When the fashion label Stüssy celebrated its 25th anniversary three years ago with a nice reggae collection, they hired the freelancer Mike Pelanconi (who gave Lily Allen a "Smile") to produce a single that fits the fashion. With “Nina's Dance” Pelanconi delivered a nice, relaxed tune in the style of early reggae, which, contrary to expectations, brought it to some popularity in the UK. Inspired by this success, Pelanconi produced under the appropriate name "Prince Fatty“A whole album that could have sprung straight from the early 1970s: "Survival Of The Fattest" (Mr. Bongo / Cargo). Recorded with analog equipment and recorded by some luminaries of the British reggae scene (Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie, Style Scott, Winston Francis, Little Roy and others) the album is a unique homage to King Tubby, Bunny Lee and the Revolutionaries. But as meticulously as Pelanconi copied the sound of the 70s, the songs are all originally his work - but this can only be determined if you listen carefully, because the sound quotes always convey the feeling of knowing this piece and being able to hum along that melody. Only at the moment when you purs your lips to whistle along do you pause and realize that these are brand new pieces and previously unheard melodies - even if Dennis Alcapone is doing his well-known toasts, the organ pulsates like Jackie's Mittoo, the guitar seems to be plucked by Ernest Ranglin and the brass section makes you think of Tommy McCook. The fat Prince (who is of course by no means fat) just succeeded in wonderful feel-good pieces, which are actually more instrumentals than Dubs are. In four cases there is even nice vocal accompaniment: Little Roy has taken on two tunes, Winston Francis one and Hollie Cook, the singer of the Slits (and daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook) gives the track "Milk And Honey" the right touch . Prince Fatty rules!
Jesse King! A super name. I don't know why Mr. King of all places is Dubmatix had to call. Maybe this should "Dub“Necessarily in the name because Dub is without a doubt the core business of the Toronto master. The son of a jazz and funk producer, Jesse experienced his musical awakening in the early 1980s when an exiled Jamaican gave him the record "King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown". From that moment on, Jesse King's life moved purposefully towards 2004 when he was his first Dub-Album "Champion Sound Clash" released. Then came "Atomic Subsonic" and now, finally, "Renegade Rocker" (7 Arts / Rough Trade). All three albums are characterized by very powerful, highly dynamic beats. The timing is right here, the offbeats are perfect and the one-drop makes the diaphragm shake. Mr Dubmatix knows how to screw together fat beats. "Renegade Rocker" is now the culmination of this art. Heard it out loud, the album simply blows you away. When music hits you, you feel no pain - fortunately! Many other Dubover would have made 16 albums from the 5 tracks, Dubmatix puts the material on a long player - and is not even satisfied with that Dubs alone, but also packs guest vocalists of the first guard on two thirds of the tunes! Linval Thompson, Ranking Joe, Michael Rose, Sugar Minott, Willy William, Alton Ellis, Pinchers and Wayne Smith take the lead in the studio. The result is an album that really rocks - reggaewise!
But released alongside the "official" albums Dubmatix also so-called "digital releases", which are available under www.dubmatix.com or can be downloaded from the iTunes Store (but more expensive here). The latest in this series is the album "Dread & Gold" (www.dubmatix.com) published. It gathers Dubs from 2003 to 2008. Some of the tracks hadn't made it onto one of the CD releases at the last moment, others were recorded specifically for live performances or radio shows. But anyone who thinks they will only find scrap here is wrong. Because the tunes are without exception good. Of course they are less elaborately produced and all instrumental - which is what makes them so attractive. The Canadian is much closer to the classic here Dubbut without the clichés of the UKDub to repeat. His tracks are full of ideas, no Dub is like the other and in terms of craftsmanship there is nothing to be desired. The material would easily have been enough for an "official" album. How nice that Dubmatix offers it to us for half the price.
Another digital release is the debut album by Dub Milan, "Dubville Chapter 1 "that under www.reggae-town.de can be downloaded for free. Dub Milan, who I don't know more about than what is written on his Myspace page, presents six nice tracks here. They're really exciting DubBut unfortunately not, especially the rhythms are a bit lacking. The mixes are too dry and the sound is too artificial. But it is interesting Dub Milan's attempt to build his "Bach rhythm" on the basis of baroque harmonies. I would have liked the baroque part to be bigger, but the track has its charms.
I came across a strange album while browsing the MP3 store: The Dub Club, "Soundsystem for All" (Soundsystem1 / download, e.g. iTunes store). A strange album because the omniscient network has no information about it. “Soundsystems for All” seems to exist completely unnoticed, somewhere in the sea of bits and bytes on the iTunes servers. I was probably just the first buyer of this work. It will probably not be the showpiece of my MP3 collection, but I wanted to hear it whole and in good quality because, yes, because it is quite unusual. The eight tracks on this album oscillate between the seemingly opposing poles of club beat, ska and Dub. There are fast ska-offbeats - fully electronic of course - club-like sound atmosphere and of course booming bass lines, samples as well as reverb and echo galore. Three or four tracks do not obey the fast ska rhythm and are pleasantly arranged Dubs with beautiful brass sections. In terms of sound, there is still something wrong here. One or the other track deserves a better mastering - an indication that “Soundsystems for All” is probably the living room production of an avid sound tinkerer and ska friend. Also, a few more pieces would have been nice, because the eight tracks only run for 30 minutes.
Already released at the end of last year (but only now downloadable), the album has it "Dub Harvest "(import or iTunes store) from McPullish not made into this column yet. The reason for this is simply that the DubIt's not really exciting. Somehow the groove is not right here, the arrangements are one-dimensional and the sound is quite a mess. McPullish aka Carson Hoovestol started in Seattle in 2002 Dubs to produce. He currently runs a studio in Texas, which probably has a lot of instruments lying around, all of which he actually plays by hand for his recordings. Basically, the album is the result of a one-man show, where Hoovestol does not use a computer or sampler, but plays all the instruments live (and usually uses the first cut). That should explain the deficit of the rhythms sufficiently. On the other hand, it also demands respect - not necessarily for the performance, but for the dedication with which he has dedicated himself to his music. But maybe it's not a blissful dilettantism that I'm implying on him here, but avant-garde, and I didn't notice it.