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.

Addis Records: Jamaica By Bus

The streaming service of my choice knows me very well; he knows about my crazy love for Dub and can distinguish it from my appreciation for reggae. He provides me with the latest releases punctually on Fridays at midnight - probably knowing full well that I, a transparent person, sit in front of my notebook by 00:00 p.m. at the latest, waiting for the latest news Dub to get presented. No, not minimal techno-electro steppers-Dubwhich is mainly characterized by endless repetitions of the same synth bassline or one and the same EDM pattern; neither Dub the cheap kind quickly cobbled together somewhere in the closet and certainly not Dubthat was produced for its own sake. It has to be the classic one Dub being who boldly reflects the present; who is at best the counterpart of a vocal album or proves to be sophisticated, Dub-inspired instrumental album presented.

But then again ... nobody is perfect. Occasionally - but rarely - I deliberately flush my ear canals with completely non-genre productions by various current artists. On the one hand, the gray matter begs from time to time for appealing and / or intelligent texts; on the other hand, I mean that more classic Dub there is no island of the blessed: He can and must get involved in new musical trends and technical developments in order to be up-to-date, lively and, yes, competitive within the scope of his possibilities. In this respect, a comparison with other genres is important to me - but I'm assuming that my streaming service cannot (yet) understand this train of thought and that one or the other non-genre album can be senselessly incorporated into the beloved one Dub-New release list is misdirected. In any case, this not only increases my desire for discovery Dub Satisfied productions - at the same time I broaden my horizons and can deal critically with current music. 

That is sometimes exhausting, but highly satisfying and brings one or two aha moment, which brings us to the actual topic of this review: Spotify presents me with a brand new album, the brightly colored comic cover spontaneously on the soundtrack to a sequel of “Cool Runnings “Film lets close; Despite the Marley reference, the title “Jamaica By Bus” points more to a calypso or Mento-laden tourist souvenir than to a substantial album; The artist name “Addis Records” also seems strange ... so close your eyes and go through with it. First impression: woah… a professional production with an earthy, rich and dynamic sound, instrumental reggae brand. Second impression and suspicion: oh no ... Dean Fraser. His sometimes aggressive, often layered saxophone just doesn't want to go into my ears. To put it clearly: his soprano, tenor, baritone and bass saxophone, which is played in layers, is not a classic brass section as it is in reggae /Dub is at home and rather suggests that you want to spare yourself the trumpet and trumpet. So many Dub-Enthusiast will see the other; I find it hard to forgive Fraser for using classics like Black Uhuru's "Shine Eye Gal“Assassinated. I wish the man would turn more to the backing vocals, the arrangement of which he has mastered perfectly - you just remember the grandiose harmonies he created for various XTerminator productions.

The very successful second track of "Jamaica By Bus“(Addis Records) dispels all concerns: Trumpet there, all good and even more: Few, well placed Dub-Effects ensure that you don't choke on the instrumental album like dry bread. The large number of well-known musicians involved in the production is reflected in the variety of titles named after nine of the 14 Jamaican parishes - all handcraft in the best sense of the word, recorded over a period of six years in Kingston, London, Paris, Geneva and yet: an album made from one piece; an album heavily related to recordings from the early 1980s; an album that plays through one drop, rockers, steppers and back as a matter of course and is quite entertaining.

And who produced it? The Swiss, of course - the duo Jil & Stuf, which has already gone under the name “Restless Mashaits“Has released two good, if not optimally mixed, instrumental albums. This shortcoming has now been corrected; the drum machine is finally disposed of and musical excellence is the focus. “Jamaica By Bus is not a Dub-Album, also not a pure instrumental album; it's a 100% live version album, ”says producer Jil. “We wanted to capture the special atmosphere of individual parishes - a musical journey of discovery, so to speak, based on our own experiences exploring the island.” Jil now seems to know her very well - he has been traveling to Jamaica since 1991. He knows the constantly tense, sometimes dangerous situation in Kingston; but he also knows about the completely different scenes in areas far away from the capital. As varied as the island is, so different are the tracks - connected solely through instrumentation, arrangement and mix.

