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Review

R-Juna: Rockers Dub

From the Cypriot Dubophonic Label has something new to announce again. A year after his reggae /Dub-Debut release "Dubs And Praises“Is the American producer from Indiana Roy Waterford aka R-Juna with his second DubAlbum "Rockers Dub“ (Dubophonic Records). And what shall I tell you? The heart of an old deadhead like me opens when a Dub-Artist more than 25 years after Jerry Garcia's sudden death (1995) and the official breakup of the Grateful Dead, two of the band's absolute classics: "Franklin's Tower" and "Fire On The Mountain" make one Dubundergoes treatment and chases through the echo chamber. Of course, the two titles are also proof of the extraordinary importance Grateful Dead - * the "most American" of all bands - has (had) in the USA. And what else is there to discover on the new release? There is also a beautiful one in the ten new productions collection DubInterpretation of the Red Stripes all-time cracker "Seven Nation Army" and the Doors classic "Riders On The Storm" with samples of Jim Morrison's original voice. The remaining six tracks are proper original compositions in the traditional rootsDub-Style that R-Juna has elegantly positioned between the classics. The album was produced, mixed and mastered again by Roy Waterford single-handedly. Only for the DubColton Lantz was hired on guitar to assist with the editing of the Grateful Dead Tracks. As a small downer, I have to say that Colton Lantz doesn't even come close to the crystal clear guitar sound of a Jerry Garcia. With the "Fire on the (Mountain) Dub“Succeeds a little better. Anyway, because that is whining on a high level. Like R-Juna's first one DubAlbum "Dubs & Praises ”also costs“ Rockers Dub“Again only what you are willing to pay.

* The most "American" of all bands because they knew how to effortlessly adapt almost all American styles of music to their unique band sound.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Review

Papa Dee: Sir Pinkerton Investigates Another Murder in Red Hut Studio

Ah ... wonderful! Again one Dub-Counterpart to a vocal release - as it should be, I mean. One thing depends on the other and in general: One foot can't run. So I present ""Sir Pinkerton Investigates Another Murder in Red Hut Studio“(Red Hut Studios) - that Dub-Album for Papa Dee's last year, rather simply named "The Red Hut Sessions" release. The anticipation was great on my part, there was already a very nice vocal from Papa Dee /Dub-Combination that has a somewhat weird appearance history, but was convincing across the board: "Papa Dee meets the Jamaican Giants"And"Papa Dee Meets the Jamaican Giants vs. Internal Dread: In Dub".

With the “Jamaican Giants” it didn't work out this time; "Sir Pinkerton" is more Swedish than Swedish (like Wasa crispbread, I would almost like to say, but the Barilla pasta cookers have long since incorporated that). To explain: Papa Dee is Swede, the musicians are Swedes; Studio, recording, mixing, mastering: everything in Sweden, through Sweden & from Sweden. What can I say: Europe rules, at least what classic (roots) reggae and Dub concerns. They have been made here very well for some time, with attention to detail and with a lot of respect for the greats. No wonder that to us some European production sounds more Jamaican than the output there.

Back to Papa Dee and his Dub-Release: The big, not entirely unreasonable topic, which has been dealt with several times in variations, is murder cases in which the famous "Pinkerton National Detective Angency" conducts investigations - by the founder, Sir Pinkerton himself. What does that have to do with the music? Nothing; Titles like “Serial Killing” or “Pure Murder” Dub“Are somehow to be understood as borrowing from Jamaican role models. 

