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Five Star Review

Blundetto: Good Good Dub

I was really looking forward to this album: Blundetto, “Good Good Dub“(Heavenly Sweetness). Dangerous, because such anticipation often leads to disappointment due to the high expectations. But not with "Good good Dub“! The Frenchman's album is simply very good good! Of course it's that Dub-Version of the album "Good Good Things" released last year - which in turn is a belated successor to "Bad Bad Things". Who doesn’t know Blundetto: It’s the Frenchman Max Guiget, who tends to record his music in a small two-room apartment near the Gare du Nord between a gigantic vinyl record collection, old recording devices, exotic instruments and overcrowded ashtrays. He is dedicated to global sounds - especially Latin - and maximally relaxed rhythms full of smoky atmosphere. Reggae is rarely heard on his “normal” albums. Quite different, however, on theirs Dub-Counterparts! Blundetto knows what Dub really needed: a reggae foundation. Okay, sometimes it's not that solid, but that would be too easy for the sound nerd. Rather, his art consists in fusing exotic ingredients into a fascinating sound amalgam, which is characterized by an intense, dense - sometimes quite melancholy - atmosphere. Whoever lets himself in, breathes in the fat atmosphere to the full, opens ears and mind, cannot help but succumb to this music; To let yourself fall into it like in a bed of cotton candy and finally to sink into pleasure. Beautiful! Only seven tracks - but with as much emotional content as seven albums elsewhere.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

Aldubb & Mr. Glue: Man

“I just like albums,” says Aldubb. »I don't like the development that most artists only produce singles. For me an album is more than the sum of its singles. The logical continuation of the idea of ​​combining several individual pieces into a complete work is the concept album. Actually is "The human being“But not a classic concept album, the concept consists more in the unusual combination of Dub and German lessons. "Since"A Timescale of Creation - Symphony No. 1 in Dub minor“Undefeated concept album grandmaster Aldubb but huge. His new work “Der Mensch” makes it clear from the seemingly philosophical title that it is by no means just a dozen vulgar ones Dubs can go. A concept consists of an overarching idea on which the work is based, an idea that gives it form and meaning. That idea is with Aldubbs new album "Der Mensch": German poetry. What ?? “The idea came up like this:” he explains, “Mr. Glue like it when during our DubHerz-Radio shows instrumentals were running, quoting 1-2 sentences of literature every now and then. At first it was just quatrains, until I got one Dub and arranged it into a song with longer lyrics. That was the song "Die Liebe". In terms of content, we then relatively quickly gave ourselves the two key words “man and love” as a guide. Then within a few weeks we had recorded 9 texts. ”What Aldubb describes it sounds so natural and obvious, but I wonder why no one has come up with this grandiose idea before. Day in, day out we patiently expose ourselves to the sound of boring texts about religion, weed and sex - one reason, by the way, why I hardly like to listen to "normal" reggae. There is such a wonderful lyric poetry that only needs to be combined with such wonderful music to create such a wonderful listening experience as “Der Mensch”. Aldubb and Mr. Glue have Dub Poetry just reinvented. Thank goodness, the two did not succumb to the temptation to underlay German-language poetry with atonal or otherwise cerebral “art music”. No, we're listening to superbly produced, hand-made ones Dubs, powerful and at the same time sensitive, meticulously arranged and mixed, perfectly mastered and above all extremely musical: “A lucky coincidence led Toni Farris, who had to do with the Evolution band in the studio over the weekend, found time that was almost at the time to spice up finished songs with a few of his ingenious piano melodies and thus to enhance them enormously ”, Al revealsdubb.

Rarely have I heard an album this enjoyable lately. Because of "German lessons"! Dub and poetry enter into a connection that is much, much more than the sum of the two components. The words get additional power through the music and the music becomes even more of a conscious "listening experience" through them. Let's get a new one Dub-Genre make of it! I am in.

However, anyone who suffers from conditioning damage against poetry caused by the real existing German lessons in his / her childhood will find everyone on “Der Mensch” Dubs completely sober without poetry. Nice too.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Five Star Review

