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Review

JonQuan & Associates

Who is JonQuan? I had never heard of him, and then the man bangs out this album: "JonQuan & Associates" (Easy Star) – one of the most beautiful reggae and Dub-Albums of the entire corona pandemic.

JonQuan's love of Jamaican music began with collecting records. Then he went from a collector to a DJ and then even a musician and composer. His new album came into being during the lockdown, as he explains: "I was inspired by the pandemic to create my own riddims to kill boredom and heal the ailments of being locked in rather than on a stage to be able to stand. Once I got into the studio and could unleash my creative energy, it became easier for me to deal with the crap.” Once JonQuan had the riddims for an album ready, he would enlist musicians and singers from and beyond reggae to help complete the album . Victor Rice ended up mixing the tracks at his studio in São Paulo, Brazil - which brings us to the point, because we're mostly interested in those here Dub-Versions - and these were of course created by Victor Rice. Actually I think that a good one Dub by no means needs a vocal original. There is ample evidence for this thesis. But with this album it has to be said that the songs that make up the first half of the album are just terrific. A pure Dub-Album would only be worth half as much. The songs bring the wonderful atmosphere of classic rocksteady and early reggae to life again. Here you indulge in the most beautiful soulful reggae vibes. This intense atmosphere occurs in the Dub-Versions naturally somewhat in the background. Instead, the rich, analogue, even "breathing" sound of the productions comes into its own. The authentic sound of real instruments is refreshing and the artistry of the musicians is impressive. It's only logical that Mr. Rice's mix is ​​kept absolutely classic. Tubby & Co would have sounded similar. JonQuan and Victor Rice don't just stick to the imitative reproduction of old riddims and sounds. They may stand on the shoulders of the great reggae artists and musicians of decades past, but there, at great (qualitative) heights, they develop completely new and unheard songs and compositions.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

Concrete Jungle Dub

Expectations were high after Dub Store Records 2016 with Errol Brown's "Orthodox Dub“ a true one Dubtreasure had recovered and then the new edition of the "Concrete Jungle Dub" announced by Winston Riley. After all, this is a highly sought-after album, of which just 1976 copies were pressed in London in 300. The LP was in a neutral cover and was hardly seen after the release. The myth-making of the LP attributed to King Tubby skyrocketed. Exorbitant sums were paid for the rare specimens that appeared on the collectors' market. 2018 laid Dub Restock this obscure object of desire at a regular price, both on LP and CD. The reissue now had a cover with a photograph taken from the back cover of the Jamaican pressing of Pat Kelly's 1976 LP "Lonely Man". It shows Winston and Buster Riley at the helm of Harry J Studios. Viewed soberly, the excellent sounding ones Dubs like the "Stalag" riddim, Donovan Adams' and I Roy's "Who Is The One" or Johnny Osbourne's "Ready Or Not" far less spectacular than the myth would suggest. Whether all versions were actually mixed by Tubby himself is not as clear as claimed. The wordy liner notes bring little light into the darkness. The vinyl of the new edition is currently available again. Whether re-pressed or as stock is unclear. But no matter where the copies come from, it's one of those legendary records that will definitely sell out at some point. And then prices will go up again.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

Paul Fox: Dub B

Winchester UK based singer and producer Paul Fox is here at Dubblog a wrongly almost blank slate. The Roots, Reggae and Dub Artist has been releasing music under his own name since 1992 and has worked with many well-known artists and producers. The list of artists who have been in the studio with Paul Fox includes such illustrious names as: Nick Manasseh, Robert Tribulation, Michael Rose, Rod Taylor, Fullness, Dubheart, Jonah Dan, Brother Culture and Alpha & Omega, with whom Paul Fox also toured Europe in 2008. His sound was heavily influenced by Jah Shaka, Nick Manasseh, Jah Observer and Aba Shanti. He was so impressed by their music and vibes that in the late 1980s he began experimenting with a four-track recorder at home in private. It was with Julian Ryan, a friend and musician who introduced him to Jonah Dan, that he first tried his hand at reggae and Dub. Percussionist Jonah Dan had a small studio in west London and the three met regularly every week to record roots reggae and related Dubs from it. After releasing recordings together under the project name "Shades of Black" for a few years, they parted ways in the early 2000s and each went into business for himself by founding his own studio. In the meantime, more than 50 albums have been released on which Paul Fox appeared, be it as a producer, sound engineer or singer.