In the end, one can say a lot of good things about "Sir Pinkerton investigates ..." (the length of the album title is really bad for marketing): Beautiful, hand-made riddims, a fine sound and a successful, classic one Dub-Mix that gives the echo loop a lot of time - King Tubby sends his regards! The only disturbing thing is the rock steady (or is it Ska?) Track, which is more or less due to a personal dislike. Out with the part from the playlist and everything is good & recommendable again.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Review Second opinion

Mato: Scary Dub

What did my cloudy eyes have to see? Hasn't there lately Colleague Wynands fobbed off Mato's new album with a ridiculous 3 stars and thus probably not only triggered gasping in me? This wonderful, new release "Scary Dub"(Styx Records) by the French miracle whirlpool Thomas Blanchot, who under his pseudonym Mato 1A-Reggae, -Dub, -Hip Hop and various remixes produced? So the man who came to terms with his Dub-Version of Daft Punk's "Homework“Into the collective Dub-Burned into memory? Yes, dear readers ... I can understand your outrage at this incredible misjudgment very well! I spontaneously give out a round of smelling salts or valerian drops (as needed) for everyone whose blood pressure is going crazy.

A paralysis later you have to say that Mato's Dub actually nothing for the original Dubheads is. There is not the pleasant one Dub- Intoxication - you know it: When the knees become weak and buckle easily; when the head involuntarily begins to nod to the rhythm and the acoustic world consists of a hypnotic, endlessly repetitive bassline and slow, heavy hits on the drums - and with Echo & Hall & other effects arsenal into the psychedelic dreamland where time leads then only consists of slowness. At least that's how it feels with me - let me know if you suspect a need for medical action.

No, Mato is more of a concept artist, storyteller, comic artist who translates 2 to 3-minute stories into acoustic gems. Or even the classical music or the soundtrack and everything perfectly produced & mixed - not for the big dance sound system, of course, but for the well-kept home system. Even the otherwise picky-critical reviewer doesn't find anything to complain about, which is a sensation in itself. However, in his new work, Mato has dealt with film music again; this time a bit narrower with the horror movie genre. There is practically everything represented that has rank and name - from Dracula, Frankenstein to Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers to Fox Mulder and Dana Scully; we don't want to forget the great white shark and the thing from the swamp either. An album full of “Scary Dubs “just.

Each track is a comic in itself; the film melodies are immediately recognizable, the matching sound effects sensational: an eerie organ, screeching women, Christopher Lee's voice - "I am Dracula" is the best Dub-Entertainment:

Or how about that Dub-Version of the "Jaws" theme, i.e. the "great white shark"? The slowly swelling, then nervous, panic-spreading strings ... the memory of the late 70s is immediately there again:

I still have one: Michael Myers goes reggae in “Halloween Dub“… Uh… scaaary !!!

So this time Mato is making music for the SciFi / Horror / Splatter-Movie fans and of course for the children in the Dubheads. It's casual entertainment, light fare, well presented ... and I love it. I actually throw myself away every time I say the “Jaws Dub“Listen - and the album is currently playing in an endless loop!

That makes a total of easily 4 stars, colleague Wynands ... oh well, I'll add another half a star: The X-Files are currently running in Dub - "The truth is out there". Sooo scaaary !!!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

Mato: Scary Dub

Mato is a real concept artist. It would never occur to him to just have a few nice ones Dubs and then put them on an album with a title like "Corona-Dubs “to pack. Never! With him you need a substantial topic, be it Hollywood film music, great classical music - or at least a daft punk masterpiece. Mato is always good for a surprise. So this time too: Once again he turned to film music, but with a genre orientation: "Scary Dub“(Stix Records). When you see the bloody lettering on the cover, you don't have to think twice: It's about horror films, across the decades: from Dracula and Frankenstein to Exorcist and Halloween to the X-Files and the Mummy. A fun concept that allows wonderful samples. The only problem is that the horror genre, unlike z. B. the Western, has not produced any great and well-known soundtracks. Anyone who hopes for recognition effects and eerily cozy movie memories will inevitably be disappointed. So there remains the bare music. And there we are with a dozen light-footed tracks in typical Mato-style, without any real grip, but full of fun sample anecdotes. What a shame, because the concept-obsessed French builds imaginatively arranged ones Dubs and delivers a precise sound - qualities with which more could be achieved. My theory: As backings behind beautiful vocals, his music would be great. When Dub it is less good despite reverberation and echo.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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Review