Bunny Wailer: Dub D'sco Vol. 1

A very sad news is shaking reggae right now /Dub-World. The last living Wailer from the triumvirate of the Wailing Wailers, Bunny Wailer, died yesterday (02.03.2021) at the age of 73 in Kingston Hospital. On this sad occasion I would like to repeat the "Dub D'sco Vol. 1" to remind of. An album that Bunny Wailer released on his Solomonic label in 1977 and that I celebrated then as now. Bunny Wailers first Dub-Album contains (only) seven tracks that Bunny Wailer says were specially selected for the Dancehall Massive.
The album opens perfectly with “Roots Raddics” (from Roots, Raddics, Rockers, Reggae). Today it is still unbelievable and really gripping Dub. This is followed by the meandering “Battering Down” (from Blackheart Man), which is a great one Dub- Spreads a mood that flows slowly and in a fascinating way. It is always a real pleasure to hear the other dimension of the original vocal piece. Next up is “Armagedon” (from Blackheart Man), a breathtaking spatial soundscape refined with Nyahbinghi drumming. Another great version is “Fig Tree” which has a lot of vocals in the mix. "Love Fire" (from Love Fire) is a bit reminiscent of "Dub Of Parliament, ”Lee Perrys Dub-Version of the meditation classic "House Of Parliament". The hymn "Rasta Man" (from Blackheart Man) is a fantastic one DubVersion with a dazzling atmosphere. Very nice how you can hear Carly Barrett's drumming right there. This incredible masterpiece is rounded off by “Dream Land” (from Blackheart Man), which contains some wonderfully kitschy space synth sounds.
Most of the on Dub D'sco Vol. 1 will be more than familiar to reggae fans, but it's always an exciting experience to find them in another, here Dubwise style to hear. The way like all the songs from the lesser known ones Dub-Master Sylvan Morris and Karl Pitterson in the control room for an inspired sounding DubTreatment can be considered a great moment of the Dub are designated. The instrumentation and especially Bunny Wailer's voice were seldom in Dub-Mixes left as much space. It may be that Dub D'sco is a bit overproduced with its special effects, but ultimately the strength of the songs and the exquisite performances of the musicians make this album an absolute must for the Die-Heart-Dub-Fan.
RIP Neville O'Riley Livingston aka Bunny Wailer

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

The Mikey Dread Show: African Anthem Dubwise

"Him don't steal, him don't gamble, talking 'bout man called Michael Campbell" it says at one point on the LP. Michael Campbell (1954 - 2008) alias Mikey Dread came to fame when he started a hugely successful radio show for the Jamaican Broadcasting Service (JBC) in 1976 after training as a radio and sound engineer, with which he spent four hours six days a week Midnight invented the reggae radio format. He was the first to go live on air in Sound System Style. After two years, Campbell fell out with JBC. He quit, founded the Dread At The Control (DATC) label, and began producing himself and others. The first LPs from 1979 copied both the principle and the title of his discontinued radio show: On the debut "Dread At The Controls" (aka "Evolutionary Rockers") Campbell presented himself as a mixture of MC and Deejay. Same with the successor "African Anthem Dubwise " then he not only succeeded in his best album ever, but also one of the most brilliant Dub LPs of all time. A monster of version culture that was essential to the European success story of the Dub contributed. The basis was two songs produced by Mikey Dread by Rod Taylor ("Behold Him" ​​+ "His Imperial Majesty") and Edi Fitzroy ("Country Man" + "Miss Molly") as well as five of his own tracks. The riddims were mixed by Prince Jammy in a night session at King Tubby and then shipped to London. There the Englishman Dave Hendley, who died in 2016 and who was close friends with Campbell and Jammy, dived on his short-lived cruise label “African Anthem Dubwise “appeared first, a truckload of jive talk, synth, sound and voice effects over the raw Dubs what gave them an archaic ferocity. In contrast to the over also made in Englanddubs with the Greensleeves albums by Scientist, the action was discussed with Mikey Dread or specifically ordered by him. He had given Hendley a prepared tape with Gimmix, all of which came from his radio show. Including many jingles such as “Oh my gosh, the music just turns me on”, “Riddim full of culture, ya” or “Brandnew - Good For You”, which became classics that were sampled a thousand times over. "African Anthem Dubwise “was last published 15 years ago in an extended deluxe version with a different - banal - cover. Music On Vinyl has re-released the LP in the original artwork, with a modern, bulbous and less shrill sound. It was first published in a limited edition of 1.000 numbered copies in blue vinyl, and on January 29.01.2020, 04 it will be available in black vinyl. Everything else there is to say about the record, Big Youth explains at the beginning of page two: “Who is the man who plays Roots Rock Reggae? Michael Campbell, the Dread at the control, to thrill your soul. Alright? Alright! "(The text first appeared in RIDDIM 20/XNUMX and has been updated.)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Five Star Review

