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Review

Mysticwood: The Mystic Way of Dub

An album with a good cover is definitely a big plus for me. Because a good cover is a sign of the appreciation of the music. Musicians who don't bother with good cover design seem to think that their own music isn't worth it. Of course, we all know counterexamples from Jamaican music history. But when we think of the really great works that have survived the trends and fads, they're mostly albums with good artwork. If "The Mystic Way of Dub' by Mysticwood will be a great work is debatable, but the cover certainly fulfills the requirement. And I have to say: I like the music too. A lot. Everything here sounds like the good old 70sDub-Sound has never gone astray and has been consistently developed into the present. The classic Dub-Principle, reloaded. In other words: full arrangements, beautiful bass lines, classic ones Dub-Techniques and production on analogue equipment - but now with full dynamics, super clean bass sound and a dash of steppers. It is a Swiss quality production by Charlie Mystic, 22 years old, multi-instrumentalist and Dub-Fanatic from Geneva, whose studio is in the immediate vicinity of OBF. "The Mystic Way of Dub' is his debut – which, by the way, is an album with eight tracks, but only four rhythms, because each piece can be heard twice: once as dubbig instrumental and once as a full-grown one Dub. The press info aptly comments: “Strictly instrumental and dubwise, no compromise, no vocals, because there's no need!"

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Mouflon Dub Sound system: Moc

Look to Poland. It's getting better there too Dub produced – albeit mostly under the radar. There's Muflon Man, a tinkerer and producer who's been into reggae and Dub composed. In 2005 he was on the then leading sampler series “Roots of Dub radio" to hear. He is now known as a muflon Dub Sound system at Dubophonic landed and there with "Moc“ (Dubophonic) released a beautiful showcase album consisting of five riddims, each of which can be heard in two versions. Still, "Showcase" is a bit of an exaggeration here, as the vocal versions are pretty close too Dub built. The - mostly female - vocals sound rather sporadic and hardly manage to assert themselves against the backing. Nevertheless, some beautiful melodies ring out here in the form of Christian-inspired Polish sung lyrics. All very relaxed, harmonious, warm and uplifting with pulsating bass lines, classic ones Dub-Effects and a maximally clean production.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Review

King Size Dub 25

She is still alive, perhaps the oldest Dubcompilation series in the world: “King Size Dub' by Echo Beach. In 1994 King Size was released Dub 1" - at that time at the height of Dub-Hypes published in cooperation with the music magazine Spex. But while Spex and hype died out in the meantime, Echo Beach is the topic Dub remained true and has risen to become the most important label of this genre (at least) in the German-speaking world. Now Echo Beach is releasing “King Size Dub 25“. Anniversary! Congratulations. The label itself celebrates the 25th edition and looks inward, at its own artists, some of whom remix each other here. That's why Vol. 25 contains the Who's Who of the Echo Beach companions, like Dub Spencer & Trance Hill, Dubvisionist, Dubblestandard, Dubmatix, Seeed and many others. It's also nice to hear how diverse the spectrum of Dub-Artists and their music and how harmoniously everything fits together perfectly. Truly an epoch-making series that is celebrating a milestone birthday here. Let's hope that someday we'll be king size Dub 50 will hear.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Dub Vallila – Katakom Beat

Spoiler alert: 4,5 stars for a very nice, groovy, Dub-impregnated instrumental album that found its own way to us from – read and be amazed: from Helsinki / Finland. Why not; Talent can be found everywhere. Here, however, we have to do with an accumulation of it; tape and Dub Mixers complement each other ideally:

The band is called Dub Vallila and "Catacomb Beat“ (Playground Music Oy) their successful debut album. The line-up is as simple as it is effective: classic reggae horns meet the same band; just using a hang drum is a bit out of line. But why not; the slope is used in the fine arrangements just as appropriately as it is unobtrusive. The whole thing also works very well live:

Ultimately, it is still the Dub-Dragging the mixer in front of the curtain - a certain Micho Dread, who is the congenial partner on the mixing board: Very nice classic and modern effects that fit perfectly but never take on the leading role. If you like his style, you can find more of it on "Dub by Studiored".

And all this from Finland, who would have thought it. One could now be subtle and wish for a somewhat warmer overall sound; but the reviewer surprisingly doesn't want to be nitpicking and just sticks to the basslines, horn sections and Dub-Effects delight. Will probably be his summer soundtrack 2022!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

Ras I Mothep: Reconciliation

Thanks to the "City Squad" samplers, we know that almost every French town has at least one brilliant sound system. That's why I wasn't at all surprised when I looked at the impressive album "Reconciliation’ (Subsquad) by Ras I Mothep – the work of a sound system from Aix-en-Provence, a town steeped in history smaller than Herne. After all, around a third of Aix's residents are students (which perhaps helps explain why Herne doesn't have a sound system). Doesn't matter. In any case, “Reconciliation” is worth recommending here. Even the track after the intro has it all. He starts out cautiously, almost shy. A nanosecond before you think nothing is going to happen here, then such a fat bassline kicks in that a nanosecond later it's already unequivocally clear that this is a great album. I also don't know why some Steppers productions flash me so much. Although I'm such a fine-spirited art connoisseur. Maybe I'm schizophrenic, but "Reconciliation" really picks me up. I love the dynamics, the brutal kick, the simple - mostly oriental sounding - melodies, the super deep bass and I'm really into the virtuoso percussions. What should I do? When I listen carefully to the music (like now) I realize that there isn't much artistry to it, that there's not the slightest bit of intellectual justification for my enjoyment of the album. But I stand by it! "Reconciliation" kicks ass!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Christos DC: Crisis 2.0 in Dub

Where "I Grade" is on it, quality is in it - no question: Best sound, brand "sophisticated". See the review of the recently released Zion I Kings album "Future Ocean's Echo“, which thrives on concept first and, well, riddims and effects second. But if the former is missing and the latter isn't the icing on the cake either, then it sounds like Christo's DC's newer one Dub counterpart to his "Crisis 2.0" Album that, no-na, "Crisis 2.0 in Dub“ (Honest Music) – both mixed by Laurent Alfred aka I Grade.

