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Five Star Review

Root Makers: DubAbout EP

The Roots Makers got me before with their eponymous debut – an instrumental plus related Dub-Album - quite happy. Colleague Helmut Philipps even included the Roots Makers in his top 5 of 2021, which I can understand only too well. Everything was right there, and if the constantly nagging reviewer had anything to complain about, it would have been the lack of vocals or vocal snippets. So classic Dub stop, if you want to put it that way.

Now it is the case that we in the dubblog.de usually don't review EPs or singles and limit ourselves to albums. But here, as an exception, I would like to focus on an EP - if you don't take it so precisely, you could from the "Dubbers” EP (self-published) and the associated vocal counter part, the “Summer lovers“-EP, conjure up an 8 track album. Both releases are of the highest quality - and if you already have such a vocal template, you can use the Dub-Range actually nothing can go wrong:

And indeed, the Dubs are the best in the classic Roots area that I've heard in a long time. Everything is right there: nice mix, fine effects, bass lines that can be hummed along and the vocal sprinkles create the connection to the vocal versions. Do I hear someone say Roots Radics? But yes, the comparison is more than permissible, the vibe even reminds me slightly of Bunny Wailer's fine "Rock'n'Groove” album, I can also hear the classic 80's lovers rock and a little Aswad backing vocals.

So everything good? But yeah - an album... err... an EP that I can't refuse 5 stars for.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Review

Dactah Chando meets RSD: Guardians of Dub Volume II

After Volume I, as is well known, Volume II follows and that is also the case with Dactah Chando. The former was mixed up by Umberto Echo quite nicely, but very well (to avoid the bad word "conservative"), like colleague Wynands in his review lets through a bit too subtle for my taste. At "Guardian of Dub Volume II“(Achinech Productions) should obviously have a different vibe - and lo and behold, Rob Smith aka RSD is setting the tone this time.

First of all: The Dubs are not new, but - as you can see from the information on this - were created during the recording of "Wisdom"And his counterpart"Sabiduria Roots". Roberto Sanchez had his fingers in the game as producer on both albums - which is surprising, because his typical, musical handwriting cannot be recognized. Rob Smith was also involved in the recordings at the time - his sound is mainly present on the more dancehall-heavy “Sabiduria” tracks; and it is he who is responsible for the Dub-Mixes of "Guardians of Dub Vol. II ”is responsible.

Well stands Rob Smith for its own world of sound, which comes across as rather sparse and monotonous in terms of instrumentation and variety of sounds. This is also confirmed on the new album - at least with the first three tracks, which you can safely skip. From number 4 the whole thing tilts in the direction of roots with live instrumentation and suddenly there is room for an imaginative sound journey using astonishing DubEffects. But not for Rob Smith; he does not use the opportunity and is more or less limited to a small dose of reverb and rather inconspicuous echoes here and there. The recordings themselves offer potential for an acoustic adventure - but if the mixer doesn't want it, then there's none.

What remains? 12 very cleanly produced, almost sterile sounding tracks Dub-Sounds that are quite usable from track 4, but ultimately sound flat even after frequent listening (despite a good punch on the drums) and do not reveal any new nuances. Too bad - there is still hope for a Vol. III, for which I Roberto Sanchez as Dub-Mixer nominate.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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Review

Zilla Dan meets Riwan Pruvot: Starlight Dub

After his 2020 debut “Twin Souls Dub"The French multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer Zilla Dan surprises with an album that"Starlight Dub“(Self-published), but is actually more of a collection of atmospheric instrumentals that he recorded with the alto saxophonist Riwan Pruvot.

“I was pretty musical even as a small child and later wanted to have a career as a musician with my best friend. But after he tragically died in French Guiana, I started developing my own musical projects, ”explains Zilla Dan. “I met Riwan Pruvot in Bordeaux. He is a professional alto saxophonist, of French-Algerian descent. I suggested an album in the style of Bunny Lee & King Tubby Present Tommy McCook: Brass Rockers to produce. Riwan was delighted. I played drums, bass, piano and percussions and Riwan conjured up his saxophone melodies. Then I mixed the tracks on analog equipment because I wanted to reproduce the sound of King Tubby, Scientist and Prince Jammy - my heroes of the golden era of Jamaica Dubs. "

What may sound daunting to anyone with a preventive saxophone phobia (Kenny G and Dean Fraser send their regards), reveals itself here as a musical benefit that can rarely be experienced in reggae: a saxophone has been so soft, full and soulful since Branford Marsalis' work for Sting no longer to be heard. This is partly due to Privot's wonderful playing technique - but also to Dan's excellent recording technique and mixing of the instrument. Conclusion: The album rightly has it just before the end in one of the dubblog.de-Top 5 done: The rehabilitation of the saxophone, hurray! 

