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Review

Roots Inspiration meets Breadwinner: By the Rivers of Water

Roots Inspiration - a UK sound system/studio or a loose collection of musicians around Hughie Izzachar - create a new one Dub-Album before: "By the Rivers of Water" (Self-published) is the name of the piece, mixed by Al Breadwinner from, how could it be otherwise, Manchester, one of the UK hotspots for "all things Reggae".

I still have Roots Inspiration's 2020s"Organic Roots Vol 1"-Album in good memory: It keeps what the title promises: Wonderful Roots-Dub in sometimes beautiful, rough sound robes, for which Dougie Wardrop is responsible. the Dub-Effects aren't bad either: Mr. Wardrop sometimes lets it rip that the wall shakes. Taking that album as a reference, "By the Rivers of Water" doesn't come off quite as well, primarily due to Al Breadwinner's sound (rather than the Dub-Effects!) seems to lie.

Accordingly, the video track above comes across better than the final version on the album. Apart from that: Is it just me or are the live video recordings from the studios often the better versions? The comparison seems to confirm that with this track as well: The effects are much more beautiful and placed more prominently.

Which brings us to the last topic: the album sound par excellence. Breawinner's Mix is ​​often reminiscent of Mafia & Fluxy albums, which consistently (exceptions prove the rule) throb along in the lower Hz ranges: A super-soft kick drum merges with a no less soft synth bass, so that a bubbling-soft one Sound mass is created. It's hard to identify a bassline here... and it sounds like this:

So long live the rimshot that rips the whole thing out after all. Similarly, albeit to a lesser extent, the tracks on "By the Rivers of Water" fare. Maybe one or the other will Dubhead appreciate this sound - I, on the other hand, prefer a kick drum with punch and a clearly defined bass line.

The reader has no choice but to form his own opinion; for this there are the two Roots Inspiration albums mentioned above as streams on the various platforms, Bandcamp while offering far more material from Roots Inspiration and Al Breadwinner. May it be a listening pleasure!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Review

Drop Collective meets Chalart58 in Dub

jazz or reggae? reggae or jazz? Almost everything is there - one drop, key and guitar skank, only the bass is a bit lacking: played virtuously, but the hypnotic repetition just doesn't seem to be there for long. That and the wind section(s) are the massive jazz part of the Drop Collective's new EP; simple "Drop Collective meets Chalart58 in Dubshe calls herself, released on the well-known Brixton Records label. The title couldn't be more meaningful - what's on it is in there: With the for DubAll in all, the producer Chalart58, who is responsible for the mix, gives you a small (4 tracks) portion of Catalan sound art from Barcelona.

10 men/women high - the thought of a band, if not a big band - that's what it sounds like in places. Admittedly, the heavy jazz part isn't for everyone, and the vocal shreds of a rather trivial-sounding voice don't inspire either; but the tracks undoubtedly grow the more you listen to them. Blame it on Chalart58, who with his mix is ​​the finest, albeit classic Dub-Effects from the somewhat boring vocal counterpart "come shine“ tickles out.

I recommend this EP to anyone who Groundation appreciate and are willing to take a few more big steps towards jazz; to others the whole thing might sound a little too intellectual. Give the part a chance.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Five Star Review

Joe Yorke: Noise and Emptiness

Of course, falsetto isn't for everyone. That's why there isn't a single Cedric Myton track in my playlists, let alone one of his albums. The situation is different with falsetto backing vocals in the style of the early Aswad, Steel Pulse or Tamlins recordings - it just fits there, harmonic and tonally reliable head voice singing was delivered. See "Baltimore" - what would the track be without those harmonies?

Also Joe Yorke's debut "Noise and Emptiness' (Rhythm Steady) delivers flawless, accurate falsetto at times - both on lead and wonderfully accomplished backing vocals. But now that's us dubblog.de and voices interest us only peripherally; therefore it should be pointed out that the album with dubis interspersed with big instrumentals. It's all in the mix; it frees the release prophylactically from the dreaded falsetto overdose. Undoubtedly, Yorke's diverse responsibilities as singer, producer and composer contribute to the production's success; one or the other collaboration with mid-range vocalists will also play their part.

So there is a fresh wind blowing from England towards the international reggae community, which is particularly evident in the excellent production - everything is clean and, above all, not excessively arranged. This gives the sometimes almost sparse instrumentation room to breathe - similar to what we saw in the bone-dry Rub-a-Dub of the early 1980s. And yes, you can hear some fat bass here too:

Of course, “Noise and Emptiness” is an offer that values Dub-Connoisseur has to let in first - it wasn't love at first sight for me either. But: The tunes have enormous potential for growth and have clung to the reviewer's ear canal. And so it is that the album is one of my personal favorites of the year and deserves a big recommendation.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Review

Emmanuel Anebsa: Dub Ina Sun

Emmanuel Anebsa, a native Brit with Jamaican ancestors on his father's side, was an unknown quantity to me. According to Spotify, the man has released 2000 (!!!) albums and even more singles since 48 – including collaborations with Junior Kelly, Turbulence, Anthony B and others. However, reggae alone is not enough for the man: He also tries his hand at being a bluesy folk singer-songwriter (meaning: Anebsa accompanies himself on the guitar) and as a rapper, producer and mixer; he doesn't seem to leave out any genre that could be skewed towards indie. And indeed, all of his releases have appeared on his own Wontstop Record label - which may explain the sheer volume of output.