Clive Hunt & The Hit Team: Blue Lizzard

Luckily it took ONLY 12 years for Clive Hunt to give us a new instrumental /DubAlbum submitted. In 2008 I was because of "Clive Hunt & The Dub Dancers“Completely excited and put the album at number three in my annual charts. Now his new work is here: "Blue Lizzard“(VP) - and I'm excited again. For those who don't know Clive Hunt: He was a studio musician on hundreds of tracks (mostly in the horn section, on bass or on keyboards) and has produced at least as many tracks. An important station in the 70s was his production work in the Wackies studio, where he worked for the legendary Dub-Album "African Roots Act 1" recorded. After 2000 he became the house producer of VP Records and was responsible for the beautiful "We Remember Dennis Brown" tribute album. So now "Blue Lizzard" - named after Hunt's nickname. What a great sound! Precise, crisp, tight, full-tone, warm and cozy. No wonder, if the wind players are Bobby Ellis, Nambo Robinson and Dean Fraser, the keyboardists Robbie Lyn and Bubbler Waul, the guitarist Wayne Armond and the drummers Squidley Cole and Kirk Bennet. A real hit team! They play beautiful evergreens alongside new compositions, all of which are ingeniously and variedly arranged - no comparison to some of the more smooth taxi gang productions. It is only in contrast to such perfect craft that it becomes apparent what poor production quality so many modern ones are Dub- offer albums (which often have different qualities). “Blue Lizzard” is old school in the best sense of the word. Since the winds are at the center of the action, VP tries to compare it to Rico Rodriguez's “Man From Wareika”. That is not absurd. If the perfectionist Rico had recorded his album today, it would probably sound like "Blue Lizzard". It is to be feared that there will no longer be reggae producers and musicians who can deliver this outstanding technical and artistic quality. One more reason to be excited now.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Five Star Review

Burning Spear: Living Dub Flight. 2

The next bad news: After Frederick "Toots" Hibbert, Corona unfortunately caught the next one and brought them to the grave much too early. The well-known sound engineer Barry O'Hare died at the end of September at the age of 56. He leaves behind his wife and two children. He reportedly died just days after testing positive for COVID-19 at the West Indies University Hospital in Kingston. Barry O'Hare might be relatively unknown to some, although he was also at the mixer for Burning Spears Grammy Award-winning 2000 album "Calling Rastafari". It was not until 2018 that he was honored by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) for his significant role in the development and continued existence of reggae.
The greatest work that Barry O'Hare leaves in my eyes for the fan base is the remix of "Burning Spear: Living Dub Flight. 2"From 1992." Living Dub Vol. 2 ”was originally published in 1980 as Dub-Version of Burning Spears epoch-making "Hail HIM" in a mix by Sylvan Morris released on LP. The present album is not a new edition of the originalDubAlbum but a completely new one Dub-Mix of Barry O'Hare and Nelson Miller (Burning Spear drummer). For me, “Hail HIM” is the last classic Burning Spear work, if not his definitive masterpiece. The backing band made up a large part of the “unemployed” Wailers. Bob Marley was just very seriously ill and was receiving medical treatment in Dr. Issel's clinic in Bad Wiessee. So Burning Spear took the opportunity and worked with Aston "Familyman" Barrett to produce this gem. The remix album doesn't have a single weak point either. The album starts with “Cry Africa” (Cry Blood Africans) and Burning Spears fading in and out, plaintive vocals knock me out again, as happened when I first came into contact with this album. Actually, “Living Dub Vol. 2 “so homogeneous that there is no track that is worth highlighting. Every title has the perfect flow. The Wailers deliver great music and Barry O'Hares congenial Dubs with lots of sound effects are fantastically beautiful. From the haze of echo and reverb, fantastic "blowers", flowing keyboards, rich bass lines, complex Nyahbinghi drumming and Burning Spears plaintive voice emerge again and again. Even if you might think I'm crazy, “Burning Spear: Living Dub Vol. 2 “is still one of the best classics Dub-Albums from the heyday. An absolute must for everyone Dub- / Reggae fan. Really well done, Barry! (RIP)

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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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.
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Five Star Review

The Mighty Diamonds: Deeper Roots (Back to the Channel)