The question of the artist's name still remains: “Addis Records is actually the name of our label, which was founded in 1992,” says Jil, “we want to be easier to find on the streaming platforms.” They wish Jil & Stuf to do this works - because the motley cover, on which you can't even find the album title, makes visual orientation difficult. So watch out and don't get confused: This is not an album with children's songs, but first-class produced instrumental reggae - not nearly as sophisticated and solo-heavy as Clive Hunt's current "Blue Lizzard" release, but it is a mere "version" To call album “is a big understatement: as such it would be the best thing I've ever come across.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Nick Sefakis: Foundation In Dub

Lately there have been releases that are primarily characterized by singers, whose voices can be described as “characterless”. That may sound extremely disrespectful, but it is by no means meant to be. Singing per se is not for everyone; not every voice can be used universally and only a few have this clear recognition value, which I would like to call "vocal character". It is this unique intonation, diction and manner that - if you want to put it that way - gives a voice its character. The reggae genre was and is rich in these unique vocal specimens: Michael Rose, Winston Rodney, Marcia Griffiths, Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, Eek-A-Mouse, Dennis Brown, U-Roy, Earl 16, Apple Gabriel, Don Carlos, Vaughn Benjamin, Leroy Sibbles, the Marleys, etc. etc. - each and every one of them is unmistakable and instantly recognizable at the first note. It is completely unimportant whether the tone is right or wrong; in reggae you don't see that so closely and sometimes the slightly crooked tone - the one between the notes, so to speak - becomes a stylistic device: Winston Rodney aka Burning Spear knows how to sing one or two songs about it; for Anthony B. intonation is a lifelong "Universal Struggle".

It is no coincidence that the above name dropping mainly includes the big players from the 1970s and 80s - a time when major labels still gave reggae great value - mainly thanks to Bob Marley, but also to the hype that followed his death arose: who would sign the next reggae superstar? Of course, even in Marley's time, other artists of the genre were more or less successfully built up; and as it was in those times, the majors made a rigorous selection: only the best of the best in terms of marketability, recognition value and ... yes, also ability. I assume that criteria such as naivety, docility and manipulability played a certain role; the investment had to pay off. If that wasn't the case, you quickly found yourself with small and micro-labels, which thankfully carried the genre into the new millennium after the major labels lost interest in sales.

The music landscape today has changed completely due to the dwindling music industry and new technical possibilities; the big sales drivers are live performance and merchandise. Everyone - and this is the key point - everyone, musician or not, can try their hand at in-house production, distribution and marketing with relatively little capital expenditure. There is no longer any preselection of the “best of the best” and the pyramid with the levels of success has become very, very flat - in the reggae genre, mind you. It is up to the subjective evaluation whether you want to see it as positive or negative.

So it's no wonder that we're confronted with a considerable number of releases today, which I would like to rate as mediocre at best. The reason for this could be a lack of expertise: Not everyone who has Pro Tools installed on their notebook can produce. Not everyone who owns an instrument masters it or can use it for the arrangement. Not everyone with a voice should sing - which brings us back to the starting point and the end of this little digression. And all because of Nick Sefakis!

Contrary to the suspected question mark on the face of one or the other reader, Sefakis is not entirely unknown: The man is a guitarist in the Californian reggae-rock-pop conglomerate Iya Terra and does a good job there, as you can see on YouTube:

