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Dub boat: Dub Boat

Please forgive me if this review features an album that was released in 2020. I myself just recently stumbled across this and am fascinated by it; it is of breathtaking musical brilliance, offers wonderfully extensive, consistently sophisticated arrangements and 1A sound quality. I say it openly: Dub Boat, a quintet from America's East Coast, sometimes sound like a symphony orchestra - every note on their untitled, self-published one debuts testifies to virtuoso ability - this also applies to the work of the sound engineer(s) involved. Mind you: we are still in the reggae genre, and there close to Dub-Area. Okay, let's call it instrumentals:

You can of course wear yourself out with such a work – because the whole thing has very little to do with the familiar, heavy riddims of Jamaican provenance. If you're looking for that typical earthy vibe that seems to be built on blood, sweat and tears, you won't find it here. It's reggae as reggae as it could be. Of course, the bass gets involved in a few repeated sequences of notes - but only to break out of it again and follow the sophisticated arrangements. Drums, guitar, keys and trumpet/flugelhorn are in no way inferior and produce together... well, what actually? Reggae goes Jazz-Rock-Funk'n'Soul goes Tamtam? Reggae as stadium rock or symphonic open-air concert? Chris Blackwell meets Jim Steinman meets Clive Hunt? Elevator music or breathtaking performance?

I suggest taking your time and letting the music sink in. There is a lot to discover, unforeseen musical surprises and one or the other Dub-Effect. Associations and classification are difficult – would Dub Spencer & Trance Hill would they sound like this if they were Americans and recorded Hollywood soundtracks full-time? Or maybe Marcus Urani's Groundation sans Harrison Stafford, freshly strengthened and ironed out?

An album - or rather: a review that raises more questions than answers. As always, I advise dealing with such phenomena from the fringes of the reggae universe - it could be worth it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3 replies to "Dub boat: Dub boats"

You are a busy "bee" gtk!

While I mainly indulged in culinary delights over Easter, you also served up a few culinary music snacks. According to your recommendation, I took the right time for it, although the time for it was far from enough. But it was also crucial that this time I really felt like “dealing” with music that (superficially) wanted to lead through the “evening program” again with a wind instrument. Even the way described in the review that the bass notes "are not soaked with blood, sweat and tears" didn't stop me from dealing intensively and carefully with the instrumentals. It wasn't difficult for me in any way as the riddims/instrumentals are fantastic for the most part. But yes, it will happen that the trumpet on album length will annoy me here and there. That's the basic theme for me with "Dub City” again a little too stuffy, I would have to write it to make it rhyme. No, I wouldn't call it stuffy, but it could also be a new version of the soundtrack to Shaft or Petrochelli. Who cares, "Shaft" / "Petrochelli" was always okay, I would say.
But what inspires me much more is the excellent trumpet solo, which starts at minute 2:11 in the audio sample. Terrific !!! Not just WHAT he is playing or improvising, but also HOW the trumpet suddenly sounds. Suddenly it becomes (I hope not only for me) really horizon-broadening. In the Spotify version, the solo starts later and - in my opinion - is not played quite as enthusiastically as in the audio sample on youtube. But as if that wasn't enough for a good instrumental piece, after the trumpet solo the real star of this album – again in my opinion – tops it all off. The guitar or the guitarist plays here and fortunately also in many other places on this album as if from another planet. Ok, I'm im reggae and especially im Dub I've often heard such an ingenious guitar sound, but here you even get a little more than the guitar arrangements that are often only briefly interspersed in many older ones Dubs. It's not just the spherical sound that pleases me, but also the dexterity and skill of the guitarist. I admit it, my comparisons often come from far away (that's because I have such a huge horizon ;-)) but especially with the BassLine from "Dub City” I also listen to quite a lot DubbleStandard. The bassline is by no means the same, but I really had to check how close it was to "Not Controlled by the Artist". I would say at least 50% it's almost identical, although here at "Dub City” is even more virtuosic. At first I had serious concerns reading the review about the BassLines but as is so often the case, it's not that hard when you're prepared. Most of the bass melodies have a very positive effect on me.
Especially "Solid" has a very carrying bassline, in which I feel very safe. And anyway I melt away at "Solid". Every note from every instrument is right there on my “G-spot”. ( "G" stands for pleasure ). It's similar with "Project 13" and most of the others.
"SoundWaves" and "Dog Water" are by no means bad, but they haven't really grabbed me yet. Then there are those moments or passages like “Sinister Duke” where a very charming riddim with a nice bass line that picks you up from the deep basement and carries you up to the top floor before the whole riddim then turns into a kind of Latin jazz transforms. I have no idea if you can call it that, but for me it's something like "Latin Jazz". It's not bad either, but it only gets really awesome for me through the transition to "King Tut". Although I can also do something with Latino music, the transition to the usual feel-good rhythm feels almost exactly like crawling back into the comfortably warm womb somewhere in the Siberian tundra (or taiga) after a premature birth. Unfortunately, towards the end the tune falls into the "OutBeat". (If Reggae is OffBeat, then Rock is OutBeat for me.) I find the drum rhythm towards the end completely off track. I can't do anything with that.
Then there is “Into The Dub“. I really don't know what's overwhelming for me emotionally. Is that still Bavarian northern alpine flair or almost Jamaican upliftment?!
In any case, the tune creates a pleasant happiness in me, before the tune or the album actually a little “Into The Dub', only to spread pure happiness again towards the end. "Sunken Ship" rounds off this fantastic album perfectly.

I can't think of more at the moment ………………….. lemmi

"By the way" :

The EP "Moonlight Radio" (very nice on "deep in dub“ to hear) just knocks me out even more. Sounds a bit "deeper" to me. I don't really like the word "kinda" at all, but I feel it Dubs here “somehow” a bit more “music”. I think the BassLines are even better than on "Dub boats". Unfortunately, the super guitar is not or only very rarely at the start but it doesn't matter ...... and this SOUND! Just FAT!!!
The disc sounds “somehow” a lot DUBBIGGER!!! It's a Bigger Dub ! What also on the "DUbSingle” applies. The guitar is also "fully" there again! "Dean Frazer" also intervened for a short time, but fortunately the saxophone only goes into the anaerobic range for a short time.
( And this "International Rude Boy Dubs" from Lotek also deserves a 5 star review in my opinion).

So long and have a nice time, when "the right time comes" ……………………… lemmi

That's right, lemmi… sometimes you stumble across jewels… not the mallet type this time, but the finely chiseled ones.

The alienated flugelhorn solo fascinated me too... there's more of that kind on the Dub Guerrilla album, but it comes from the trombone there.

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