Nothing brand new but "Back to the Roots":
One of the nicest and best Dub-Albums from the heyday of reggae were added to the original vocal album as a bonus LP over 40 years ago - Roots Reggae and Dubs par excellence. To be heard on: The Mighty Diamonds: "Deeper Roots“[Back to the Channel] (Virgin Records). Why Back to the Channel? The Mighty Diamonds have been almost inextricably linked with Channel One and the four Hookim brothers since their brilliant 1976 “Right Time” (aka Need a Roof). After the death of Paul Hookim, who was victim of a robbery in 1977, the remaining three Hookims (Joseph "Jojo", Ernest and Kenneth) withdrew from the music business and moved to America. A few months later they returned to Jamaica, enlarged the studio on Maxfield Avenue and brought it up to date in terms of sound technology.
The bloodiest election campaign with over 800 dead was just over and slowly something like "normality" returned to Jamaica.
After they had recorded a few weaker albums elsewhere, the Mighty Diamonds were there again and delivered an album to the Channel One Studio with lyrics that were in part heartfelt. The Mighty Diamonds have never been more militant. The lyrics reflect everything that made good Suffarah Roots Reggae back then. For me “Deeper Roots” is still one of the most beautiful albums from this glorious era. The riddims are still a real revelation - rockers in full flight. Carlton "Santa" Davis' "cymbal-heavy" beats and George "Fully" Fullwood's pulsating bass lines lay the foundation for these ingenious riddims. Earl "Chinna" Smith shines with tight guitar riffs and Winston "Jelly Belly" Wright delivers funky piano and organ passages. Not to forget the horn section, which makes wonderfully rich contributions, as if it just wanted to blow away the walls of Jericho. No matter how tight the arrangements were, Jojo “The Genius” Hookim on the controls enriched them all with beautiful melodies that actually all come from the Rocksteady era.
In short: Everything fits on “Deeper Roots” from start to finish, the entire opus was and still is a masterpiece and a great moment of reggae. It has easily stood the test of time. Jojo "The Genius" Hookim at the controls, who unfortunately passed away, delivered an exceptionally warm, loosely fluffy one Dub-Mix that still gives me real enthusiasm every time. Deeper Roots (Back to the Channel) is one of the albums that finally my thing for reggae and Dub cemented.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

The Higher Notes: Double Salute

No, with the best will in the world that is not Dubalbum, but first and foremost one of the best instrumental albums I have heard recently. The Higher Notes album: "Double salute“(Roots Unity Music) grows with every listen and is literally a“ Double Salute ”, a very deep bow and tribute to the beginnings and the heroes of our favorite music. What The higher notes in the Earth Works Studio in Amsterdam, will delight both our deceased heroes Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Jackie Mittoo and the producers of that era Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, Leslei Kong and Prince Buster in the afterlife - if possible is. Anyway, I like the idea. The total of eleven ska and rock steady tunes, of which only two are cover versions (Smoke Rings; Solitude), are bursting with musicality and hooklines that only a deaf person can actually escape. What the Earth Works Posse around Jan "King" Cooper, Ras P (Peter Klaasen), Uta J. Maruanaya with the help of Richard "High Notes" De Ruige and Milan Van Wingerden deliver here is worthy of all honor. In addition, “Double Salute” pays a wonderful homage to the wonderfully warm, carefully arranged and orchestrated big band sound of the 1950s, played by the likes of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Glen Miller and Eric Dean, to name but a few to name a few sizes. Jan “King” Cooper, Ras P (Peter Klaasen), Uta J. Maruanaya have put so much time, perfection and passion into the project “Double Salute” that it is a real pleasure to listen to the work. Nothing was left to chance, the band and producer carefully selected the right instruments, analog amplifiers and microphones. Great attention was paid to the placement of the microphone in order to create the most authentic sound possible. In my opinion, it worked perfectly. For me, every tiny note on this masterpiece fits.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Five Star Review Second opinion

Manasseh meets praise

The attempts at reggae - in particular Dub - Crossing classical "E-Music" is rare - but all the more exciting. In my opinion, the first person who mastered the challenge was Matthias Arfmann in 2006 when he remixed Herbert von Karajan's oeuvre for Deutsche Grammophon. Much has happened since then. I only remember the Op'ra albums of the opera singer Uli E. Neuens or Matos “Classical Dub“From last year. While these albums were always about the reinterpretation of classical works, there is also another form of crossover in which “classical” instruments such as the violin, flute or violin are integrated into them Dub-Soundsphere is in the foreground. Two years ago, Violinbwoy presented a dark work that lived more on the contrast between violin and bass than on their harmonic union. But now there's a new classicDub-Benchmark: "Manasseh Meets Praise" (Roots Garden). Incredibly smooth and yet powerful reggae beats, extremely harmonious, almost congenial, surrounded by the finest violin and viola sounds. Sometimes a flute and harmony singing join in. Sounds cheesy and sentimental? But only on paper. It's just beautiful in the ear. Yes, it is symphonic music in the original sense of the word - which, even with Arfmann, can only be said with reservations. I don't have to say a lot about Manasseh. The man is more legendary Dub-Veteran and producer par excellence. I've loved his music since I released his album "Dub the Millennium ”. Praise is a classically trained violinist with a strong weakness for reggae. For about ten years now, Nick Manasseh and Praise have been disappearing into the studio and recording these wonderful instrumentals. Now it was finally time to release the resulting material into the world and make people like me happy with it. I am sure that opinions about this work will differ widely. But whatever you might think of it, it's wonderful to see the stylistic extremes our favorite genre can accommodate.

Also read the review from gtkriz.

Rating: 5 out of 5.