The fact that Zilla Dan's production seems a bit awkward and reminiscent of early I-grade recordings doesn't detract from the whole thing - on the contrary, it adds to the charm of “Starlight Dub" at. The album concept also fits there - a not-too-extravagant musical journey through our solar system, which graphic artist Matteo Anselmo implemented in one of the most beautiful cover artworks of the last year. Throwing everything into the pan, the overall result is an acoustic and optical gem that can win over the listener from the first contact. 

Text: gtk and René Wynands

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

El Natty Combo: Flores y Burbujas

At the moment, instrumentals seem that Dub to put the show - there have been some amazing works on the market in the last few months, some of them Dub-Release loosely overshadowed. Please refer Clive Hunt, Bost & Bim, Roots organization, Winds of Matterhorn, The Dub Chronicles - to just the im dubblog.de to mention reviewers.

New year, new luck, one would think: The El Natty Combo is snowing with their album “Flores y Burbujas“In. So almost: The album was released at the end of 2020 and simply slipped through my fingers. And because it's so beautiful and the holiday-related lull in the Dubcountry rules, I unpack the old part here.

You may well have heard of the El Natty Combo; their Discography can see each other, better still: let it stream. You will have read less from them - the gentlemen rarely parlate, but in well-groomed Spanish. Therefore in all necessary brevity:

The El Natty Combo is an Argentine roots reggae band founded in 2003, trademark: well-groomed brass sections, playful saxophone / trombone / trumpet solos on rich reggae, which can - no, - drift into Latin American. This can come from the melody or the rhythm and gives the whole thing a certain kick. Whereby memories of Rico and Chris Hinze (does someone still remember the "Bamboo Reggae" aka "Kings of Reggae“- album“?) Wake up.

So thumbs up for “Flores y Burbujas”, which Google translates sometimes as “flowers and bubbles”, sometimes as “flowers and bubbles”. Well ... that will probably come across better in Spanish. Ultimately, it's an album for fans of well-groomed roots brass music, and with a bit of luck it'll be one of them Dub- give album. It wouldn't be the first of the El Natty combo.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Lee "Scratch" Perry meets Dubble standard: Dub Cuts from Planet Dub

This release only needs a few words: "Lee Scratch Perry meets Dubble standard: Dub Cuts from Planet Dub“(Echo Beach) is another reuse of the LSP tracks from the great Dubblestandart album "Return from Planet Dub“- appeared together Dubs 2009. The tracks were edited in 2014 Robo Bass HiFi, 2020 has Paolo Baldini a little hand made and now there's an album with alternatives DubVersions. Sometimes they are less, sometimes even less, and they are likely to have been created 12 years ago when the original tapes were mixed. At least this is the impression - because the time was not exactly gracious with the recordings: The sounds seem out of date; the dull mix is ​​reminiscent of the hip-hop and jeep beats from dunnemal. A fresh cell treatment looks different; regardless of this, the ones that have just appeared are Dub Cuts but like their originals milestones in the Oeuvre by Dubble standard

And again the question arises as to whether we really need this release, whose additional sound technical benefits are limited. The news value in and of itself is rather sparse and there are no moments of surprise - but here we have concentrated LSP's tracks on one album for the first time, i.e. freed them from the overflowing opulence of the original release. That results in only eight somewhat rougher ones Dubs (where "Blackboard Jungle - Dub Ruff Cut ”comes up as an exception with extra-violent fecal language), which are accompanied by a touchingly beautiful, black and white artwork. Undoubtedly a memento that hopefully will also be available as a physical sound carrier.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Review

Lone Ark Riddim Force: Balance Dub

Jamaica, the golden era of reggae, approx. 1977 to 1982. Countless classics were created during this period; The world has finally perceived the island's modern music to the greatest possible extent, mainly thanks to the major European labels and their smooth, studio-technical translation work. This is represented by a sound that is still unique today, which apart from the Marley sounds was mainly shaped by the Revolutionaries and the Roots Radics.