I haven't mentioned it yet, but I've been paying more attention to Paul Fox for a long time - also because of his immensely pleasant voice. I was all the more amazed that I was able to see the release of his two current albums "SameBlood"And"Dub B“ I literally overslept from last December. From everything I've heard from Paul Fox so far, "Dub Blood" can undoubtedly be counted among his best recordings. Paul's soft voice floats again and again through the room and evaporates in melodic, dubbig soundscapes. The sound is vaguely reminiscent of Jah Shaka, but also Mad Professor - so more English Dub par excellence. I don't want to mention every track explicitly, because each one has its own special appeal. I would just like to highlight my very personal favorite as Primus inter Pares. "Living in a Dub Zone", the counterpart to "Warzone Part Two Refugees" from the song album "Same Blood". Starting with the fine sound of an Arabic oud or Turkish saz and really rich binghi drums, the lyric leads us throughout the song: "Still wondering if all of these wars gonna cease - still wondering if I'm ever gonna live to see peace". and explosive sounds of war in the middle of the current situation in Eastern Europe, ie Ukraine. Of course, the theater of war could rather reflect the fatal situation in Syria, because arabesque sounds can be found at several points on the album. It doesn't matter, the song grabs me with full force every time.
I would like to mention one more thing, the attentive listener will also appreciate the wonderful binghi drumming on “Burning Dub' and 'Soon is the Dub“ not to be missed. In general, I really like the percussions on all the tracks on the album. "Dub Blood" takes a musical turning point in the middle of the album, because the rest of the tracks sound slightly symphonic from there.

Conclusion: It has been a long time since such a nice, up-to-date “RootsDub-Album". In my opinion the best album of 2022 so far.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Review

Zion I Kings: Future Oceans Echo

The Zion I Kings - a group of musicians and producers from the three houses Zion High Productions, I Grade Records and Luster Kings Productions - have their fifth without much notice Dub-Album released: "Future Ocean's Echo(Galactic Soul Music). The title sums up very well what this release is about: the oceans of our planet and their inhabitants. The concept is not new and also in reggae/Dub-Genre to find - like Sly & Robbie's "Underwater Dub", in which producer Blackwood greases the tracks throughout with underwater noises - but no act has ever pulled it off as stringently as the Zion I Kings. Accordingly, they go a step further here: A portion of the proceeds from streaming services are donated to the preservation of the coral reefs in St. Croix (US Virgin Islands), where the Zion I Kings record the majority of their tracks. In the service of the cause, the promo video for “Red Gold & Green Dubmarine":

Today, the Zion I Kings stand for quality - wonderful, handcrafted riddims, provided with fine bass lines and a balanced sound that cannot be faulted. alone Dub-Effects – which are used in a diverse, contemporary and generous way – fail to develop an arc of tension, to tell an acoustic story. Of course, that's mosern at the highest level, because what's left is still a very good one Dub-Album that can be recommended without reservation.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

Dub boat: Dub Boat

Please forgive me if this review features an album that was released in 2020. I myself just recently stumbled across this and am fascinated by it; it is of breathtaking musical brilliance, offers wonderfully extensive, consistently sophisticated arrangements and 1A sound quality. I say it openly: Dub Boat, a quintet from America's East Coast, sometimes sound like a symphony orchestra - every note on their untitled, self-published one debuts testifies to virtuoso ability - this also applies to the work of the sound engineer(s) involved. Mind you: we are still in the reggae genre, and there close to Dub-Area. Okay, let's call it instrumentals:

