Pressure Sounds, next to Blood & Fire the noblest British reggae retro label, has, instead of looking for treasures of reggae history in distant Jamaica, simply looked in front of their own door. Whoever label maker Pete Holdsworth & Co found there was one of the most important protagonists of British reggae in the 70s and 80s: Dennis Bovell. In 1971 he founded the band Matumbi, which five years later had their first hits in the UK reggae charts. At the same time, Bovell established himself as a successful producer and talent scout. Almost single-handedly, he invented lovers rock - a commercial success story without equal. In the mid-70s he became the first British reggae musician to join Dub to experiment, to which he soon devoted himself entirely. Besides own DubHe also recorded all of Linton Kwesi Johnson's albums and developed his own, often very melodious and sometimes unrestrainedly experimental Dub-Style that can easily keep up with some Perry or Tubby tracks. In recent years, Bovell has largely been forgotten, which makes it all the more gratifying that Pressure Sounds has remembered him and now presents us with an excerpt from the most fruitful phase of his work. 16 pieces are on "Decibel - More Cuts And Dubs 1976-1983 " (Pressure Sounds / Zomba) gathered, almost exclusively Dubs. Powerful roots tracks stand back to back with lovely lovers rock arrangements and crazy perryesques DubExperiments. All tracks are precisely and imaginatively mixed, full of surprising details and beautiful melodies. Sometimes boldly arranged with a complete brass section (incl. Rico Rodriguez), sometimes reduced to the pure, minimal beat, sometimes full of reverb and echoes, then again bone dry - every track is a new surprise. Maybe Bovell will surprise us with new productions soon - that would be something ...
That Dub Every reggae geek knows that the reggae beat has long since transcended. So why not think outside the box in this column? With "Tino's Dub Select "(Tino Corp / EFA) It's very easy, because only gradually - and supported by many reggae vocal samples, Tino leads us from the land of the syncopated 4/4 beat into the realm of crashing breakbeats. Big Beat meets Reggae in the House of Dub could be the mixture served by Jack Danergs (Meat Beat Manifesto), Ben Strokes (DHS) and Mike Powell. Dominated by tricky drum beats and rolling basslines and peppered with 1001 samples from all times and styles of reggae, the recordings explore this Dub-Concept down to its last corner. Funky, dubBy, weired and, above all, very exciting, the breakbeat journey runs through different tempos and styles. A great album that shows the universality of the Dub impressively and radically proves. It cannot go unnoticed in the world of reggae!
An album that, at first glance, shows even more outside the box, and also goes a completely different path than Tino is "Rocket In Dub: If Music Could Talk “(Italic / Compact). The keyword “compact” makes it unmistakably clear to those in the know what we are dealing with here: minimal techno. Irrespective of the reggae scene Dub has secured a permanent place in the world of minimal electronic music in recent years. In the beginning, the driving force was undoubtedly the Berlin Basic Channel label, from which z. B. Rhythm & Sound also emerged and their makers are currently responsible for the re-publication of the Wackies back catalog. The artists of the Cologne compact label have their own minimal style Dub-Music developed for which this “Rocket In Dub“Album is a good example. Hypnotic, powerfully syncopated shuffel beats with lots of little click & cut effects and full reverb and echo. The already quite slimmed-down one can be minimal Dub-Don't understand music. Everything superfluous has been eliminated - the core of the Dub-Sounds lies bare. Like in a laboratory experiment, neatly dissected, analyzed and recombined. If music could talk, it would tell us how it is in the subatomic world of Dub looks like, would tell us whether the microcosm of sound resembles the computer simulation that Rocket In Dub presents. I am willing to believe in it.
Where guys like the Italic protagonists or basic channel makers like Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus get their inspiration from becomes clear when we look at the Wackies album they have just re-released "African Roots Act 1" (Wackies / Indigo) Listen. Produced by Wackie's studio musician Clive Hunt, it offers a dark, multi-dimensional sound that is occasionally reminiscent of Lee Perry's Black Ark. Especially the first track “Addis Ababa Dub“, In which a drum machine is used, should have been the wow experience of the minimal technician. Even today recordings like this still sound fresh and shine full of magic. Since the year it was created, “African Roots Act 1” has been the masterpiece of the Dub - and when you listen again it is all too easy to understand why. It is hard to believe what innovative strength was at the end of the 70s in the small studio deep in New York's Bronx. unfolded. It was just magic.
Another recently published work from Wackie's archive sounds less magical, a bit more conventional and also not as innovative: "Roots Underground: Tribesman Assault" (Wackies / Indigo). Released in the early 80s, it offers the typical Wackies qualities such as the dark atmosphere, the warm sound and the tight rhythms. A nice, exciting album, which just can't keep up with “African Roots Act 1”, but which in itself is well above the Jamaican average of the 70s.
Before we leave the revival selection, let's have a nice double CD sampler with a total of 35 Dub Tracks mentioned: "Dub Sessions ”(Union Square). It is part of the well-known session samplers that have already dedicated themselves to musical styles such as soul, funk, blues, hip hop, drum 'n' bass or Latin. If you look at the track listing, you get the impression of having a Best Of Blood & Fire in front of your nose, because almost 2/3 of the songs were licensed there. This also makes it clear that the stylistic focus of the album is on Dub the 70s. Only the three mixed-up UK- Dub-Tracks. It might have made more sense, the story that Dub to be traced chronologically and to the newDub to give more space to the 90s and the present. Nevertheless, the sampler is a nice all-round hit in old school and a commendable attempt to bring the roots of this fascinating music closer to the mainstream audience.
Sub-Oslo are an 8-headed Dub-Band from Texas (yes, it has been laughed a lot about) and present (after an EP) with "The Rites Of Dub"(Glitterhouse / Indigo) her first full-fledged album. There are trippy, hand-played ones on it Dub- To hear tracks in excess length - very hypnotic, very meditative. Occasionally reminiscent of early Sherwood productions or faintly the Suns Of Arqa. However, that seem Dub-Mix and the restrained effects instead of actually being recorded live here, as is usually the case on the studio mixer. A nice concept that certainly knows how to captivate on stage. What is amazing, however, is the idea that there are eight musicians behind these cautious, minimal sounds - what are they doing?
The DubAlbum by Nucleus Roots, “In Dub" (Westbury / Import), also hand-played, is of a completely different caliber. Here there is full dynamism in the songs, and the Dub-Mix is a product of classic post-production. Great, the distorted bass on Long Road Dub"Or the subsonic low frequencies on" Tuned In Dub". The album dates back to 2001 but is now being offered as an import for the first time.
The highlight of the contemporary Dub however comes from Urban Dub, "Featuring Fairshare Unity Sound" (Dubhead / indigo). Urban Dub aka. Roop (rhythms and production), Marjorie Paris (saxophone) and Hieronymous (vocals and mixing) have teamed up with Unruly Julian from the Fairshare Unity sound system and together they have an extraordinarily beautiful and extremely varied one Dub-Album produced. A total of 26 tracks can be heard on the double CD, which are bursting with energy and inventiveness. Solid, uptempo beats form the basis for crazy instrumentation (often with Marjorie's saxophone), for twisted ones Dub-Mixes, ingenious catchy melodies and above all for unusual, fat sounds. "Dub-Playground “would be a congenial title, because the four musicians understand this album as nothing else. They don't care about rules, commercialism or image. Anything that is fun is allowed. While the album with some beautiful, melodic Dubs begins, it develops more and more obliquely in the further course until it finally comes to some totally weird avant-gardeDubs ends. A roller coaster ride through the land of subsonic beats! More of that!