So now is his latest Dub-Album before (there are several): "Dub Ina Sun(Wontstop Records). It leaves the reviewer ambivalent - on the one hand the dull mix and the grotty recorded drums, on the other hand the nicely dominating, stomach-massaging basslines that you rarely or never hear in current productions. The absence of any keyboard instruments is also beneficial; no obtrusively loud skanking on the piano, but many guitars played with and without effects. The result is an earthy, pure, almost rudimentary sound that gives the recordings a certain rehearsal room basement flair.

Great Dub- There are no effects to be heard - a little reverberation here and there, one or the other instrumental track fades in and out. Maybe the release would even pass as an instrumental album; Ultimately, however, the simply knitted, memorable bass lines are convincing with their tonal dominance and the sometimes excellent guitar work. Clear recommendation for guitar junkies!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Five Star Review

Horace Andy: Midnight Scorchers

Adrian Sherwood.

…and done! Sometimes it really only takes two words and a meaningful review has practically written itself - at least for the well-informed dubblog.de community. About Mr. Sherwood, his On-U Sound label and the oeuvre he produces - from Creation Rebel, New Age Steppers to African Headcharge, Singers & Players to the Dub syndicates; to Lee Perry, Bim Sherman and many others – there is probably no longer any need to waste big words. It's On-U Sound, man!

Doyen Sherwood himself has never lost relevance in his more than 30-year history as a producer - well, sometimes he has ventured into somewhat more obscure areas (such as his Collaboration with Pinch), but alone his productions with the Dub Syndicate and/or Lee Perry showed how much he works on the cutting edge and beyond. Who doesn't remember Perry's epochal "Rainford"-Release and its no less valuable counterpart "Heavy Rain"?

Now we have another fine double pack in front of us: The Horace Andy album "Midnight rockers' and its just-released counterpart 'Midnight Scorchers". The former surprises with a fairly classic sound by Sherwood standards, with Horace Andy at his best; the latter with, well, reinterpretations. A real Sherwood treatment goes far beyond that Dub-Borders, turns the innermost outside, lets shine in the vocal mix that has been buried, adds instruments and vocals (Daddy Freddy, Lone Ranger), fades out tracks in return and fattens up the whole sound compared to the original. All reasons why the term "Dub Album" doesn't go far enough and I think the more comprehensive "Counterpart" is more appropriate.

Finally, just the hard facts: "Midnight Scorchers" contains seven alternative versions of "Midnight Rocker" tracks plus three new tracks, all bearing the multi-ton On-U Sound seal of approval. Adrian Sherwood just... and done!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Review

Mato: jazz funk Dub Tribute

Thomas Blanchot aka mato is almost a guarantee for excellent analogue productions made in France - just remember his interpretation of Daft Punk's "Homework", the film music tribute "Holywoo Dub", the excursion into e-music "Classical Dub' and finally his nod to the horror genre 'Scary Dub". So far there has been dubblog.de good to very good reviews, although we are more concerned with instrumental than Dub-Albums have to do. Not that Mato is stingy with effects - on the contrary: Echo, Hall & Co. fit so well into the overall picture that the focus is more on musical excellence and fine arrangements.

Part of the success of the Mato works is certainly their recognition value: the originals are well known; their reggae or Dub-Surprise interpretations. So far at least, because this recognition effect is missing in Mato's new release "jazz funk Dub Tribute" fully. This is of course a very subjective statement; Listeners who are at home in the jazz-funk genre - particularly the recordings of the 1070s - will probably celebrate the new reggae interpretations. The reviewer, on the other hand, completely lacks this connection, even though the originals come from funk greats like Kool & The Gang, War, Grover Washington Jr. and jazz greats like Lonnie Liston Smith or Weather Report.

The bottom line is that Mato delivers on his not exactly original but aptly titled “Jazz-Funk Dub Tribute" from first-class craftsmanship again, no question. Everything is where it belongs, you can't complain - the will for perfection is there, the will for musical development is not. Similar instruments and arrangements, no matter how perfect they may be, could already be heard on earlier albums - but this time the spark is missing, the desire for something new, for experimentation and the courage to leave the beaten path. The reviewer would like more artistic risk, more surprises, less fabric softener. And he doesn't wish for any more fade-outs either - they could be seen as a reference to the 70s, but in 2022 they seem like a work avoidance characterized by a lack of imagination... doesn't have to be, Mato.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Youthie & Macca Dread: The Roots Explorers

Although the first months of 2022 me in terms of Dub left quite at a loss, if not downright disappointed, there seems to have been a real boost of very good releases in the last few weeks: At first they were convincing JonQuan & Associates at full length, then delivered Dub Vallila a fine album and now Youthie & Macca Dread's latest set "The Roots Explorers' out of the speakers. What an eclectic mix of reggae, jazz, Dub and world music in the broadest sense, which corresponds to the predecessor "Nomad Skank“ is in no way inferior.