Acts and producers like ensure that this sound, or rather this sound technology, has by no means been irretrievably lost and that today's enthusiasts no longer have to look back so wistfully on this time pachyman, Pure Life, Prince Fatty, Rootz Lions and what their names may be. They chase after the ideal quite successfully and today provide almost the soundtrack from back then. But one of them has mastered the art of the 40 year old original rockers and steppers sound: Roberto Sanchez with his Lone Ark Riddim Force - to be heard on the recently released album “Dub Balance“(A-Lone Productions), the Dub-Counterpart to Ras Tweed's "Balance“Release.

No question about it, Roberto Sanchez has again delivered a very nice work - almost everything fits, this is an almost perfect time travel to the 1970s and 80s, that could easily come from the Virgin Records catalog. Original drum tracks by Style Scott were used for four titles - that is not noticeable at all is a quality criterion: Sanchez imitates the arrangements, studio technology and ambience of the era so perfectly - and with the greatest possible respect, I think.

So the exercise is more than successful and the reviewer is consistently happy. At the same time, however, one question arises: Quo vadis, Roberto? We have known for some time that the good man can deliver astonishingly similar replicas (copies?) Of reggae milestones, i.e. many of his productions. I am celebrating the fact that I can hear more or less new “historical” music without the tonal limitations from back then - now I can still expect a little more. In other words: A few laps in the time loop are fine - especially when the reproductions feel as if the originals are in no way inferior. At some point, however, things can get a little more creative.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

Indy Boca: Many Roads

Once across the reggae general store, accessed here and there and there, everything shaken roughly once and the debut "Many roads“(Sweet Waters Music) by Indy Boca. So actually from the French Indy Boca sound system, which produced the album here in cooperation with the SawaSound Studio. I'm not so into surprise bags that are supposed to make everyone happy - and in fact, there are fine roots riddims, rhythmically boring 4-on-the-floor sound system tracks, sometimes instrumental and then again with vocals, and last but not least, yes two more Dubs. A mixture that usually hits me, if not causes a gross musical disgruntlement. Fortunately, this is not quite the case here - because there is something that connects the tracks and makes them more or less like a family: An unbelievably beautiful, rich, deep, powerful and yet sophisticated sound. Whoever mixed the album - Chapeau, great, thanks for the ear orgasm.

In front of the curtain, please also the person responsible for the many beautiful samples, which I couldn't recognize as such at first - for example, the strings seem to have been recorded live for the tracks, so they fit into the arrangement and the mix so perfectly . The reality will of course be different, because very few acts from Reggaeland could afford a string orchestra in the studio - and if they did, then certainly not for the debut album. Whatever the case, the result alone counts - and of course it helps that the samples are never grafted onto the pieces as a gimmick, but rather as an integral part.

So how do you rate this musical hodgepodge, especially if the reviewer is known not to have a digital 120 bpm sound system / UK Dub Has? He closes both eyes, lets himself fall into the warm bass of the roots tracks and awards a whopping 4 stars - whereby I can understand that one or the other listener would have wished for one more.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Dubinator: Police in Helicopter

Regular readers of the dubblogs.de and listeners of the "deep in dub“-Playlist on Spotify, I'm (hopefully) an advocate of the classic style of Dubs, based on roots reggae that is kept as minor as possible. This does not mean the groundbreaking recordings from the 1970s and 1980s; rather, corresponding new productions are close to my heart - especially because of the better / further developed sound and the new technical and resulting artistic possibilities. And yet there are always exceptions to my favorite scheme: sound, bassline and Dub-Technique is right, there are always musical "aha" experiences and wonderful sample and sound surprises - but it's not roots reggae.

This review is about such an exceptional album: "Police in helicopter“(Echo Beach) from barely appeared except for one EP that was not so successful Dubinator. Who is behind this moniker and how he was musically socialized would be interesting, but eludes any research - the label itself keeps a low profile, so we shouldn't be interested in it either. The focus is anyway Dubinator's music, and the - dare I say it? - definitely reminds me of the work of Lee Scratch Perry and allows speculation about how he might sound today if he had continued his career as a producer. 

For many readers, this comparison will be tantamount to sacrilege (if not blasphemy!) - but listen to the album with an open mind and parallels to Perry's more obscure tracks - for example from the fine compilation "Arkology“- reveal themselves. Here, as there, the use of audio snippets as an effect is essential; what is engine noise or the mooing of a cow at LSP comes with Dubinator in an unbelievable variety of samples. So entertainment is provided; With “Police in Helicopter” there is a lot to discover, even after listening to it often: The helicopter flies once across the ear canal, sirens wail, an alien orchestral flourish flashes again and again, a rainmaker gently trickles down. In places a soprano choir seems to hold a single note, a woman lectures (presumably) about globalization, etc. etc. Please note: All of this and more happens in the first, title-giving track. 

