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Christos DC: Kung Fu Action Theater

Christos DC is the pseudonym of Christopher Vrenios, a son of two professional opera singers from Washington DC - which immediately explains the last part of his stage name. Christopher owes his nickname Christos to his Greek grandmother. According to his mini album “Matchbox In Dub"From 2023, the Greek-American reggae musician and producer returns with a groundbreaking project "Christos DC: Kung Fu Action Theater“ (Honest Music) back. A purely instrumental project that fuses traditional Chinese instruments with roots reggae arrangements. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the use of Chinese instruments is a novelty in this genre.
In an interview, Christos DC gives two reasons why he wanted to release an instrumental album with traditional Chinese instruments. Christos DC grew up watching kung fu films and has always been fascinated by the music he listened to, which in turn led him to learn more about Chinese classical music in general. The idea of ​​fusing these two styles has been with him for many years, and the result is now “Kung Fu Action Theater.” Three classical Chinese instruments are used in "Kung Fu Action Theater": the guzheng (a half-tube zither played with the fingers), the yangqin (a Chinese dulcimer similar to a stringed instrument and played with clappers), and the erhu ( a two-stringed tubular lute that is bowed, similar to a two-stringed violin). It's hard to believe, the background is 100 percent traditional reggae, but one thing I can say without hesitation: the Chinese instruments fit somnambulistically into a wealth of creative arrangements and create a new sound that is inherently mysterious.
Two tracks from the project have already been released in advance by Christos DC: the eclectic "Mountain King", which is based on Edvard Grieg's classic stage play "In the Hall Of The Mountain King", and the hypnotic "Distance", which features Chinese instrumentation The foreground is.
Overall, the compositions, performances and production of “Kung Fu Action Theater” are of the highest quality. There is no shortage of imaginative arrangements. From the meandering, slightly melancholic basic idea of ​​"Dread And Alive" to "Far East", where the tempo and flow of the rhythmic arrangement increases. “Long Road” takes up the title of the album with a melancholic, unsettling composition, while “Mystic” has something of Steppers in it with its fast drum arrangement. "Rising Sun" is pure pleasure, "Survival" is thought-provoking, while "Swan Lake" (similar to "Mountain King") takes up and revives the song of the swans from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's classic ballet.

It is immediately noticeable that this time Christos DC has opted for a warm roots sound with brass instruments (Brian Falkowski - saxophone and Paul Hamilton - trombone). A sound that immediately reminds me of US Virigin Islands productions, and that's no coincidence, as the entire project was professionally mixed by Laurent 'Tippy I' Alfred from I Grade Records. We don't hear anything excessive Dub-Fireworks, but an excellent meditative soundscape with calmly meandering riddims without a lot of frills. With musicians like Style Scott, Flabba Holt, Kenyatta Hill, Chinese artists and many others, Christos DC ultimately did everything right and created a highly demanding work.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

3 responses to “Christos DC: Kung Fu Action Theater”

A really excellent review, especially since I would have raced past Christos DC... :-) And that would have been a shame, because it was much nicer Dub bubbles in my ears. Asian sounds in Dub I only know JahYu & Alpha Steppa. But here the instruments described have significantly more development and influence and complement each other fascinatingly with the wind instruments. And then Tippy Alfred too! A great album if the interested listener warms up to the unfamiliar sounds!

A really great, open-minded album for unbiased people who like to think outside the box. Many thanks for recommendation.

As a very keen listener, or as a “well-known” DubAs a connoisseur, I naturally only get up to speed when I hear “unusual sounds”. Unusual sounds are one of the main reasons I like them so much DubListen to music. And the Chinese version is not completely foreign to me either. For example, Jah Wobble started dating the Chinese a long time ago Dub Orchestra delighted my very fond ears.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJMj-ZX_8Uw
You only discover something like that for yourself if you are not prejudiced. Or maybe just because of that! Ok, Jah Wobble has always been interesting for Dub Connoisseurs but the word Dub in Chinese Dub Orchestra has certainly attracted additional attention as well. And so, this beautiful album has been in my possession for a long time.
“Action Theater” is also a really great album for me. When it comes to the riddims, I don't have the slightest complaint and the Chinese instruments create a very special magic for me too.
Again, nice that Ras Vorbei explained these instruments to us in more detail and thus brought them even closer to us. Even a “violin” with only two strings can do one DubConnoisseur very delighted. There is also the beautiful effect of the “unusual”, which gives me an additional psychedelic effect when it sounds like it does here in “Kung Fu Action Theater”.
“Long Road” gives me a particularly exciting and tingling feeling. Maybe it's the "unsettling composition" that makes me shudder a little. But more like what you would want in an exciting film. Somehow the whole riddim has a tone that creates a kind of high tension for me.
Fantastic !!!
Ok, I don't want to write anything bad about Tippy I Alfred but here he has things DubMix is ​​really held back. Doesn't matter at all! But for me the album has more of the character of an instrumental album. However, the very best!

Greetings ……………… lemmy

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