You can of course wear yourself out with such a work – because the whole thing has very little to do with the familiar, heavy riddims of Jamaican provenance. If you're looking for that typical earthy vibe that seems to be built on blood, sweat and tears, you won't find it here. It's reggae as reggae as it could be. Of course, the bass gets involved in a few repeated sequences of notes - but only to break out of it again and follow the sophisticated arrangements. Drums, guitar, keys and trumpet/flugelhorn are in no way inferior and produce together... well, what actually? Reggae goes Jazz-Rock-Funk'n'Soul goes Tamtam? Reggae as stadium rock or symphonic open-air concert? Chris Blackwell meets Jim Steinman meets Clive Hunt? Elevator music or breathtaking performance?

I suggest taking your time and letting the music sink in. There is a lot to discover, unforeseen musical surprises and one or the other Dub-Effect. Associations and classification are difficult – would Dub Spencer & Trance Hill would they sound like this if they were Americans and recorded Hollywood soundtracks full-time? Or maybe Marcus Urani's Groundation sans Harrison Stafford, freshly strengthened and ironed out?

An album - or rather: a review that raises more questions than answers. As always, I advise dealing with such phenomena from the fringes of the reggae universe - it could be worth it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Super Natural Sound: Dub Tape Volume 1

Sometimes they just appear like that - without notice, without warning. albums by unknown acts with cover artwork that is rather unusual for the reggae genre; the reviewer is unfortunately inclined to let such parts pass unheard in the streaming universe. Of course, you should never do that, as I did on Super Natural Sound's "Dub Tape Volume 1(Super Natural Sound) can demonstrate.

First thought: woah… Lee Perry's Black Ark studio? Already the first track makes it clear what's going on: Honest, handmade music, provided with instruments like in the olden days. That it goes so far that tapes, appropriate recording machines and various sound gadgets such as self-made sirens are used, I only find out later in the exchange with Aaron Sprague, the man behind Super Natural Sound. 

“ Lee Scratch Perry was a big influence on my approach to working in the traditional style on tape with analogue equipment. My first release was actually a track I wrote and produced with Lee Perry in 2020. As the bass player for the New York roots reggae band Mosaic Foundation, I played a show with Perry and was lucky enough to record the song "Garvey Say" with him. I've been so influenced by Lee's style, the Black Ark sound and his spiritual approach that I'm trying to capture this analog one Dub- to keep the tradition alive.”

Aaron's present debut "Dub Tapes Volume 1” under the moniker Super Natural Sound is a collection of Dubs created in the past year. Contrary to the original intention of making timeless music, the instrumental recordings are sparsely sown Dub-Effects rooted entirely in the sound of the 70s. Joining forces here are Ranking Joe with the only vocal track and a wonderful melodica and bongo duo from Japan: Aki Mittoo and Goja Bongos. Mittoo's euphonious melodica is very different from the melody and playing style of an Addis Pablo or an Art-X; The instrument is wonderfully embedded in the mix and never intrusive. 

There are also two drummers from Los Angeles and Israel, with the latter providing an extra portion of punch and slightly lifting the recordings towards the 1980s. Sprague does the rest of the instrumentation himself, completing a blend of many cultures and styles brought together, as he puts it, "by a love of reggae."

"Dub Tapes Volume 1” is intended to be just the first of many more albums from Super Natural Sound; ready-recorded vocal tracks, which will be presented by various female singers, are already waiting for the release. "Working with the different musicians drives me and always allows me to create something new," says Aaron Sprague. “I make sure that Super Natural Sound's music is positive, full of love and good vibes. The analog recording technology is helpful here and helps to preserve these vibes in the best possible way. After all, music is medicine, and I also support the healing effect with sounds for which I build my own instruments. All my equipment, which is older than me - from the 60s, 70s and 80s - plays a big role in this. I love the sound of that time and I want to spread it with my work; But above all I want to make music that I want to hear myself. The "Dub Tapes Volume 1" is just the beginning - the Super Natural Sound studio still has a lot up its sleeve."