Schuster, stick to your last: As a gifted string plucker, you don't have to sing too, especially if the voice in the lead doesn't do it due to the lack of the cheeky "character" mentioned above. Nick Sefakis can use his vocal cords sensibly: There are wonderfully layered, wonderfully harmonious old school background vocals on his solo debut "Foundation“- and to the great delight of the reviewer, he leaves it on Dub-Counterpart "Foundation in Dub“(Self-published) really come into their own. They put the hook lines in the limelight as smooth as silk and awaken memories of the great vocal trios á la Israel Vibration, The Viceroys / Paragons / Tamlins / Meditations / Heptones and whatever their names are. That and the absence or the reverb doctoring of the lead vocals over long stretches characterize this Dub-Album that can be described as successful from a production point of view: Classic arrangements and beautiful, balanced, if a tad too polished sound meets reserved, nonetheless fine Dub-Mix. Well, I would have liked to have had live drums on all of the tracks, but you can't have everything and I see the fine, live brass sections as a kind of compensation. I don't want to be petty either, and wave to AutoTune myself: If it fits, then it fits. With the occasional hip-hop beats it stops again, they don't have to be.

So can you “Foundation in Dub“As good DubRecommend album? Absolutely, especially compared to the rather boring vocal album. Even if Nick Sefakis probably didn't intend that: The Dubs are made for the soundtrack to the sundowner ... on 7-Mile-Beach in Negril, in Alfred's Ocean Palace. "Life is surely what you make it so I made a dream of it" - Mr. Sefakis is right.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Rapha Pico & The Noble Chanters: The Glory of Dub

Rapha Pico, singer from the Netherlands, fell for the first time with his EP "Continue The Glory" on. First and foremost, whether his voice, which could be classified somewhere between Ras Batch and Army - that is, a voice without qualities, quasi the basis of life for background singers. Secondly, whether the texts, with their simplicity and the effort of the simplest images, do not go beyond the usual and well-known Rasta sensitivities. So far, so bad - if it weren't for a steadfast backing band called "The Noble Chanters"; if it weren't for an extremely successful production that couldn't be more classic:

Well, the hard-working reviewer always finds something to complain about - even if it's just the drummer who imitates Carlton Barrett very nicely, but with time it gets annoying: there is only one Carlton Barrett with his extraordinary drum style; Clones cannot get close to him and are superfluous - with the exception of the drummers in the various Wailers incarnations post-Marley, of course.

So let's turn to the freshly appeared Dub-Counterpart of the EP, aptly "The glory of Dub“Titled (Noble Chanters Productions). Acoustically rougher and not as polished as the vocal album, drums and bass with amazing dynamics are in the foreground. The vocal explosions that appear again and again in the pieces are very well chosen and mostly reflect the essence of the respective lyrics. The Dub-Effects couldn't be more classic: calm echoes and reverbs run through the whole album; one or the other soundtrack fades in and out gently. And that's it, nothing more is needed. Listeners carry this through six tracks, which together last an astonishing 42 minutes - while the vocal counterpart with six tracks only lasts 28 minutes. Somebody has a lot of fun with extra-long ones Dub Versions, and the joy is mine:

By and large, “The Glory of Dub“In other words, a successful one, if not one that likes to experiment Dub-Album which, with its unobtrusive nature, is ideally suited as background music for working, reading or snoozing. For the reviewer, it would be worth a smooth 4-star rating, if ... yes, if there weren't inexplicable and senseless seconds of silence at the beginning and end of every single track. It takes 5 seconds, believe it or not, 20 seconds. That is extremely annoying, it spoils the listening pleasure massively and, in my opinion, cannot be justified as a stylistic device. Why there was no editing here remains a mystery that the readers of this review may be able to clarify. Until then, I regret to deduct two stars from the rating.

Rating: 2 out of 5.


Dubvisionist meets Dubblestandart & firehouse crew

The Echo Beach label knows how to recycle its published productions one or more times. With a bit of goodwill, this can be interpreted as sustainable upcycling or even further research on the musical microbiome; In the present case, however, I see it more as a revitalization measure for a… well, suboptimally successful album. In short, Dubblestandart's "reggae classics“Collaboration with the Firehouse Crew has been given a bold makeover. After Paolo Baldini for his fine Dubblestandart remix album has already mixed up and cleared out two tracks, is now taking it Felix Wolter aka The Dubvision is grateful to the entire album that just under the title "Dubvisionist meets Dubblestandart & firehouse crew“(Echo Beach) is out.