An album like a surprise bag: you hardly even know what comes out; musically it moves through a variety of styles that incorporate elements of reggae and Dub-Techniques are held together. In addition, the Dubinator does not deny a certain inclination towards the dance floor, although he can also come up with intellectual nourishment - that is, literary recordings by Alan Moore, William S. Burroughs or Yello's Dieter Meier. Other contributors: Dub Pistols' Seanie T, bass legend Doug Wimbish, Max Romeo, Dubmatix, Rob Smith, Sly & Robbie as well as the B-52's in the form of fine samples. 

And so “Police in Helicopter” has become an astonishingly diverse album for which the Dubinator may have sampled across the back catalog of the Echo Beach label, including reminiscences Dubblestandart, On-U Sound and Lee Scratch Perry. So if you are interested and have leisure, this release sends you on a wonderfully astonishing journey of discovery, which is particularly worthwhile for reggae enthusiasts.

Finally, the very successful album illustration remains to be mentioned - a contemporary adaptation of the “They Harder They Come” cover, where you can take a closer look to perceive and enjoy the supposedly subtle differences. I enjoy it and it is certainly one of the reasons why “Police in Helicopter” deserves a very good rating as an overall package.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

DJ Drez: Good Crush Dub Sessions

Dub, felt slower than slow, sparsely instrumented and in between the feeling of much empty space. You can like that, but you don't have to. I decided on the former and DJ Drez's new album "Good crush Dub Sessions"(Nectar Drop) heard in a continuous loop - although a single run takes a long time, especially since the last track is a continuous live mix that is a good 48 minutes long:

Since the album "Jahta Beat: The Lotus Memoirs"Followed the career of DJ Drez, but turned him into a more or less obscure HipHop / Kirtan / Soundscape /DubCorner. Indeed, the man originally comes from hip hop, as you can hear the rumbling drums in many of his works. At some point he must have moved in the direction of yoga and meditation, as Kirtan albums - on which his wife Marti Nikko gives the mantras - can be understood. But even on these he can share his hip-hop roots and sometimes a secret predilection for reggae and Dub do not hide.

He now presents this preference on “Good Crush Dub Sessions ”almost in its purest form, so to speak. Classic instrumentation, a bit spartan and bumpy with echoes of well-known riddims, meets moderate ones Dub-Effects, all presented in a pretty laid-back way. This calm serenity makes me a little nervous at times, in the sense of "takes a long time until the snare sets the next beat". But that could go well with practicing yoga asanas.

I advise everyone to deal with this release with an open mind. I mean that despite all the traditional design, it has something special to offer, how do you see that?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Review

Roots of Creation: Dub Free or Die, Vol. 1

Some albums vehemently evade categorization, evade clear positioning in the musical universe: for example, when a conglomerate of different musical genres and varieties refuses to be clearly assigned. A current example of this could be "Dub Free or Die, Vol. 1"(Bombshelter Records) by Roots of Creation. The band from New Hampshire was probably a well-booked live act pre-Corona, which, thanks to its reggae-rock-jam hybrids, is ideal for festivals with the primary target group campus young people. In this respect, she hardly differs from her successful reggae rock colleagues from the west coast - Slightly Stupid, Iya Terra, Rebelution & Co. But whether they are so close to their audience that they have the mitgröhl bass line in their program, I dare to doubt:

A reggae steam hammer version of “Seven Nation Army” works best live, of course; for us, however, more interesting in a direct comparison are those on "Dub Free or Die, Vol. 1 ”included Dub-Version with distinctive melodica insert:

The White Stripes title is certainly the most eye-catching track on the album - but it is by no means representative of the rest of the titles, whose arrangements are a tad more elaborate. So if you are a fan of bombastic, breakneck brass sections, sprawling guitar solos and sometimes rocking drum patterns, you will enjoy the album produced by Roots of Creation itself - but it will possibly be more as an instrumental work than as Dub-Estimate release.

Yes, it has something of art rock, of big bands, of theatrical rock overtures á la Jim Steinman - but remains rhythmically and technically in terms of production mostly in reggae or Dub rooted. This mix is ​​what makes it; she lets "Dub Free or Die, Vol. 1 “sound refreshingly different. The “extraordinary” drawer would certainly be suitable for this ... the inclined listener may decide.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.