Dub (Revolution Review

Dub Evolution, January 2008

"Dub Evolution "has been the title of this column for some time now (it used to be called"Dub Revolution"). Now there is finally the right CD box for it: The "Dub-Anthology " (Wagram / SPV), which bridges the gap from the 1970s to the present day and traces the evolution of the genre on the basis of 60 (!) Tracks. Four decades Dub on four CDs, whereby the 1970s and 1980s have to share one CD, while the 1990s are divided into “International Dub"And" French Dub“Find space on two CDs. The “New School” will then be presented in full on CD4. Of course, the world already has some anthologies of the Dubs seen - who doesn't know Rodigans "Dub Classics ”, the“ Rough Guide To Dub“Or the Trojan boxes Dub-Material from your own archives. But no anthology has attempted to trace the history of the Dub as comprehensive as the present box. Mostly the border is from the Jamaican old school Dub, to the Dub Revival of the 1990s not to be skipped - let alone a look at innovative productions of the present. This is different here: the journey through time and space of the Dub begins with Augustus Pablo's “Cassava Piece”, leads to King Tubby's “Belly Dub“And some Dubs by Sly & Robbie (also in the reincarnations of the Revolutionaries and Skin Flesh & Bones), then bypasses some rather absurd pieces, (some of which only play very little Dub have to do) to then go straight to the great - from the best Black Ark times - Lee Perry-Dub “Bird in hand” to hold shut. CD 2 then takes a big step into England in the 1990s and presents the usual suspects: Alpha & Omega, Twilight Circus or Bush Chemists. Instead of listing the compelling names like Zion Train, Rootsman, Rockers HiFi, Dreadzone, The Disciples or, of course, Jah Shaka and Mad Professor, the track listing with Rhythm & Sound, Oku Onuora, Burnt Freidman, Thievery Corporation or Tosca is impressive, but this one Context somewhat unexpected names. The journey continues to France, whose Dub-Scene the complete CD 4 is dedicated to. The reason for the detailed presentation of the French Dub-Creation is not because it is so unbelievably rich or style-defining, but simply because the "Dub Anthology ”was produced in France (and of course with a special focus on the French market). Nevertheless, the French CD is the most exciting so far because it is also for busy people Dub-Connaisseurs still hide new discoveries - or does someone already have from Ez3Kiel, Pilah or the Löbe Radiant Dub System heard? CD 4 belongs entirely to the present. The oldest piece is just 2 years old, the newest is (according to the information on the cover) from the year 2023 - it couldn't be more current. The time traveler will find mostly French names here (including the important protagonists of the French label “Sounds Around”, which is very fond of electronic music, Lena, Molecule, Roots Massacre). Then bring a little internationality Dub-Experiments like noise shaper, Dubmatix or Nucleus Roots come into play. Admittedly, if you were to write an official anthology of the Dub put together, then the selection of the pieces would look quite different. But it would be questionable whether this would be as much fun as the present CD box. The official version would of course contain all the really important classics, but - to be honest - who wants to hear them for the thousandth time? I'd rather have a few obscure but exciting French people chased through my ear canals.

The fine English re-issue label Auralux has again its weakness for Dub-Classic of the 1970s gave in and with "Dread At The Controls Dub"(Auralux / Rough Trade) an early one DubAlbum by Gussy Clarke republished. You read that right: Gussie Clarke and not Mikey Dread. The latter was supposedly "somehow" involved, but he didn't play an instrument, none Dub composed and above all: not mixed either. Gussie and Mikey were just friends - and with good friends helping each other, Mikey Gussie just borrowed his "Dread At The Controls" badge so that the album would sell better (according to Mr. Clarke in the very liner notes worth reading). Originally released in 1978, the album features 10 tracks, recorded of course by the Revolutionaries with (unmistakably) Sly Dunbar on drums. The rhythms are tight and the timing of the musicians is perfect. But what use is that if the riddims and the mix are too boring? Great producer, top notch musician and also a brilliant sound - but after 10 minutes nobody is listening anymore, because the tracks ripple smoothly and without surprises. Too bad.

There is "DC Dub Connection "(Auralux / Rough Trade) much more interesting. Behind the 10 recordings gathered here is the Heptones background singer Earl Morgan, who occasionally took a seat in the producer's chair in the late 1970s, recording albums with Earl 16, Alton Ellis and Stranger Cole. Interestingly, he didn't produce the rhythm tracks himself, but bought them from various producers. There are even two tracks by Lee Perry. It is precisely from this circumstance that the (sound-technically not so brilliant) album draws its charm: It simply offers more variety - which is not least due to the fact that Prince Jammy and Scientist have delivered beautifully inspired mixes. 

While the reggae industry is crumbling around the world, the German label "Inakustik" is trying a new reggae line. It starts with a Dub-Album: “Bebo In A Dub Style - Featuring Sly & Robbie "(Tafari / Inakustik). Originally published in 1985, the year of slang tang, “Bebo In A Dub Style “almost antiquated - if it weren't for the championship of the 1A session musicians of the time: Sly & Robbie, Robbie Lyn, Willi Lindo, Dean Frazer and Sticky, Skyjuce & Scully. Their timing is so precise, the rhythms are so tight and the sound so crystal clear that the recordings have something timeless about them. Actually, the only thing missing is the laziness of the Dub-Mixers Peter Chemist. If he had paid a little more attention to the controls on his mixer, then “Bebo In A Dub Style ”deserves its title and would probably also be a milestone in the Dub-History become.

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