JahYu: Center of Gravity

As a designer, I have the wrong taste in music. The cover artwork in the genre Dub is one of the worst on the music market - which causes me great visual suffering with almost every new release that I really celebrate musically. That's either because Dub-Producers are so focused on the acoustic sense that they no longer have any capacity left for the eye, or it is because they are forced to produce their music under fatally precarious circumstances and simply cannot afford the costs for appropriate graphic design. Tragic! But here we finally have a fantastic exception to the rule: YahYu: "Center of Gravity“(Steppas). The cover is great. What a beautiful illustration! I need the good piece as vinyl in 30 x 30 cm! Of course, such a cover arouses high expectations. Likewise the label: Steppas Records by Ben Alpha - Home of Alpha Steppa, Alpha & Omega and some other outstanding ones Dub-Artists. YahYu also belongs to the latter. He lives and works in Hamburg, is of Korean descent and produces extremely interesting products Dub-Music in the border area between Dub, Dubstep and bass music. His trademark: ethereal melodies played on traditional Korean instruments that are overly difficult Dub-Beats float. This delightful contrast is not fundamentally new. Augustus Pablo and countless other instrumentalists in his wake have used him to appear spiritual Dub to produce. It is therefore not surprising that the adjective “spiritual” is always used to characterize JahYu's music. And we all know that Ben Alpha is also fully into spiritual and meditative Dub departs. But I have to say that I actually find the hamburger's beats even more exciting than his Korean instruments. Because JahYu's beat constructions transcend the well-known steppers pattern over and over again towards new territory (at least for DubConditions) and thus ensure fresh listening experiences. This creates a beautiful bass odyssey over the length of the album, sometimes over rocky, rough terrain and then again through the gently swaying waves of the offbeat. Exciting and eventful until the very end. In short: Cover and music go well together.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Jah Schulz: Dub Over Science

Jah Schulz added: "Dub Over Science“(Basscomesaveme). Is the title a commentary on the corona pandemic? If so, then without a doubt in the sense that “trying is better than studying”, because that's exactly what Jah Schulz is doing here. A daring experiment in the border area between mysticism and science. While Dr. Schulz otherwise tends to advance the scientific discourse with rather powerful arguments in steppers style, he has now decided to get to the bottom of the matter - in the truest sense. So he dives for "Dub Over Science ”down to the Mariana Trench deep-sea station. He has a studio down there where time passes more slowly, which is why the tracks produced there run at half speed. Which, by the way, halves the frequency from the 16 Hz he is used to up to now to 8 Hz. Of course, up here on earth this can no longer be heard with the human ear, but it can be clearly felt as a slight earthquake. The research question is: How deep does the bass still have to be screwed down in order to set the ground vibrating so strongly that the resulting micro pressure waves cause the SARS-CoV-2 virus to crumble under constant fire? This groundbreaking knowledge could be used in a very short time Dub- Develop vaccine that could heal everyone - without a needle prick! In any case, it works for me: since I've been running the album through my subwoofer, I've been feeling extremely healthy.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Ancient Mountain: Ghetto Dub Flight. 2

An album title like “Ghetto Dub"Gives hope for a veritable one-drop bass monster from the deepest 1970s, brand" Blackheart Man ". When a majestic and venerable “Ancient Mountain” is also cited as an artist, the expectation rises immeasurably: an album like this has no choice but to be either crazy or terribly bad; there is zero leeway in between. But as it is with preconceived notions: They don't stand up to reality. And so the reviewer is amazed when he discovers that this is a German production. Extensive research and an interview later, the world is all right again and the album is in perspective. So let's dive right into the matter and bring on the hardcore facts:

Ancient Mountain is a label, studio and musical project by Martin Musch and Markus Dassmann. While the latter plays bass, guitar, piano, organ and melodica as a multi-instrumentalist, Musch contributes the drums and mix and is thus setting the tone in the truest sense of the word. The drummer is no stranger to anyone who reads liner notes - with Uwe Banton's Movements, the Sharp Ax Band or Irie Miah's Massive Vibes, he has long been an integral part of the German reggae scene; You don't need to say a word more about Markus Dassmann from the Senior Allstars.

