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Review

City Squad: Marseilles + Aix

The French have it good. As well as delicious food, good wine, Paris, Alsace and a really nice helping of Alps, they also have a vibrant and extremely prolific Sound System scene. There are even 14 sound systems in towns like Grenoble! The Subsquad Prod label has set itself the task of making the most important Dub-Hotspots of the beautiful country to introduce successively. In addition to Bordeaux and Grenoble this time the spotlight falls on Marseille and its small neighboring town of Aix-en-Provence - both located in the sunny climes of Provence. There are 13 sound systems in Marseille alone. In Aix and surroundings more. The subsquad team has 14 tracks for "City Squad: Marseilles + Aix" collected. Another impressive collection. Steppers clearly sets the tone here. But it is not so much the - quite different - musical quality that makes this series so interesting, but much more the ingenious and yet so simple concept of presenting the sound system scene in France in the form of a - also free - sampler series. On a tour de Dub, sort of. I would like something like that for Germany too – in the hope that we wouldn't do much worse than our dear neighbors (which I actually doubt).

Similar to Grenoble, in the south of the republic the Dub-Culture to depend directly on a vibrant festival landscape. The initial spark was the "Musical Riot Association", which was founded in 2002 and under its own name Dub- hosted festivals. From 2010 the well-known followed a few kilometers outside of Marseille Dub Station Festival - Incubator of many local sound systems. Because the subsquad crew takes their business seriously, you can read a summary of their meticulous research into the subsquad website

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

Ambient Warrior: Dub Journey's

Now we have further proof that our fine little sub-genre Dub is timeless and limitless. The Australian Isle of Jura label has proved this with the official new edition of an extremely unusual DubAlbums by Ambient Warrior: Dub Journey's, which was originally released in 1995 on the English label Lion Inc. The album is basically deep in the Dub rooted, but uses a much broader spectrum, which equally absorbs the most diverse musical influences and styles from all over the world and combines them into these wonderful soundscapes. The concept for Ambient Warrior was created as a side project for Ronnie Lion and Andreas Terrano. Ronnie Lion, who is not entirely unknown, noticed pretty quickly during the recording that Andreas Terrano is a very talented guitarist and keyboardist, and so the two quickly agreed to create an oeuvre that reflects the diverse musical influences of both protagonists. Andrew is z. B. Italian, Armenian and Russian descent what on Dub Journey's is unmistakably expressed. Insiders know Ronnie Lion from Brixton as the label owner from the beginnings of the British neo-Dub.

Since the earliest Dubtry from King Tubby, Lee Scratch Perry, Augustus Pablo, Prince Jammy and whatever their names are, we know that good one Dub must touch you deep down. That's why Ronnie Lion's slogan: "This is Ambient Warrior...coming to You from the Heart", presented in a distinctive voice (Dennis Rootical) reminiscent of Prince Far I, takes me from the start on (m)an unforgettable pilgrimage to Kailash. (Kailash: The Tibetans regard it as the holiest mountain, it is worshiped by Hindus, Buddhists and Bon, it is the headwaters of the four largest rivers of the Indian subcontinent.) Excuse me, Kailash? Yes, because these typical sounds of the Tibetan prayer bells are omnipresent and ring out again and again. The album is cast in one piece and gives me a pleasantly warm, meditative mood. Andreas Terrano weaves very soft guitar solos and synthesizer/keyboard sounds together into wonderful soundscapes. What was very good for the album's versatility is also due to the fact that many musicians of different genres and instruments were involved in the recordings. In addition to South American elements such as tango and bossa nova (Eastern Dub; cajun Dub); we also hear harp (Cajun Dub), Russian accordion (Bayan; Southern Dub), vibraphone and jaw harp (The Good, the Bad and the Dub).

My quintessence of the album is: Great Dub-Albums creep up on you very slowly. You can play them once and they're "quite nice". Play it umpteen times and very slowly a picture forms: small details emerge, the spirit of the Dub and the bliss of repetition make their way into your soul.

