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.
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 At least this is the impression - because the time was not exactly gracious with the recordings: The sounds seem out of date; the dull mix is reminiscent of the hip-hop and jeep beats from dunnemal.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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Bob Marley's music is like a good friend. One has known, trusted and valued for a long time; accompanied by ups and downs, puts you in a good mood or gives comfort. Words and sounds are as if set in stone - so perfect that nothing more can be added to them.
Or so perfect that nobody can harm them: We all know Marley covers in abundance, and only very few of them do the originals half justice or can find a new aspect of the composition. One of the few successful endeavors has to be last year's album "BOB“The Austrian / German band So & So feat. Count Captain Yossarian (= Manuel Da Coll, drummer of LaBrassBanda). It is a successful attempt to have Marley's classics interpreted by a brass band - with the exception of drums, guitar and harmonica, almost exclusively wind instruments. The tuba then becomes a bass, and that is not the only surprise: Each track features a solo instrumentalist - and those are well-known musicians from Biermösl Blosn, folkshilfe, Mnozil Brass or LaBrassBanda. Ultimately, however, what defines “BOB” is sticking to the original arrangements with maximum freedom of interpretation at the same time. A successful balancing act that rightly makes the album stand out from the crowd of Marley covers:
... and because the whole thing is so beautiful and multifaceted, one could go a step further: So why not use the material Dub Produce album? All it takes is a Captain Yossarian, i.e. Manuel da Coll, to write the tracks dubbt and the Echo Beach label, which is happy to be used for experiments of this kind. The result is now as "Bob Marley in Dub conducted by Cpt. Yossarian“(Echo Beach) has been released and surprisingly takes“ BOB ”back into more conservative realms. Of the Dub Mix, rather classically reserved, is characterized by what can no longer be heard. The joy of playing various wind instruments gives way to a sedate journey through a sound space expanded with echo and reverb, which considerably reduces the recognition value of the Marley classics and thus gives new sound nuances a chance - for example when the bass tuba turns the "Exodus" bassline into a pounding furiosum lets guess. At the latest then it can be seen that the station wagon Marley, marching band and Dub is not a fun experiment, but "serious business".
Anyone who is open-minded has a clear advantage here. With their artistic standards, professional bands ensure that brass music beyond the village youth orchestra level has lost its horror, and “Bob Marley in Dub conducted by Cpt. Yossarian ”and the wonderful“ BOB ”album are excellent examples and evidence of this. More of the same please!
For some time now it seems to have been an international trend to give current productions a clear timestamp - in the sense of "back to the past": the item may sound like it was from the 1970s or 1980s, but it is brand new. Sometimes you get the impression that you are dealing with music that sounds more original than the original. All the ingredients that once accompanied reggae on its way to its zenith are called up to offer the listeners a very special kind of déjà vu experience: vintage instruments and studio equipment, classic arrangements and songwriting as you would expect no longer knows in the genre today. Voilá: Everything like the good old days, only much better.
Anyone doing such a production must have done their homework and dealt intensively with the historical recordings; has to know how to get that special sound out of instruments and mixer; must have immersed himself in the classical genre-specific voice guidance or its arrangements - reggae compulsory subjects, so to speak. That is roughly equivalent to a university degree in "Vintage Reggae 101", and I take my hat off to anyone who deals so thoroughly with the subject.
Chapeau in front of Roberto Sanchez aka Lone Ark, who mastered this task perfectly and internalized it as a producer - as one can find on Earl Sixteen's "Natty Farming"Or Ras Teo's"Ten Thousand Lions“Can listen, including wonderfully earthy Dub Versions. Now Sanchez is not only an instrumentalist and sound engineer with his own studio, he also stands in front of the microphone as a singer - just remember his somewhat stiff vocals, which he fronted his Basque Dub Foundation has sung. He has since remedied this shortcoming, as can be seen on his new release "Lone Ark Meets The 18th Parallel: Showcase Vol. 1"Can listen to:
Wonderful, the reviewer couldn't be happier: Superb production; clear, down-to-earth and powerful mixing; Echo & Hall fly wonderfully low and last but not least: Beautiful, soft vocals transport harmonies in the typical vocal trio style. And yet, especially with the above "Build an Ark (Extended Mix)" a strange feeling arises. Haven't I heard that before? The chorus seems to be from the Wailing Souls, the verses from Black Uhuru ... isn't that the vocal line of "Shine Eye Gal"? The text even begins similarly: "I rise early looking some tea ..." (Michael Rose) vs. "Early in the morning while I make i-self a cup of tea ..." (Roberto Sanchez). Hmmm ... frowning is the order of the day - is anyone else like that?