To make it short: "sophisticated" stands for cultivated boredom. The riddims ripple neatly along without any arc of suspense; due to a lack of concise basslines, it doesn't want to be recognizable. The same goes for the mix: although there's no stinginess with effects, it doesn't quite spark. In the sound, everything seems to be more or less equally loud/quiet, courageous fade-outs are missing, acoustic uniformity reigns, less would be more. A disappointment, since one is better from I grade Dubs used to. In comparison, the vocal album Crisis 2.0 does better: It's Christos DC's voice that ties it all together and provides direction.

The example above may not demonstrate the catchiest melody line, but it is, hands down, the best riddim on the album. And so it finally comes that in the present case I actually play the vocal tracks of the Dubvariant, especially since sound gimmicks have also been incorporated there. Which shows: Sometimes you've already delivered the best and it doesn't need any further processing - and yes, you can also overdo it with perfection.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Review

Sabab presents Revival Style

On Ireland, the green island in the Atlantic, lives a "Dubling” out Dublin named Elias Zaidan. As a producer, sound engineer and artist, he calls himself Sabab. The Arabic word sabab means "cause, initial spark, impulse". the inside Dublin-born half-Lebanese, half-Irish consequently draws inspiration from both cultures. Certainly Sabab could have produced beautiful Irish jigs or Lebanese dabkehs, both folk dances danced 'in a row'. Or if he had become a chef, he would certainly have prepared a sheep's stomach stuffed with sumac and the finest oriental ingredients. But we are wasting our precious time, because luckily Sabab has taken a completely different artistic direction. In addition to avant-garde, electronic, jazz and film music, the sound from Jamaica is very special Dub his great passion, of which he gives us a remarkable demonstration here. "Sabab presents Revival Style“ is his debut work for the Lion Charge label and the title of the album says it all, because already “Wild Style Dub' leads us in the right direction. The eight in Dubliner Gussie Edwards Studio convincingly show the talent of the hitherto unknown sound engineer, who played the old-schoolDub-Sound of the late 70s, early 80s skilfully captured on this nostalgic musical journey and transferred to the present. Sabab convincingly demonstrates his quality at the mixing desk and his very special preference for spacydubbig sounds. A rich bass, drums echoing from the deepest dungeon - like in Scientist's best "King Tubby's Sessions" times, hissing hi-hats and decelerated rhythms float through space and time. The psychedelic sounds created by reverberation, echo and tubbyesque sound loops sound wonderfully nostalgic, yet are stylishly furnished with a modern touch. Finally, the only question I have is whether Sabab recorded the album alone or with a band, which I assume is more the case with “Revival Style”. Unfortunately, there is no information about this in the credits, but that doesn't detract from the album overall.

Finally: A beautiful musical journey into the legendary late 1970s era of Jamaica, when flyers, steppers and rockers still set the tone on the island.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Review

Dubmatix Meets Future Dub Orchestra: Frontline Dub

Once upon a time there was the future Dub Orchestra - a loose musicians' collective around the Brit JT Clarke - that released the rather trivial, droning album "Echoes": Suitable at best for lounges, at worst for an elevator that catapults hip scouts to the next startup with potential hits . That was 2017; flashforward to 2022 and the ingenious idea of ​​the Future Dub Orchestra with Mr Dubto clamp matrix together. That makes something, as you can see on the just released "Frontline Dub' (Echo Beach).

Both parties benefit from the new album: the orchestra gets thanks Dubmatix kicks his butt and he in turn broadens his musical horizons in a beneficial way: a win-win situation, so to speak. And indeed, “Frontline Dub' an entertaining work consisting of five instrumentals plus their Dubversions and as such fits perfectly into the Echo Beach catalogue: the danceable electronic version of Hall & Echo, which just barely misses reggae. Fans of this genre mix - for which there should have been a category for a long time - will love the album, no question. And indeed: So far the best Echo Beach release of the year, although we're only halfway there...

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

New Blade Runners of Dub

Here we have a promising collaboration between Paul Zasky and Jed Smith. The names mean nothing to you? Paul Zasky is the mastermind of Dubble standard. He lives in Vienna and Los Angeles. In the latter city he apparently met Jed Smith, who has been working as a film musician and composer since 1999. He wrote the music for the films, among other things Alita: Battle Angel, Terminator: Redemption, Deadpool and Knives Out. The two now have the album "New Blade Runners of Dub(Echo Beach) released — though just now Blade Runner is not on Smith's list. Okay, you guessed it, right? The Blade Runners aren't giving us one Dub! Instead we hear unclassifiable compositions that sometimes sound like ambient, sometimes like industrial, but always like film scores. An interesting listening experience, complex and multi-layered - an acoustic journey through space and time. A bit dark and occasionally a bit cerebral. Who with the expectation "Dub' encounters the album will inevitably be disappointed, although the music is by no means bad. But I'm curious how Echo Beach will succeed, the work outside of the Dub-Community to market.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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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.