"Ghetto Dub Flight. 2“(Ancient Mountain Records) is not their first collaboration; Dassmann was the lead on the 2020 De Soto album “Silverado Days” and implemented his musical ideas. This becomes obvious in a direct listening comparison: "Silverado Days“Could pass for a more accessible Senior Allstars album; not nearly as top-heavy, but the mix is ​​a typical old man's release: flatter than flat. “These are almost 15 year old home studio recordings that Markus recorded and mixed single-handedly - I only contributed the drums,” explains Musch. “For the Ancient Mountain recordings, on the other hand, we use a professional analog studio with a Hammond organ with a Leslie speaker; there is a piano, a Wurlitzer e-piano, a huge selection of old (tube) mics and the corresponding technology. ”Then the old school recordings go to his own Ancient Mountain Studio, where Musch does the things“ hybrid ” mixed with the help of selected analog EQ's and compressors, spring reverb and a small desk. 

Ghetto Dub Vol. 2 and its predecessor (currently only available on Bandcamp) Flight. 1 are - contrary to the expectations of the title - inspired by the classic idea of ​​B-Sides and Versions. “As a“ Ghetto Dub"We call a variety of reggae - the classically hard-played and reduced Channel One sound in minor, as cultivated by the Revolutionaries or the Roots Radics in their heyday at the end of the 1970s to the beginning of the 80s." Apart from that, according to Musch, “Ghetto”, far removed from the socio-cultural context, of course also means a space of limited possibilities and improvisation. In other words: None of the tracks were recorded with the intention of an album release. It is rather the classic recycling of leftovers - from a hodgepodge of musical ideas that has accumulated over time and was too good to throw away; of musical fragments that were not published elsewhere and remained. However, this does not detract from the quality of the material: "What ultimately counts with Ancient Mountain are good songs and a special analog sound."

The exercise was a success: “Ghetto Dub Vol. 2 “does not shine with rushing Dub-Effects - the simple and therefore all the more catchy bass lines are the best classic reggae craft. Martin Musch congenially gives his best Sly Dunbar: “We can't deny our musical background: Channel One, Sly & Robbie, the Roots Radics etc. are musical giants who have created this unique sound and which we are trying to reproduce. "

No question, original sounds and high-quality sound are personally more important to Musch than flashy effects: “We only use acoustic instruments. A grand piano that is picked up with two condenser microphones still sounds different than the best emulation. ”Especially with the drums, which Musch played mostly without a click track, the analog recording technology suits listening habits very well. “With my background as a drummer, I try to create an exciting contrast between soft sounds and percussive elements. Of course, a lot of sound also comes from the fingers, i.e. from many years of experience. Without an accomplished universal musician like Markus Dassmann, Ancient Mountain would certainly sound different. " 

So routine and ability versus creative daring? Well, with “Ghetto Dub Vol. 2 “will certainly not be celebrating King Tubby's resurrection - Musch and Dassmann rely on small bass jewels and the classic, but now worlds better sounding analogue sound: Channel One Deluxe, so to speak. Just two mediocre excursions into the funky disturb the album flow and diminish the positive overall impression - without them the album would probably be the most coherent leftovers ever.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Radical Guru: Beyond the Borders

