Mad Professor is one of my heroes. His "Dub Me Crazy ”albums came like a revelation to me in the early 1980s. As if I had suspected that there had to be a deeper dimension in reggae, I heard its metallic thunderous beats with open ears, head and mouth. His DubIt was exactly the right mix of powerful, deeply sounding beats and a highly creative mix. In contrast to his colleague Adrian Sherwood, he always succeeded in lending his musical experiments grounded and breathing soul into his pieces. In an interview he once told me that he was happy to be making music in England and not in Jamaica, because here he was exposed to more diverse influences that inspire and motivate him again and again. This speaks of a complete devotion to music. It is not the search for a commercially exploitable “style” that drives him, but the exploration of the still hidden possibilities of Dub. How far he has come with exploring this potential is documented by his double CD anniversary compilation "Method To The Madness" (Trojan / Sanctuary), which presents a cross-section of the professor's 25 years of production activity. While the second CD is mainly devoted to his remix work (for Massive Attack, Jamiroquai, etc.), the first CD shows the professor's real great deeds. Largely chronologically, the arc is spanned from 1979 (“Kunta Kinte Dub") To 2004 (" Ariwa Dub Rock “- with Sly & Robbie). It is downright terrifying how modern his productions from the early 80s sound. Such sophisticated, cleverly arranged and high-quality produced rhythms are still rare today. The professor used them for his great ones Dubs, but also as the basis for many vocal productions with British artists such as Pato Banton, Ranking Ann, Sandra Cross or of course Macka B, all of whom are represented here with their most important pieces. But venerable Foundation artists have always been interested in Mad Professor and so there are wonderful recordings with Johnny Clarke, Horace Andy and Max Romeo to be heard. All in all, a multi-layered and essential retrospective of the crazy professor - one that drives you crazy for more.
Since Trojan was swallowed by Sanctuary, the label's gigantic catalog has been evaluated again to the best of its ability. Any compilation idea is of course welcome. The latest idea from Trojan: the classic DJ compilation, in which a well-known record player can pack his favorite tracks from the pool onto a sampler. That worked out well with DJ Shortkut. Now it is the turn of the BBC radio DJ Chris Coco and presents his Dub Club: "Peace & Love & Dub"(Sanctuary). For this he made use of a number of tracks already on thousands of other samplers such as “King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown” or “Cocain In My Brain” (not only Dubs) but also real new discoveries like Dawn Penn's “Love Dub”, Gregory's“ African Woman Version ”, Bobby Ellis“ Shuntin ”or Lee Perry's self-sung (and slightly rewritten) version of Marley's“ One Drop ”packed onto the turntable. All of this is not really mandatory, but it is fun and especially good on Sunday mornings.
But that's not all, because with that "Trojan Dub Rarities Box Set "(Sanctuary), the Sanctury compilers added one more: fifty Dub-Tunes from the 1970s and early 1980s on three CDs. Fortunately, instead of the usual suspects, rarer pieces are gathered here. However, these are often only alternative mixes, which of course reduces the novelty value. But there are also small, sparkling ones Dub-Beads used in the historiography of Dub were overlooked like z. B. "Dub In Love "by The In Crowd with early synth melodies, or Niney's" Iron Fist "an earlier" computerized " Dub. But given the fact that there are seventiesDub-Samplers are not lacking at the moment, the question arises whether these "rarities" must be included in the DubCollection include.
In each DubCollection includes these two albums: "Dub Massive Chapter 1 " and "2" (Sanctuary). Two CDs with 18 tracks each, none less than Bill Laswell stole from the Trojan archives. But the master of the bass doesn't just have his favorites heredubs compiled the Seventies, but has also subjected them to a gentle remix that respects the original. "Placed By Bill Laswell" is therefore also the name of the cover (which, by the way, consists of a cardboard box and the interested listener owes further information), which Laswell obviously means mainly subtle changes to the sound (z. B. amplified bass lines, distortion, etc.), occasional sound samples and sophisticated transitions between the mixed pieces. Each album thus presents itself as a seventy-minute, continuous one Dub-Mix in which the beats of different producers and different epochs into one fascinating Dub- Merge all over. What purists see as sacrilege, Laswell understands as "interpretation". That actually hits the point quite well, because instead of making them sound new and different, he rather works out the strengths and characteristics of the originals and subjects them to a gentle sound-technical “rebrush”. Anyone who thinks this is sacrilege should definitely listen to the albums, because they will probably rediscover their favorite pieces here.
That's enough of Trojan releases. Let's move on to another favorite label of mine: Echo Beach. Always looking for interesting things DubManifestations, the label boss is now on DubAlbum by the American ska band The Slackers, with the title "An Afternoon In Dub"(Echo Beach / Indigo), bumped. Developed after rehearsal sessions in which the recording tape was played, the tunes sound very relaxed and inspired - and not at all like ska. Slow reggae one-drop beats dominate here - only occasionally a ska shuffle creeps in, which is then very refreshing. Of course, the typical Ska winds and the rough, hand-played sound are particularly beautiful. Less convincing, however, are the riddims and the sometimes somewhat pressureless way of playing. In general, the album sounds more like an instrumental than a thoroughbred DubAlbum, although the Dub-Mix is unmistakable.