The Dubvisionist does his job very briskly, not to say: inconsiderate, and he does not think about taking prisoners: fly like this Paul Zasky's stiff vocals are completely out of the mix and are only allowed to return, if at all, as highly alienated snippets. So for the first time it is actually possible to put fragments of the voice at the service of the cause and thus to remedy a major shortcoming of the original album. Felix Wolter is also not squeamish with other audio tracks; Guitar or drum parts have to believe in it to make room for the synths that are more conducive to the intended mood. As a sound carpet they play an important role in the mix and spread a solemn, sometimes mystical-melancholy atmosphere that shapes the basic tenor of the album.

I'm struggling with this resolute, uncompromising approach of the Dubvisionists pay some respect; what he still gets out of the given sounds is astonishing: if the originals danced along too lightly, he now gives them a proper foundation - a piece like “Hypocrite” turns into a pounding furiosity. Other tracks, on the other hand, seem to float ethereally; the opener "I'm No Robot" conjures up the basic mood of the album for more than a minute - before borrowing the drums on the hook of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is taken. A dramaturgical highlight, no question about it. The new, spaceier version of Burning Spear's “Fly Me To The Moon” was just as successful - it was amazing how the new mix animated the material and impressively demonstrated how two Dub-Mixer - Felix Wolter and Robbie Ost - interpret one and the same material differently.

Now it is probably the case that two hearts are pounding in Felix Wolter's chest - there is the cherished one Dubvisionists, but also the PFL (Pre Fade Listening) project that is more or less dedicated to lounge music. Both influence and fertilize each other to a certain extent, which is undoubtedly based on "Dubvisionist meets Dubblestandart & Firehouse Crew ”is understandable. This mixture is what makes Wolter's mixes so appealing, but it is for the Dubhead becomes a problem at the latest when PFL takes over the command and leads a track like “Babylon The Bandit” into shallower lounge waters. A one-time slip that is just caught by a dominant bassline.

In terms of sound, we are moving here in the typical Dubvisionist dimensions: distinctive, more centralized bass; holding back the heights. Anyone expecting crystal clear, glittering Trebbles will be disappointed. Everyone else knows that a sonic high-gloss polish would be wrong here - Dub is more of a steamroller than a greyhound, more feeling than intellect. Under this premise the transforms Dubvision is a formerly stiff, wooden release into a soulful, worn-melancholy, but ultimately also into an album with a positive outlook.

PS: For those interested in sound technology, I recommend the mixes by Robbie Ost, Paolo Baldini and vom Dublistening to visionists back-to-back; the differences are as striking as they are astonishing: a short journey through three different worlds of sound.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Five Star Review

Dub Spencer & Trance Hill: Tumultus II

PINK FLOYD. An entire album screams Pink Floyd - and I love it from the first to the last track and back: "Tumult II“Is the name of the new release of Dub Spencer & Trance Hill, and I'm not so sure whether the categories "Dub"Or even" Reggae "are appropriate - both were always too narrow for the Swiss. The release info gives the predicate “more psychedelic Dub“- presumably for lack of better terminology, and the market is now asking for a drawer. One thing is certain: The gentlemen have mastered their instruments (I also include the "instrument" Dub) so good that you can use it to create not just simple music, but epic sound paintings. This requires the freedom not to adhere to the usual musical structures; not to rest in the eternal rhythmic repetition loop, to give the sound ideas time and space to breathe, to create or take up concepts at will and ultimately also the freedom not to give a thought to what is currently common on the market. The result was a number of great albums and an excellent reputation that even conceptual weirdnesses like "Riding strange horses"And"Christmas in Dub“Couldn't touch anything.

So here's another concept album that is more than ever beyond any Dub-Customs moved and perhaps precisely because of this a milestone in the previous oeuvre of Dub Spencer & Trance Hill is: Tumultus II, whose curious concept consists of nothing less than everyday life in an ancient Roman legionary camp. Troops march, armor and weapons clink and clatter, fanfares open the fight of the gladiators and we hear what other noise the ancient Romans were up to before they were allegedly beaten up by Asterix & Obelix. The Swiss Vindonissa Museum has reproduced and recorded all these ancient sounds as part of his sound workshop Tumultus and combines them with modern sounds - this time with that of Dub Spencer & Trance Hill.