There is nothing to add; the man knows what he is doing and what he wants to achieve with it. Respect for the handmade music based on an old recipe and also for the fact that he doesn't just go through the whole thing as an ego trip - quite the opposite: New York meets Japan meets California meets Israel, and it still sounds like a piece. LSP lives on - in all the musicians he inspired. "Dub Tapes Volume 1” bears witness to this.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Dubvisionist Meets Dr. Markuse: In Studio M7

They still exist, the good, classic ones Dub- quality work. Hand-played, melodic basslines, cleanly produced, inspired mixed - no experiments, no steppers, no "bass farts". Just neater Dub according to the gold standard. Felix Wolter makes it possible: ”Dubvisionist Meets Dr. Markuse in Studio M7“ (TimeTools). "We had recorded a few backings for my label 11-7 Records," explains Felix, "we added new keyboard melodies and Dubs mixed from it". So very simple. Felix is ​​known to be a purist of the old school. Sound wizard, which he (also) is, he dispenses with technical frills, grand gestures and spectacular effects. He prefers to stick with the old school Dub Faithful to craftsmanship based on good sound and classic mixing. That could also be boring if it weren't for these superb recordings that he, Markus Dassmann (Dr. Markuse) and Marco Baresi made so lovingly and masterfully by hand. Felix points to the originals that it natural also there. Where would we be if just here Dubs would arise without the original version! Finally needs a good Dub always a good original! You'll have to search the 11-7 catalog to find them, though. Clever Marketing!

By the way, the cover and title are obvious references to “Jah Shaka Meets Aswad in Addis Ababa Studio” – one of the best (in my opinion). Dub-Albums of all time. Clever Marketing! But even if the comparison is perhaps a bit exaggerated: I like ”Dubvisionist Meets Dr. Markuse in Studio M7” exceptionally well. Dub, as it says in the textbook. Nice to hear that there is still such beautiful music to be elicited from this classic concept.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

Seanie T meets Aldubb: Armagideon Time (Remixes)

After a "Punk reggae party' often comes the rude awakening: 'Armagideon Time (Remixes)(Echo Beach) is another Seanie T and Al collaboration, according to the coverdubb. The reviewer rejoices that this can only be a good thing - until he discovers that Rob Smith has his ice-cold fingers in the pie again on some tracks. Well... where there is light, there is shadow.

Like "Punky Reggae Party," Seanie T's version of "Armagideon Time" was first featured on Lee Grove's "dance a Dub" listen; Now the re-recording of the Studio One/Willie Williams classic on the Real Rock riddim is available as a remix album. Aldubb delivers five wonderful mixed versions - including three Dubs and the vocal track that Seanie T shines on. The whole thing with excellent band backing that comes very close to the original - including the typical snare roll and the prominent Real Rock trombone:

So the album is a pleasure, until track 6, when Rob Smith aka RSD strikes: The first glaringly annoying kindergarten keyboards, the sterile, staccato-like synth bassline and the flying cymbal reveal the whole dilemma. Where the computer rules, the vibe fades away (here, too, exceptions prove the rule). It makes you wonder why the Echo Beach label keeps coming back to Rob Smith when it comes to something dance-oriented. His style isn't even up-to-date anymore, others can do that better and more contemporary, see Lee Groves & Co. There is nothing more to say about this:

So how do you rate this remix album? Aldubb and Seanie T just missed five stars, Rob Smith "was always trying". All in all... 

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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Review

Seanie T/Aldubb / Rob Smith: Punky Reggae Party

It's not easy for a One Riddim album: There are better ones out there – such as Ijahman Levi's "On-Track“, whose riddim is abysmal, but Ijahman's voice and songwriting easily make up for this shortcoming. Or about Seeed's "Doctor's Darling"-Riddim, who suffers from more or less crooked vocals and the notorious VP mastering, but the riddim is killer: © Roots Radics, re-recorded with mighty pressure by Seeed. Then of course there are the worse ones - you only have to listen to them through VP's “Riddim Driven” catalogue. As always, exceptions confirm the rule, see above.

