the funky disturb the album flow and diminish the positive overall impression - without them the album would probably be the most coherent leftovers ever.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Zion I Kings: Zion Ites Dub Flight. 4

The producer conglomerate Zion I Kings should no longer be an unknown size, as it combines the best of the houses Zion High Productions, Luster Kings and I Grade. All three are associated with reggae from the US Virgin Islands, and there primarily with the productions for Vaughn Benjamin and his Midnite and Akae Beka incarnations. The results were sometimes very fine albums like "Infinite Quality"/"Infinite Dub"(Luster Kings Productions),"Livicated"(Zion High Productions) or the superb album trilogy"Beauty for Ashes","Ride Tru"And"Portals“(I Grade Productions).

Although the last-mentioned I Grade albums were released in quick succession, they were never conceived as triplets. And yet they not only combine excellent production, first-class sound and, by Vaughn Benjamin standards, downright hit hooklines; it's also Style Scott's signature drums that add immense value to most of these tracks. It was probably one of his last and, in my opinion, best sessions. So good that the Zion I Kings got together on a sad occasion and made one of these recordings Dub- Mixing tributes: "Dub in Style - A Zion I Kings Tribute to Style Scott".

And so it is Dub-Giant originated on which all subsequent Zion I Kings-Dub Releases had to measure. Meanwhile we are at "Zion Ites Dub - Zion I Kings Dub Flight. 4“(Zion High Productions) arrived, and I frankly admit: Without Style Scott, the whole thing is only worth half, but it certainly deserves the title 'Successful'. This time there may not be a bassline nestling in the cochlea; one or the other successful brass section seems to be quite suitable for this. As is typical for Zion I Kings, there is little to criticize about the production itself - from the timeless, focused on echo and reverb Dub-Mix without further sound-technical bells and whistles up to the dynamics-conserving mixdown were long-serving professionals at work. Only the kick drum is a bit muffled, but looks amazingly well in the sometimes meditative soundscapes:

This is also where the album's admittedly somewhat strange strength seems to lie: although it is varied, no track has emerged as a favorite, even after listening to it a lot. “Zion Ites Dub“Seems to be an acoustic journey through a vast plane that starts over as soon as it is over. You could of course blame the pressed “Repeat” button for this - but I have no need to change that.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Haze St. Dub: A New Beginning

It's one of those releases that you stumble upon by chance. You listen in briefly, something makes you sit up and take notice. You can't say what yet, but repeated listening exposes layer by layer and ultimately something interesting, special, beautiful opens up. Something that challenges the reviewer to research. What he finally finds is the debut of a (supposedly) unknown artist, whom he would like to know more about and with whom he makes contact. It's Andrew Stoch aka Drew Keys, who goes by the pseudonym Haze St. Dub the album "A New Beginning“(Haze St. Studios). Drew is excited about the idea of ​​turning parts of an interview into a dubto incorporate review. I will email him the questions for this on December 12, 2020 - "... take your time and only answer those you find interesting".

And here we are now - with a fine album, or rather: a fine 7-track EP, which, with the exception of the track “Nebula”, seems like a single piece. Sure they are Dub-Tracks, but not of the traditional kind: The arrangements and instrumentation are a tad too imaginative and remind, also of the not particularly bass-heavy mixdown, of rock / pop instrumentals in reggae guise. This is by no means meant to be disrespectful, especially since there are obviously experienced musicians at work. Drew Keys himself plays keyboard sounds that have rarely or never been heard in the genre before; they sound contemporary, hip and could just as easily appear on a track listed on the Billboard charts. One could do something similar about his Dub-Mix say - classic echo and reverb: yes, but there are also effects that you would rather assign to a club remix. Contemporary Dub? No, that would be an exaggeration; it is rather an interesting mixture of musical skill, timbres and unusual effects. Is that still Dub or are they already instrumentals? In retrospect, some questions turn out to be completely unimportant. In any case, it's an album that the narrow horizon of the classic Dubs moves a little further back. 

Drew Keys himself is an accomplished and sought-after keyboardist and trombonist; he works with Shaggy, Arkaingelle, the Zion-I-Kings around Tippy Laurent, the Common Kings and many more on stage and in the studio. “A New Beginning” is his debut under his own label, recorded in his own studio and an important part of his musical legacy. He passed away on December 18, 2020. 

Live Dub by Haze St Dub aka Drew Keys.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Dubmatix: Riddim Full

This is not a Dub Album. It's not even a new album; Dubmatix '"Riddim Full"(Renegade Recordings) was released last November and is the successor to"Riddim Driven Vol. 1"(Aka"Versions Vol. 1") Marketed. The title says it all: 11 more riddims from the house Dubmatix, as they emerged over time and became known in the community as vocal versions. 

So far, so bad: that's it and not But ... why not listen in when the opportunity is good? Relieved by voices, the individual tracks provide deep insights into the arrangements and production technology of Dubmatix; sometimes surprise with beautiful brass sections (Can't Keep Us Down Riddim), sometimes disappoint with unimaginative loops (Rock N Hard Riddim). Reliable, however, the typical Dubmatix sound: the offbeat pushes itself into the foreground, the bass holds back a little, the drums can sometimes be mistaken for a steam hammer. Right, someone keeps squinting in the direction of the dance floor.

In a direct comparison, “Riddim Full” draws the shorter one from the reviewer; the predecessor "Riddim Driven Vol. 1" is a bit more varied. The album mastering is annoying with both releases, if there was one thing at all: It can't be that difficult to miss 10 or 11 tracks at a reasonably similar volume level. Come on, Dubmatix ... do it for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Joe Ariwa: The Next Generation of Dub!

Like father like son - this fear also applies to Joe Ariwa. While Papa Mad Professor again anniversary celebrates, the son brings his new album "The next generation of Dub!“(Ariwa Sounds) among the people. With such a title, of course, expectations rise - what could that be, the next Dub-Generation, what groundbreaking development has taken place that even tries to compare generations?

I'll make it quick and painless: Nothing, nada, nothing, rien, zero has developed further. Same-same and definitely not different. Joe Ariwa sounds, smells, tastes and acts like Mad Professor - he is, so to speak, the Ariwa generic (but costs the same). There as there the same arrangements, sounds and effects, even the trademark of the crazy professor, the famous bass fart (for lack of a more appropriate name), is used extensively. There's nothing new to report in terms of sound either: the reviewer's ears bleed on both sides.

So who is a fan of Mad Professor's DubViews is, can be happy: There is now more of the same! Anyone who expected something different or a further development will be disappointed: Standstill is the motto. “The next generation of Dub“Has to take place elsewhere.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.