It's nice that there are still labels that make it their business to make such extremely rare, unique ones Dub-To save sounds from oblivion. Therefore, for the Ambient Warrior re-release, Isle of Jura gets: Dub Journey's albums six stars out of five from me.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

Root Makers: DubAbout EP

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

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

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

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

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Review

Dactah Chando meets RSD: Guardians of Dub Volume II

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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Review

Zilla Dan meets Riwan Pruvot: Starlight Dub

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

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

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

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

Text: gtk and René Wynands

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

El Natty Combo: Flores y Burbujas

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Review

Lone Ark Riddim Force: Balance Dub

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

Indy Boca: Many Roads

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

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

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Marcel Philipp Meets Scientist

Marcel-Philipp is on the Dub-Good taste, his last three albums all come from this genre. But after "Dub You Crazy ”and“ Can't Get Enough of Dub" there is now a very special album: "Marcel-Philipp Meets Scientist" (Ashera). What an exciting collaboration: the multi-instrumentalist and creator of light, airy reggae compositions meets him Dub-Great master and creator of heavy-lead mixes.

How did this remarkable collaboration come about?

Marcel Philipp: “The first contact came about at the end of 2019 when I was planning a Scientist Audio Engineering Master Class was involved in Germany. In mid-2021 I sent him the raw material for a track of mine. At the beginning the project was actually limited to just one track, but we were both thrilled with the result. That's why we decided to make a complete album. "

How long did you work on the album?

Marcel Philipp: “With his experience and skills, he had the whole album done in a matter of days. The Russian artist Lera (lastcaress), who I commissioned with the cover design, could not deliver until the end of September due to scheduling reasons, which is why I set the release date for November 2021. "

What do you like about Scientist's work?

Marcel Philipp: “Many of the albums mixed by Scientist are among my absolute favorites in terms of sound. During the collaboration, the contact between us was very intense and I was able to gain insights into his approach and his knowledge in the area of ​​audio engineering. "

What is the Scientist's Secret?

Marcel Philipp: “Even before the Dub Tracks, Scientist breathes his special magic into the overall sound. All albums mixed by Scientist have this unique sound. For him it all starts with the drum sound. According to him, he can only identify each of his thousands of mixed tracks by the sound of the kick drum. When asked about the procedure for mixing the bass guitar, he replied "The bass guitar drives the kick". His obsession with sound is incredible. The combination of a technical and scientific approach paired with his artistic abilities and the interest in trying things out makes him what his artist name suggests: a scientist. "

You are obviously a fan of Scientist. Where does your admiration for him come from?

Marcel Philipp: “For me, the whole creative process begins with the instrumental versions. For a means to an end, I therefore dealt intensively with mixing and mastering early on. Decades ago I analyzed the sound, especially the kick and the snare, of Scientist Tracks. Not to copy this sound, but to understand how and what it is doing. When the opportunity arose to work together, I was very grateful and very excited to see what Scientist would do with my instrumentals. "

So what did he do to them? How are his Dubs of yours

Marcel Philipp: “Scientist made major adjustments to the sound of the kick and snare. The melodica as a lead instrument has a lot of space with him and is compared to mine Dubs much more present. From a technical point of view, Scientist plays a lot with the feedback when using the delay and the use of the high-pass filter is omnipresent with him. "

Does the joint venture with Scientist remain an exception, or do you also plan with others? Dub-Masters work together?

Marcel Philipp: “I don't try to reproduce certain sounds myself, and I let my feelings guide my own mixes. From a composer's point of view, collaborations are therefore very interesting and I would be delighted if I could also work with others in the future Dub-Masters could work together. I listen a lot in my free time Dub-Music and am always very positively surprised by the new releases. "

Sounds like you're up on your instrumentals right now Dub um increased?

Marcel Philipp: “My main focus is still on the instrumentals, because without them I can't do one Dub to produce. The three Dub Albums are a result of the many instrumentals I've finished over the years. I am now looking forward to recording a lot of new tracks again. So the next one will be one or more instrumental albums from me before I also put them in Dubs transform. "

Rating: 4 out of 5.