"... One of the hardest dub albums ever released ”, says the Rough Guide To Reggae about the album "Dub I "by producer Jimmy Radway & The Fe Me Time All Stars (Pressure Sounds / Groove Attack). This statement is an excellent argument - about the fact that "Dub I was "one of the hardest albums ever TO GET", but there is no need for a discussion. Published in Jamaica in 1975 with an edition of only 300 copies, "Dub I ”as one of the first Dub-Albums in general - and an early work by master engineer Errol Thompson - something like the holy grail of reggae collectors. The chosen few, whose collection was crowned by one of the rare, remaining vinyl records on this album, now have to accept a sharp drop in the price of their assets, because Pressure Sounds re-releases that Dub-Album now perfectly remastered with five bonus tracks, the original cover and detailed liner notes. As a Dub-Connoisseur of the year 2008, knowing the long history of the Dub (even after 1975), the revolutionary new and above all the “hardness” of the album may no longer be revealed. You have already heard too much of this music, which is not lacking in innovations, you have had tons of heavy bass thrown around your ears and has been whirled through many an echo chamber. From today's perspective, the sound and the arrangement of "Dub I “somewhat conventional. In retrospect, however, one can understand why the dry, clear and straightforward sound, dominated by powerful brass, was perceived as revolutionary back then. If Radway's Micron label hadn't already been broke when the album was released, a higher circulation and a few promos in the mailboxes of Virgin or Island Records would certainly have secured Mr. Radway a place in the Reggae Hall Of Fame. It didn't turn out that way, which is why we are now more than thirty years late listening to the album and granting it the recognition it has been denied for so long.
How innovative Dub can be can be seen in the album "Kasbah Rockers with Bill Laswell" (Barraka) (to acquire z. B. via Amazon or iTunes). Under this title, the musician Pat Jabbar, who lives in Basel, has released an album with some artists from his Barraka label, the Trip Hop Beats, "Rai'n'B", Dub and combines progressive dance sounds with traditional Moroccan influences. Bill Laswell, who plays bass on 11 tracks, grooves here together with musicians and singers like Youssef El Mejjad from Amira Saqati, Abdelaziz Lamari and Abdelkader Belkacem from Maghrebika or Kadir & Erdem from the Swiss-Turkish hip hop crew Makale. It sings in Turkish and Arabic about the life of young Muslims in the western world - or exactly the other way around - the confrontation of the Islamic world with western influences. Incidentally, two tracks on the album, "Bledstyle" and "Shta", were selected by Ridley Scott for the soundtrack of his new film "Body Of Lies". You won't find proven reggae beats at the Kasbah Rockers, but the elements of Dub are ubiquitous. Laswell's heavy rolling bass in particular draws a direct connection to the Dub. Instrumentation, mix and arrangement do the rest. The mood of the music is dark, psychedelic and, last but not least, strange and exotic. An eventful, acoustic excursion into unknown territory.
In order to regain safe ground, let's listen to the new EP of Abassi All Stars, "No Answer" (Universal Egg / Import). Three of the four tracks are based on Mr. Perch's “No Answer” rhythm - an extremely fast steppers beat with the familiar synth sounds. But despite the now really more than worn sound, Neil Perch knows how to screw good rhythms together again and again and - perhaps his greatest achievement - to develop decent melodies. With Minoo, Omar Perry and Carlton Livingston there are three vocalists on “No Answer”, each of whom knows how to contribute a really nice song. Especially the refrain of the latter "I don't have the answers to all those questions" has an insidious catchy tune.
Let's stay briefly in the area of the well-known: Alpha & Omega lay with "Songs From The Holy Mountain" (Alpha & Omega / Import) a new (new?) album. To be honest, I lost track of the two Brits. A&O have remained so consistently true to their style since the 1990s that you cannot tell whether you are listening to new or well-known material. Somehow everything here sounds like deep jungle. The vocals, which are contributed by Paul Fox and Jonah Dan, are definitely new. The two hardly came up with much, so the second part of the album with the DubVersion that is actually interesting. Although I probably own all A&O albums from the last 15 years and have heard them many times, the mystical, dark sound enchants me every time anew. This explains why nothing really good can be said about “Songs From The Holy Mountain”, but I still recommend the album from the bottom of my heart.
The Wackies label, which is carefully maintained in Berlin, is with "Black World Dub"(Wackies / Indigo) a new old work by Bullwackie's All Stars was released. First published in 1979, it offers us DubVersions of reworking old (Studio One) hits like "Heptones Gonna Fight", "Guiding Star", "Skylarking" or "This World". We owe this selection to Leroy Sibbles, who directed most of the recordings on the album and of course also contributed the bass playing. The sound is typical of Wackies: warm, soft and rather fuzzy. Some tracks have little surprises in store, such as the breathtaking percussions on "Skylarking" or the interspersed syndrums on "Morning Star", which at the time were the sensational product of the latest Japanese technology.
Heartbeat Records has just released a nice album for the Revival Selection: Dub Specialist, "Dub"(Heartbeat / in-acoustics). Here you can find Dub-Versions of classic Studio One recordings - which of course is always nice. This time there are among others "African Beat", "Mojo Rocksteady", "Swing Easy", "Mean Girl" and many more. Nice scruffy sound, wonderful basslines, great melodies and all of this, of course, remastered and nicely packaged. What more do you want?
Finally, let's take a quick look at an album from Jamaica: Penthouse All-Stars, "Dub Out Her Blouse & Skirt "(VP / Groove Attack). "Dub from Jamaica “sounds good at first, but in this case it is not very spectacular. The only thing you can hear on this VP release is Studio One reworkings, which Donovan Germain produced for his Penthouse label in the 1980s and 1990s. Digital material in a sound that has unfortunately survived quite a bit and today, whether its simplicity, is no longer quite convincing. You can hear Steele & Clevie, Robbie Lyn, Dave Kelly, the Firehouse Crew and Steven “Lenky” Marsden. By the way, from the album you can immediately understand why with the arrival of digital music in Jamaica the Dub took his leave.