If then such a riddim album exclusively with instrumentals or Dubs is equipped, the difference between good and bad becomes even clearer. Mickey Dread's 1982'sJungle signal"-Theme for the British TV documentary "Deep roots music' - immortalized in several majestic versions on the album of the same name - is arguably one of the best releases of its kind (although, admittedly, there are others). Dubversions can be heard).

As a negative counterweight I would like to mention Adrian Donsome Hanson's "Freedom Sound Riddim (Dub mixing)". The pale, monotonously flat riddim just doesn't cut it – even if Mr. Hanson thinks it's worth a 14 track album. Ultimately, the secret of its success has to be a rich, catchy riddim that offers new insights layer after layer – on the aforementioned “Junge Signal” this works splendidly; then you don't even need big ones Dub-Effects.

So how's Seanie doing T/Aldubb/Rob Smiths' new "Punky Reggae Party (Remixes)"-Release (Echo Beach)? Bob Marley's original version will probably be hard to top: a killer riddim with a lot of drive behind it. Interestingly, a completely atypical-sounding Lee Perry production for which Island Records is more likely to be responsible - especially since the track was released there as the B-side of the "Jamming" 7″ and 12″. LSP's original version may have sounded very different:

But back to the new material, to the re-recording with Seanie T on the mic. First heard on Lee Grove's "Dance A Dub"-Album as a brisk dance groove with more than convincing vocals, followed by one more in keeping with the Island Records original Dubversion on the "Dub for Fashion 1"-Samplers. The latter comes from Aldubb, who now presents them in vocal, extended, riddim-instrumental and whatever versions. You can't kill a good riddim, especially when you're like Aldubb remains relatively close to the original. Not even the notorious, monotonous arrangements by Rob Smith, who again uses the same sounds in his versions, manage to do that. Then there's another one as compensation Dub-Mix by Umberto Echo, who by far has the most beautiful sound from Aldubb's recording tickles out:

Whether the "Punky Reggae Party" remixes are about Aldubb vs. Rob Smith, in other words: it's a one or two riddim album, let the listener decide. I stick to a clear 1-0 for Aldubb's Riddim; but the winner's trophy goes to Umberto Echo.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Review

Mad Professor: covidub Illusion

As if the professor was just waiting for King Jammy to deliver his "Destroys the Virus With." Dub' album out! Just a week after its release, Mad Professor responds with "Covidub Illusion' (Ariva). Here you will find such illustrious titles as “Fake News Dub' or 'Herd Immunity'. But the Prof. doesn't follow the concept as consistently as the King, because unlike on his album, the other titles don't pay into the Corona account. But the cover makes up for it all the more! Here the professor appears – at least in the mirror image – as a green alien with a corona of spike proteins. He stands in the middle of a world that has gone mad, in which a Boris Johnson is partying, Abba of Waterloo is singing and Vladimir Putin is riding on a bomb. That's nice old "Dub Me Crazy” cover tradition. I feel beamed straight into the 1980s. Also musically - which is actually usual with Mad Professor. Because he has – at least felt – always remained true to his style. Wild polyrhythms, hard, sharp sound, exuberantly virtuoso mixing and a cornucopia of effects. I still like that. However, he does not always have his Dubbase material that does justice to mixing qualities. Some productions are simply too boring for him. Great art doesn't make good art out of that Dub distill. Not so on the Coviddub-Illusion! Perhaps the psychedelic-looking cover cast a spell over me, perhaps the dry spell was remarkably new Dub-Albums too long since the end of the year, or I'm listening carefully to Mad Professor for the first time in a long time, but on "Covidub Illusion" I can't see any failures. Boredom does not arise. On the contrary: I really enjoy the album. Unlike Jammy's Virus work, by the way, which leaves me strangely cold.

Rating: 4 out of 5.