Radical Guru I've been on my screen since Neil Perch (Zion Train) said to me about seven years ago that he was one of the most interesting Dub-Artists consider. Since then I have been looking forward to new releases of the Polish one with great anticipation Dub-Wunderknaben, but I have to admit, I was never really enthusiastic - which is undoubtedly due to the overly high expectations fueled by Neil. Now there is another opportunity to move my picture of the guru in the direction of “genial”, because his new album “Beyond the Borders“(Moonshine Recordings) is out. First of all: As with its predecessors, it is not a pure one Dub-Album. Six of the ten tracks are vocal tunes - but built on real tunes Dub-Foundation. And yes, the radical guru lives up to his name: As usual, his sounds are hard & heavy. A quality that is reinforced by the crisp production. Sharp vocals by Tenor Youthman, Troy Berkley or Lady Skavya also support the effect. But I am also a little disappointed again; Somehow the music is too one-dimensional for me, too unspectacular, too conventional for a man who calls himself radical. Even the vocalists (with the possible exception of Tenor Youthman) didn't come up with much. It doesn't help if the guru is cautious about it Dubstep, hip hop or trap.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
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Review

Zion I Kings: Zion Ites Dub Flight. 4

The producer conglomerate Zion I Kings should no longer be an unknown size, as it combines the best of the houses Zion High Productions, Luster Kings and I Grade. All three are associated with reggae from the US Virgin Islands, and there primarily with the productions for Vaughn Benjamin and his Midnite and Akae Beka incarnations. The results were sometimes very fine albums like "Infinite Quality"/"Infinite Dub"(Luster Kings Productions),"Livicated"(Zion High Productions) or the superb album trilogy"Beauty for Ashes","Ride Tru"And"Portals“(I Grade Productions).

Although the last-mentioned I Grade albums were released in quick succession, they were never conceived as triplets. And yet they not only combine excellent production, first-class sound and, by Vaughn Benjamin standards, downright hit hooklines; it's also Style Scott's signature drums that add immense value to most of these tracks. It was probably one of his last and, in my opinion, best sessions. So good that the Zion I Kings got together on a sad occasion and made one of these recordings Dub- Mixing tributes: "Dub in Style - A Zion I Kings Tribute to Style Scott".

And so it is Dub-Giant originated on which all subsequent Zion I Kings-Dub Releases had to measure. Meanwhile we are at "Zion Ites Dub - Zion I Kings Dub Flight. 4“(Zion High Productions) arrived, and I frankly admit: Without Style Scott, the whole thing is only worth half, but it certainly deserves the title 'Successful'. This time there may not be a bassline nestling in the cochlea; one or the other successful brass section seems to be quite suitable for this. As is typical for Zion I Kings, there is little to criticize about the production itself - from the timeless, focused on echo and reverb Dub-Mix without further sound-technical bells and whistles up to the dynamics-conserving mixdown were long-serving professionals at work. Only the kick drum is a bit muffled, but looks amazingly well in the sometimes meditative soundscapes:

This is also where the album's admittedly somewhat strange strength seems to lie: although it is varied, no track has emerged as a favorite, even after listening to it a lot. “Zion Ites Dub“Seems to be an acoustic journey through a vast plane that starts over as soon as it is over. You could of course blame the pressed “Repeat” button for this - but I have no need to change that.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Review

Star Wars Dub

The hype about the empire will never stop. So Secret Records reissued it four years ago "Star Wars Dub" Burning Sounds LP re-pressed in "authentic" red vinyl. It is one of those sought after Dub LPs that Phil Pratt sold to the English label at the end of the 70s without any further information, the first presses of which always came in colorful vinyl. You hear that the tracks' home station was Channel One Studio and that Sly Dunbar was in the engine room. But you have to cruise through the Jamaican galaxy for a long time to come across originals like Jimmy London's “Ride On” or “Open The Gate” by Well Pleased & Satisfied. Difficult to say who mixed. Nevertheless, despite Darth Vader on the cover, liner notes dramatically flying past interesting facts and the occasional cracking of the pressure, you don't crash into the mixes. (An earlier version of the text appeared in RIDDIM 04/20)

Rating: 3 out of 5.