Ras Vorbei's apt review of "Nomad Skank" could be reproduced here 1:1, especially since the protagonists are the same as back then: Youthie - a gifted musical craftswoman - works on trumpet, flute and accordion, producer Macca Dread takes care of the congenial sound . All in all, it's like an acoustic journey around the world, with rough stays in various francophone countries, with the Celts and with the - how do you say politically correct these days? – well, with the “Mobile Ethnic Minorities”. In any case, there is no boredom here, the compositions, arrangements and musical ideas are far too sophisticated for that. Thanks to the dynamics that are well preserved in the mixdown, "The Roots Explorers" doesn't sound tiring even after repeated listening: decent bass and punch on the drums - what more could spoiled ears want?

And yet you have to consciously get involved with this album - it's one of the (more or less) intellectual kind. Lovers of bare bones riddims of the classic kind could be a little overwhelmed by the musical opulence and ask the legitimate question what all this has to do with Dub had to do. Not much, dear readers, not much. Rather, "The Roots Explorers" is one of the best and most diverse instrumental albums in the reggae genre, hands down.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Review

Dub Vallila – Katakom Beat

Spoiler alert: 4,5 stars for a very nice, groovy, Dub-impregnated instrumental album that found its own way to us from – read and be amazed: from Helsinki / Finland. Why not; Talent can be found everywhere. Here, however, we have to do with an accumulation of it; tape and Dub Mixers complement each other ideally:

The band is called Dub Vallila and "Catacomb Beat“ (Playground Music Oy) their successful debut album. The line-up is as simple as it is effective: classic reggae horns meet the same band; just using a hang drum is a bit out of line. But why not; the slope is used in the fine arrangements just as appropriately as it is unobtrusive. The whole thing also works very well live:

Ultimately, it is still the Dub-Dragging the mixer in front of the curtain - a certain Micho Dread, who is the congenial partner on the mixing board: Very nice classic and modern effects that fit perfectly but never take on the leading role. If you like his style, you can find more of it on "Dub by Studiored".

And all this from Finland, who would have thought it. One could now be subtle and wish for a somewhat warmer overall sound; but the reviewer surprisingly doesn't want to be nitpicking and just sticks to the basslines, horn sections and Dub-Effects delight. Will probably be his summer soundtrack 2022!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

Christos DC: Crisis 2.0 in Dub

Where "I Grade" is on it, quality is in it - no question: Best sound, brand "sophisticated". See the review of the recently released Zion I Kings album "Future Ocean's Echo“, which thrives on concept first and, well, riddims and effects second. But if the former is missing and the latter isn't the icing on the cake either, then it sounds like Christo's DC's newer one Dub counterpart to his "Crisis 2.0" Album that, no-na, "Crisis 2.0 in Dub“ (Honest Music) – both mixed by Laurent Alfred aka I Grade.

To make it short: "sophisticated" stands for cultivated boredom. The riddims ripple neatly along without any arc of suspense; due to a lack of concise basslines, it doesn't want to be recognizable. The same goes for the mix: although there's no stinginess with effects, it doesn't quite spark. In the sound, everything seems to be more or less equally loud/quiet, courageous fade-outs are missing, acoustic uniformity reigns, less would be more. A disappointment, since one is better from I grade Dubs used to. In comparison, the vocal album Crisis 2.0 does better: It's Christos DC's voice that ties it all together and provides direction.

The example above may not demonstrate the catchiest melody line, but it is, hands down, the best riddim on the album. And so it finally comes that in the present case I actually play the vocal tracks of the Dubvariant, especially since sound gimmicks have also been incorporated there. Which shows: Sometimes you've already delivered the best and it doesn't need any further processing - and yes, you can also overdo it with perfection.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Review

Dubmatix Meets Future Dub Orchestra: Frontline Dub

Once upon a time there was the future Dub Orchestra - a loose musicians' collective around the Brit JT Clarke - that released the rather trivial, droning album "Echoes": Suitable at best for lounges, at worst for an elevator that catapults hip scouts to the next startup with potential hits . That was 2017; flashforward to 2022 and the ingenious idea of ​​the Future Dub Orchestra with Mr Dubto clamp matrix together. That makes something, as you can see on the just released "Frontline Dub' (Echo Beach).

Both parties benefit from the new album: the orchestra gets thanks Dubmatix kicks his butt and he in turn broadens his musical horizons in a beneficial way: a win-win situation, so to speak. And indeed, “Frontline Dub' an entertaining work consisting of five instrumentals plus their Dubversions and as such fits perfectly into the Echo Beach catalogue: the danceable electronic version of Hall & Echo, which just barely misses reggae. Fans of this genre mix - for which there should have been a category for a long time - will love the album, no question. And indeed: So far the best Echo Beach release of the year, although we're only halfway there...

Rating: 4 out of 5.