House music: Dub Spencer & Trance Hill & the Romans (© Museum Aargau)

The concept could have gone really wrong - for example in the form of a flat musical Alberto Uderzo and René Goscinny comics. The above-mentioned fanfares come close to the dangerous, but the rest of the estimated hundred sound samples were alienated, placed in loops, with Dub-Effects edited and perfectly embedded in a musical journey flawlessly produced by the band's keyboardist Philipp Greter, which covers all Dub-Platitudes is sublime. Sometimes, however, the question arises to what extent the album concept has been taken into account - especially since the manipulated background noise works independently of it and could serve as a soundtrack for many stories. 

Musically, “Tumultus II” can be described as extravagant in the best sense of the word: Messrs. Trance & Hill take their time. You not only notice this in the duration of the tracks, where you develop a musical idea for almost 15 exciting minutes and present it in the most varied of timbres and rhythmic facets. The musical structures and arrangements are so finely interwoven that even after listening to it a hundred times I can't say for sure when one track ends and the other begins - apart from “Gladiator”, which is the exception with its flat fanfare intro. So if “Kopfkino” is mentioned in the accompanying text for the album, one can only agree with that: It is an adventurous, almost meticulously planned trip to a wide variety of musical destinations that I don't want to fix for myself. 

To come back to Pink Floyd: You have exemplified a lot of what has been described here - of course more epic and theatrical, but I certainly dare to compare: Excellent musicians, enormous inventiveness, great implementation and execution and excellent sound here and there; Also, both combos make only minor concessions to the market and radio listening habits at 03:30 minutes. All of this becomes all the more remarkable in view of the size of the production budget available. The latter could turn out to be unexpectedly positive if, in contrast to the state-of-the-art-high-tech glossy albums by Pink Floyd, the relatively dry and timeless sound of Dub Spencer & Trance Hill is aging much more gracefully.

So if “Tumultus II” isn't really as reggae or Dub-Release is tangible, what is it then? Simply an excellent musical work that - to calm everything Dubheads - of course with a lot Dub- Effects and laid-back rhythms á la One Drop await. At the same time, there is so much more to discover here - other artists would probably use all these ideas to fatten up several albums. Not so Dub Spencer & Trance Hill, and therefore two thumbs up for this impressive release. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Elovaters: Defy Dub

The Elovaters - one of those stereotypical West Coast reggae rock pop outfits you might think. And in fact, at least musically, it is about the same: light-footed reggae, which goes a few more Mys in the direction of elaborate songwriting and can come up with a number of hooks. That may feel like a musical death sentence Dub-Read the universe, where melodies are virtually vaporized and sometimes only float through the sound space like ghosts in homeopathic doses; where the bassline and nothing but the bassline forms the stage on which we like to be fooled into a multidimensional listening experience. However, I warn against hasty judgments that you could make if you read the album "Defy Gravity"And the video for the single release" Meridian "has an impact:

There are penile prostheses, skate and surfboards on the East Coast, as the Boston Elovaters emphasize in their promo videos. That seems to be taking hold and the success proves them right: Long and successful tours are followed by the recording of the above-mentioned album with producer Danny Kalb, who is more appreciated for his work with Beck or Ben Harper than for his isolated reggae productions. For the band, the collaboration with the producer-Kapazunder is obviously a stroke of luck; he puts the focus on melody and lyrics, tight arrangements and an easily digestible, hip sound. That the singer once had a scholarship for opera singing is superficially (thank god) not noticeable; But such a training is undoubtedly helpful to move so easily and accurately through highs and lows of sophisticated polyphonic singing. Overall, a round album that was very well received by the intended target group and catapulted the Elovaters to new heights in popularity.