This is a little bit with the new album by Burning Babylon, "Stereo Mash Up" (I-Tones / Import) the case. Again, the hand-played sound is sometimes a bit dry and the timing is not always perfect. On the other hand, there are also super tight pieces like “Midnight To Six” or “Heavy Dread (a Stalag version), which, when heard at full volume, are quite able to cover the roof. It is these surprises that make the album interesting. Instead of a monotonous standard sound, there are a lot of ideas in every piece - the joy of playing and mixing is unmistakable.
Let's stay in America and move from Massachusetts to Brooklyn, to the Trumystic sound system. They just have their double album "Dub Power" published that, contrary to the title, contains mostly vocal numbers. The DubVersions can then be found on CD 2. Also hand-played, these tunes also have a rather dry, analogue sound, above which the bright, powerful voice of the singer Kirsty Rock hovers. All songs were produced by Keith Clifton from the Wordsound environment, which initially set off all alarm bells, as well as the information that Trumystic was already on the Pink Floyd homage album “The Dub Side Of The Moon ”. And indeed: a certain intellectual closeness to rock can sometimes not be completely ignored. On the other hand, there are also very nice, powerful reggae rhythms - but the album doesn't really convince me. Dub is electronic music in the broadest sense. In order to be able to convince with a hand-played, rocking sound, you have to do your job really well (like z. B. the Dub Trio). But that doesn't really work out here yet. Trumystik's strengths, however, lie in the vocal pieces, where a coherent song structure is more important than sound and precision.
Sound completely different Dub Resistance on their album "World Receiver" (www.maxelect.com). This is about house, lounge and dope beats under the big principle Dub. The sounds are therefore more electronic, relaxed and flowing. Music that fits well into the background, it fills the room with atmosphere and warmth. It is hardly possible to listen carefully. Again and again the thoughts drift away - nothing keeps them with the pieces. There is a lack of rough edges, strength and energy. With the Cool Hipnoise album (on Echo Beach), Nick Manasseh showed how loungeDub can be implemented with character. Thereof Dub Resistance unfortunately still far away. A little less modesty and more self-confidence would certainly help.
Let us now come to a work that, for better or worse, belongs in this column: "The Dub Tribute To U2 "(www.vitaminrecords.com/Imp.) von WideAwake. Maybe I've always been a despiser of rock music, but maybe you have to know the U2 originals to enjoy this album. In any case, I don't even begin to succeed. OK, what the producers did there is without a doubt DubThat means: there are a lot of sound effects here, many (too many!) breaks, reverb and echo and whatever else goes with it. But unfortunately the basslines were forgotten. Or is it part of the rock tribute that the bass cannot be heard? The fact that guitars are used instead of bass only makes matters worse. It remains to be noted: powerful rhythms, the conditio sine qua non of every ordinary one Dubs, does not exist! But I don't want to deny that the producers really go out of their way and incorporate many well-intentioned ideas into their arrangements. But if the bas (s) is not right, then unfortunately you can forget the rest. Incidentally, a visit to the Vitaminrecords website is quite enlightening, because the label has specialized entirely in tribute albums. There are tributes to Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein or Bon Jovi. However, they are not Dub- Remixes, but mostly classically orchestrated reinterpretations, some of which are really exciting (MP3s can be heard as a sample). For example, a classic string quartet interprets the music of Sonic Youth in the minimal style of Steve Reich or Philipp Glass. The same quartet has also undertaken a baroque reinterpretation of AC / DC !?
Let's conclude the dance with the new album by Gabriel Le Mar: “Le Mar In Dub". Gabriel Le Mar is in Dub-, ambient, downbeat, trance and techno realms have been a very present figure since the 1990s. Usually it is hidden behind project or label names such as Aural Float, Saafi Brothers or Banned X. I first noticed it around ten years ago with its Serious Dropout samplers, which with their technoDub-Crossovers were way ahead of their time. This was followed by the Auralux samplers, which increasingly left the reggae beat in the direction of ambient and electronics. With “Le Mar In Dub“He's back on the track again. Here again powerful offbeats pulsate with a clear shot of techno. The sound could be classified somewhere between Dreadzone and Compact - with a clear tendency towards the former. There's a lot of pressure and drive in the beats. The mixes are almost a minor matter, although they are very inspired and varied. The same applies to the track selection. So there are heavily grooving up-tempo pieces, but also slower, loungy ones Dubs with flowing basslines and smooth sounds. At the beginning of the album there are even two dancehall numbers, which are quite out of the ordinary and actually haven't lost much on the album. Le Mar has found a nice name for the last track, whose rhetorical question we are only too happy to answer in the affirmative: “All of them Dubbed? ".
I still have one: They come from Lyon high tones, With the "Wave Digger" (Jarring Effects / Pias) presented a rather experimental and equally dissonant and kicking album. Dub works here essentially in the form of deep, rolling basslines over which all sorts of chaos is played. Sometimes level-headed offbeats, sometimes hectic drumming & bass, sometimes hip hop and sometimes absurd samples. A comparison to the Asian Dub Foundation almost imposes itself, although the Hightones weave significantly less ethnic elements into their confused sound patterns. The whole thing is very, very exciting, even if you shouldn't necessarily use it as background music when working in the office - if you like peace with your colleagues.