Intentional or not, repetitions or similarities arguably inevitable in the historically accurate evocation of the glorious old days. Ultimately, however, it can never be too much of a good thing, and with the Lone Ark / The 18th Parallel Showcase Vol. 1 we have a very successful release in front of us, which can be recommended without reservation - especially what the Dubs concerns: Sanchez lets the snare roll through the soundscape, the singing spits out staccato-like echoes - KingTubby would probably not have done it differently. It dawns on me: You don't have to keep reinventing the world; Sometimes it is also beneficial to process the old qualities and thus celebrate a piece of history in the here and now. That means: After Vol. 1 comes Vol. 2, and I'm already looking forward to it.
When in 2019 a new album with the martial title "Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics: The Final Battle“Was announced, the expectation was high: Should the more or less aged, male vocalist who's who of the golden reggae era be captured again on freshly recorded riddims, which are 50/50 from Sly & Robbie and the Roots Radics. For this, producer Hernan Sforzini gathered pretty much everyone who could still stand in front of a microphone in 2019; the potential for a monumental album was definitely there. But as it is with great expectations: They are seldom met. In this case mediocre vocal performances reproduced clichéd texts that rarely go beyond the wisdom of sayings. But that's only half the drama, because there is also Sforzini's exuberant production according to the motto "more is more": here a few keys, there still absolutely brass samples and above all more percussion, percussion, percussion! There is hardly any room to breathe in the middle mixdown - this is probably the album's biggest flaw, as you can see on the track "This Morning" by Michael Rose:
Two years and a few lockdowns later, however, we should no longer be concerned, because the ones that have just appeared apply Dub-Counterpart to discuss: "Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics: The Dub Battle“ (Dubshot Records) keeps what the vocal album promised. Here, too, a Who's Who is represented, albeit that of the golden one Dub-Era: King Jammy, Scientist, Bunny "Striker" Lee, Mad Professor, Dennis Bovell and Lee Scratch Perry rigorously edit the tracks, clear them out properly and ensure that those buried are resuscitated. This is where the miracle of the Dubs celebrates - which is very good in "Dub Morning, "the Scientist-edited track of the Michael Rose title above:
The comparison shows: The scientist has done a great job and thrown out everything that was Dub-Vibe is not serving. The essence remains: A killer bassline that - accompanied by sometimes exploding one drop beats - makes its way through echo and reverb. Wonderful ... Scientist can still do it, and his colleagues are not much inferior to him: Every track wins in the Dub- Enormous revision; the comparison with the vocal versions is as illuminating as possible and you can hear producer Hernan Sforzini, who is here as Don Camel, also for three Dubs is responsible, congratulations on the consistently successful release.
I don't quite understand why there are two additional tracks by King Tubby from the early 80s on the release. They have absolutely nothing to do with the original vocal album and in their simplicity, devoid of any dramaturgy, are completely untypical for Tubby. The motto “more is more” does not seem to be completely off the table for producer Sforzini.
Ultimately, it should be noted that we are in a phase in which we have to say goodbye to many of the greats of the genre - the last few months have shown this painfully. Also “Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics: The Dub Battle “reminds us of this: Contributors like Bunny Lee, Toots Hibbert, Lee Perry are no longer. Style Scott is no longer either, but as a Roots Radics veteran it should have been there. A generation change is in progress, which it feels like the next generation is missing. But who would come close to a borderline genius Lee "Scratch" Perry ...