And that could mean the end of this review, if ... yes, if not the last one Dub-Counterpart for the vocal album would have come onto the market: "Defy Dub“(The Elovaters) appears a full two years after“ Defy Gravity ”and actually surprises with basslines that im Dub-Mix have been excavated and exposed. That takes specialists - these include Gaudi and Victor Rice, among others, who give light-footed pop reggae a certain grounding. But the bird shoots a certain EN Young, who in his Dub-Mixes brings in current and trendy sound effects - so he packs the vocals in the musty box and then lets the tweeters cut up their echoes. One should keep an eye on the boy - as Dub-Mixer, mind you; his own attempts as an interpreter in the reggae genre are still ... well, capable of development.

Six in total Dub Mixers design “Defy Dub“Varied and so give the vocal album a 2020 update - with the younger generation clearly setting the tone and leaving behind something like Gaudi and Victor Rice. The overall result is fresh, catchy and sticks in the reviewer's ear - that may be due to the extraordinary summer 2020, the unfulfilled longing for sun, sea and mild evenings on the beach; maybe also the desire for lightness in challenging times. Who would have thought that the soundtrack would be one of those Dub-Album could be ...

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Gaudi: 100 Years of Theremin - The Dub Chapter

Who thinks the melodica is the most annoying instrument ever in reggae and Dub Has made its move into the hotel, be taught better: It's a few floors lower, dear friends of the well-groomed Dubs.

Which I ask the theremin in front of the curtain. A curiosity as a musical instrument, it has been up to mischief for 100 years. It is the only instrument that is played completely contact-free; the upper extremities control pitch and volume solely through airy movements in the field of tension between two electrodes. The resulting changes in the electric field are amplified and reproduced as sound. So it says in Wikipedia that for those interested, far more relevant Information about the Theremin ready. 

This presumably first electronic instrument was primarily characterized by its playback capabilities - glissando and vibrato were not possible in this form before the invention of the theremin. Today the modulation wheel on the keys does this job with the left (in the truest sense of the word); So there is no need to lift the part into the studio or onto the stage. Or is it? Well, seeing a theremin player in action is a cool retro experience; the sounds are spontaneously reminiscent of the sound effects of science fiction trash movies of the 1960s and 70s ... and among us: who does not know the most famous piece of music with a weighty Theremin reference?

In any case, the Centennial is reason enough for exiled Italian Gaudi to bring out an entire album that is dedicated to this instrument and - no na - the title "100 Years of Theremin - The Dub Chapter“ (Dubmission records). The strange combination of reggae /Dub and theremin has existed before - who still remembers with horror "Theremin in Dub"-Album on which Gary Himmelfarb aka Dr. Dread fine Dubs from the RAS Records catalog with howling sound effects. Why, why ... only the doctor himself knows.

It is different with Gaudi production. The renowned musician, whose output moves along the interface between electronica and world music, has an audible mastery of the Theremin instrument and creates melodies that go well with the album's backing tracks. And they don't come from just anyone, but from Dub-Cracks like Adrian Sherwood, Dennis Bovell, the Mad Professor, Scientist and Prince Fatty. No new productions, mind you; rather jewels from the back catalog of these producers.

I have to admit that I wasn't interested in this recycling of old tracks at first - no matter what fun, no matter what. As a music lover and reviewer, I am always looking for new sounds and effects, for fresh musical and technical possibilities, for the next ear and stomach orgasm. I see old and reboiled items as a reminiscence and expression of its time, which unfortunately can no longer be experienced in its original form today - but also as a benchmark against which current productions can be measured. 

And yet it is a great pleasure to hear Style Scott (again) on classic On-U tracks. The rest of the backing tracks on the album are also of consistently good quality, that Dub-Mixing is flawless. And how is Gaudi and his theremin doing on the recordings? Well ... on the one hand excellent, after all he has been playing the instrument for 18 years. On the other hand, it all depends on what role the theremin was given in the mixing. When it is in balance with the rest of the instrumentation, it merges completely with the Dub - see Scientist's "Smokin Dub". With the other tracks it seems obtrusively loud and extremely annoying with its not very versatile timbre - Adrian Sherwood's "Dub out of theremin“Is mentioned here as an example. That is exactly the crux of “100 Years of Theremin - The Dub Chapter “: The instrument is almost always“ on top ”and pushes itself into the foreground like a diva. And as it is with divas, you quickly get tired of them and their mannerisms.

