Matisyahu, ultra-Orthodox Jew from New York, was absolutely hype in the USA with his new album "Youth" at the beginning of the year. A Jew with a long beard and a black hat who plays reggae and cites Bob Marley as a great role model is indeed always worth a story. So it is not surprising that his person is at the center of media interest and not his songs. With the best will in the world, they would not have deserved it either. Because, although the album by Bill Laswell was produced, it did not stand out musically from the average of American pop music. To call it a reggae album at all would be daring, the songs get lost too much in uninspired guitar playing and moderately interesting beats - which could still be lived with if it weren't for Matisyahu's completely awkward vocals, which mercilessly dealt the album its death blow. But that Matisyahu's band, Roots tonicthat she can be really good without her boss, she proves on her "own" album "Roots Tonic Meets Bill Laswell" (ROIR / Cargo Records), that (thank goodness) none Dub-Version of "Youth" is. On the contrary: After "Youth" climbed to number 4 on the Billboard charts and everyone was concentrating on Matisyahu, producer Bill Laswell and the three Roots Tonics Josh Werner (bass), Aaron Dugan (guitar) and Jonah David (drums) the calm and retired to Laswell's Orange Studios in Brooklyn and took a thoroughbred there DubAlbum on. And what one! It's hard to believe that these are the same musicians as on "Youth", because on "Roots Tonic Meets Bill Laswell" there is really good, powerful music to be heard. Instead of Matisyahu's little voice, the bass sets the tone here. The heavy and at the same time melodiously swinging bass lines roll wonderfully powerfully out of the speakers and lay the strong foundation for guitar and mix, while the drums set precise beats either in a slow one-drop or in a tight stepper march. As tight as these rhythms may be, the joy of playing of the three musicians is unmistakable - the momentum of their groove must have inspired them too. Bill Laswell is also showing his best side. His mix is perfectly dosed and sets well-considered accents instead of randomly applying effects to all instruments. Apparently he knew that he could trust the playing of the three instrumentalists. Laswell therefore relied on a classic old-schoolDub-Mix that sometimes sounds a bit like early Adrian Sherwood productions. He doesn't even touch the bassline. It runs through from the first to the last track without interruption. The drums were mixed extremely dry by the master - just as the Americans love it (which, by the way, occasionally gives the sound of the Dub Trios comes very close), while guitar and keyboard mostly swim in a lake of reverb and echoes. Laswell - clearly satisfied with his production - summarized the result of his work with Roots Tonic as follows: “A futurist space /dub transmission in which the spirit of Roots Radics, Sly & Robbie and Scientist gets re-electrified and blown to new proportions. “What else can you add to that?
At the same time last year, the furious album “Don't Stop Dub" from Dude presented. He presented himself as a representative of the hardcore variant of the classic 90s UKDub in front. Brute, electronic basslines, stoic drum machines and reverb-soaked synthie offbeats characterize his sound. Kanka also uses this style on his new album "Alert" (hammer bass / nocturne) consistently continue. In straight "Four To The Floor" - and for Dub maximum permissible top speed - he stomps through his tunes and lets it rattle and thunder all around. Kanka is tough: Warrior Style! And it's fun to see the good old 90s sound so consistently saved into the present day. Despite the photo on the Hammerbass website - judging by the fact that children's songs were sung to Monsieur Kanka in the 90s - his biography claims that he played in a reggae band in 1997 and had around 200 concerts. That should have been enough to familiarize him with the sound. He retired to his living room studio and tinkered his first solo in 2003DubAlbum together. Solo in the truest sense, because Kanka played all the instruments (drum machine, keyboards, bass, brass) himself (although - actually these are all just one instrument: the computer ?!). In 2005 the already mentioned “Don't Stop Dub"And now" Alert ", on which he works for the first time (on three tracks) with a vocalist: Brother Culture from Brixton. By the way, he does his job very well, because his three songs are really good. His “Town Get Vile” in particular is a real catchy tune - a song in which he tells of parts of the city that tourists (better) don't dare to venture into. In addition, a distorted bass hammers notes into the ear canals, which emphatically underlines Cultures' warning. To be on the safe side, this album should only be put on after the first coffee.
Now for the revival selection, back to 1977 as Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes the Dub-Album "Reckless Roots Rockers" (Wackies / Indigo) published. He had only recently moved from Jamaica to New York in the Bronx and had these recordings in his luggage. They were from 1974-75 and were recorded by the Soul Syndicate band in King Tubby's studio. So they don't sound like the typical bullwackie productions, even though Barnes mixed them in New York. Compared to the warm, mystical Wackies sound, they are far too dry and spartan - but no less interesting. Surprisingly, the ten tracks also include a vocal tune by Jah Carlos (Don Carlos of course), who was also recorded and voiced in Jamaica. "Prepare Jah Man" is a strong song about an almost even stronger rhythm that later became famous in the showcase version of the song "Moses" on Wayne Jarret's legendary "Bubble Up" album. There are also other rhythms that the Wackies collector should be familiar with as vocal versions, such as Joe Morgan's "Basement Session" or "I Belong To You" by Love Joys. So all in all a nice, if not very typical Wackies album