So how many tracks on the album can you listen to in a row without throwing in the towel? If you count on the excellent Dub-Work concentrated, you can possibly make it through the whole album at once. Otherwise the RDA is a maximum of three doses; But some people will be much more sensitive, I'm afraid.

Rating: 2 out of 5.


Art-X meets The Roots Addict: Polarity

First of all: Art-X, the musician, has absolutely nothing to do with the large Austrian erotic supermarket chain of the same name. The man from Tours has taken on the Melodica like Augustus Pablo and has been booming for a few years - if the reviewer is allowed to formulate it a bit brashly. Whereby “to trot” can definitely be the wrong verb, especially since experts are unlikely to be sure whether the melodica is a wind or keyboard instrument. In any case, the technical principle is the same as that of the harmonica. The name “Melodica” and the instrument itself were invented by the long-established Hohner company in Trossingen, Germany - or in other words: by the world market leader for harmonica and accordions. Augustus Pablo, Addis Pablo, Art-X: They all play or played Hohner Melodicas.

Well, you could of course now note that such a melodica is a very easy to play, excellent for children and also extremely inexpensive entry-level instrument. That's right, and after doing research for this review, I'm very tempted to do something like that - from drummer to melodica player, why not? No more lugging around a drum kit, just drop in a stylish case and blow it carefully into the mouthpiece. Making music can be so easy ...

... or not: blowing into a melodica and pressing the right note key at the right time is of course not enough. There are also the most diverse varieties and techniques to get the best out of the instrument - like those interested in Video by James Howard Young be able to understand impressively. And then there is the possibility of indulging in the simplicity of the instrument, capturing the perfect mood in the minor key and turning the whole thing into a timeless one, carried by an excellent riddim Dub-Masterwork to transform - Evidence: Augustus Pablo's "King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown"(Aka" Cassava Piece "). It couldn't be better, hands down. Pablo himself was audibly not the great virtuoso, but he had an unmistakable feeling for the instrument and its possibilities in the genre - and has refined almost all classic JA riddims with one or the other version. His father's shoes are still a few sizes too big for his son, Addis Pablo, who also plays melodica - his musical output seems disoriented, the quality may not level off and fluctuates considerably between respectable  and miserable. Time will tell if he can live up to his father's legacy.

And then there would be the Art-X mentioned above, currently the personified France branch, so to speak, within the rather small reggae melodica world. As a co-founder of Ondubground and the web label ODGProd. By no means a stranger to the reggae electronica scene, he has been doing his own melodica thing since 2014. The first releases seem a bit awkward; the combination of digital backing tracks and melodica doesn't really ignite: when cold meets warm, the result is sometimes just a mild breeze. However, it looks very different when Art-X embarks on the adventure of a live band - as here with The Roots Addict:

That fits, sits & holds; has energy, exudes vibes and leaves that Dubhead happily with your eyes closed. We all know this deep feeling of oneness with the music, the bass, with echo and reverb. Fortunately, the Art-X / The Roots Addict team is also doing well in the studio, as you can see on their latest release "Polarity“(ODGprod.) Can listen. Cleverly conceived as a 6 track EP, the risk of melodica overkill is very low. The original riddims in the classic arrangement were allowed to keep their natural dynamics in the mixdown, which is particularly evident in a (sometimes almost too) present kick drum. All in all a rock-solid release, over which, thanks to the melodica, there is always a touch of melancholy; which even comes up with one or the other surprising audio snippet, but ultimately lacks some variety in the band arrangements in the overall impression. Art-X's previous album "Nomad“: Here the backing tracks come from different bands who, with their different arrangements and musical energies, ensure that monotony or even boredom has no chance.

So is a second Augustus Pablo growing up? Probably not, thinks the reviewer - Art-X (still) lacks musical personality, an unmistakable style; a certain mystique that gave Pablo's game and his recordings this special atmosphere. And of course: The vibes of the 1970s and the combination King Tubby / Augustus Pablo created recordings in JA which, due to their uniqueness, defy comparison anyway. In this respect, a second Augustus Pablo would make no sense today - but an original, independently developing Art-X.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


revolution: Dub Collection

Acts like Rebelution, Stick Figure, Tribal Seeds and whatever their names seem to have been designed on the drawing board: the music is a hybrid somewhere between reggae, rock and ballad, the lyrics without references to any dogmas, the target groups with college kids , Beach Bums, Surfer Dudes and Dopeheads clearly defined - brand white middle class with a penchant for beer and canabis; with the necessary change, but still open to social issues. The All American Boy with his All American Girl, so to speak, preferably residing in the Sunny States. You can make money with it - less with releases, more with tours, merchandise, beer and weed. Rebelution are leading the way and have brought your brand into the brewery and cannabis business and for their 2021 tour you can of course already buy the premium tickets including merchandise bundle - with Rebelution stainless steel water bottle, Rebelution guitar picks and lots of Rebelution -Things more - by cheap +/- 115 dollars. At gigs in California, Oregon, Colorado, etc., the range of merch will be expanded accordingly, no question about it.

Rebelution & Co. have apparently managed precisely where Jamaican acts failed miserably: To bring reggae back into the consciousness of a wealthy clientele. Well, from a puristic point of view it has its price - then there is no one drop, no Jah and no Rasta patois; and if you thoughtlessly called yourself “Soldiers of Jah Army”, you simply change your name to the more harmless “SOYA”. The Tingel stages still remain for the Jamaican grandfathers - or they can be taken on a big tour as a support act. Every nickle makes a muckle, Yardie!

Sarcasm aside - it's not quite like that. The bands mentioned were by no means created on the drawing board, but simply developed from their natural environment: college dude smokes weed, college dude listens to Marley, college dude strumming on guitar & the rest is band history. He has remained loyal to his first fan base, even if the next generation of spring breakers is already pawing at the starting blocks. The niche has become a more than acceptable market, because there are colleges across the country in the states. Good vibes, man!

Rebelution is in any case the Figurehead of the relevant Californian reggae bands and a very successful tour act - not so much in Europe for lack of ... nuja, colleges; But it's enough to support Groundation on stages at home, where they are really worth their money. Something like Roots Reggae, driven by dirty rock drums - that makes a difference and comes out of the speakers with a lot of power. Amazingly, Rebelution succeeds in this drive and the typical one Live sound reproduce in the studio and maintain on all of their albums. It looks fresh and at the same time heavyweight - an important antithesis to the often over-implicated texts ("Lazy afternoon“) And simple vocal lines.

Text & vocals should be "Dub Collection“Not be a problem. The album features a selection of tracks from all of the Rebelution albums that have been released to date - and some of them are 13 years under their belt. Nevertheless, everything fits together in terms of sound and looks like it is made of one piece. For the digital Dub-Mix is ​​responsible for a certain Kyle Ahern - tour guitarist for Rebelution. “Why him?” Asks the reviewer after the first listening session; why not Dubmatix, Prince Fatty, Roberto Sanchez, Paolo Baldini, why not anyone who understands his craft and Dub understands it as an exciting, thrilling journey filled with surprising effects into infinite sound widths? The album leaves me speechless - so boring, lifeless, fun and tensionless DubI haven't heard it in a long time. When a Dub-Mixer cannot, does not want or does not dare, then such arise Dubs. It can't be because of the selected tracks themselves - they would have always had the potential for something great, but it shouldn't be. Then rather the "Falling into place"-Pull album into the streaming pipeline ... Rebelution at their best, hands down.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.