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Dub (Revolution Review

Dub Revolution, October 2002

The fact that Joe Gibbs and Errol Thompson produced some of the most beautiful reggae classics of the 70s should have been reminded again after the publication of the homage by Steely & Clevie. That Gibbs and Thompson, "The Mighty Two" but also excellent Dub-Versions of their hits are evidenced by the new Pressure Sounds album "Joe Gibbs and the Professionals: No Bones For The Dogs" (Pressure Sounds / Zomba) that is their Dub- Dedicated to works from 1974-1978. Four years with great hits like "Heart and Soul" by Leo Graham, "See Them A Come" by Culture on the heavy rock rhythm, "Burn Babylon" by Sylford Walker, or even, very big, "Two Seven Clash" , also from Culture, which is here a Dub-Treatment in a class of its own. Very exciting instrumental arrangements, funny samples (car races, barking dogs, shots etc.), sound-FX galore, reverb and echo and above all a virtuoso mastery of the sound are the most important ingredients of the DubVersions by Gibbs & Co. But these ingredients alone would have been worthless if Gibbs and Thompson hadn't had such excellent raw materials. Because a strong rhythm, well arranged, with a swinging bassline and possibly beautiful vocal melodies is a conditio sine qua non for a good one Dub Track. And so it is not surprising that the Dubs on "No Bones For The Dogs" which have survived 24 to 28 years since their creation and still sound as interesting and varied today as they did when they were created.

Let's stay with the classics: after the small one Wackies-Special in the last column, here are two more rereleases of Dub-Albums of the legendary American reggae label presented: “Jamaica great Dub Session" and "Natures Dub" (both: Wackies / EFA). Both albums impress with their melodic tracks and the incomparable and always fascinating Wackies sound. Mix-wise, the two works from the early 1980s are rather average, groove-wise, however, they are far ahead - which shouldn't come as a surprise when you know that luminaries such as Leroy Sibbles and Jackie Mittoo are jointly responsible for this. "Natures Dub“Starts off with a true Four To The Floor stomper you'd expect to be in the 1990s rather than the early 1980s. Producer Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes was happy to draw on the Studio One legacy (like everyone at the time), which gave his rhythms those wonderfully rolling basslines (and maybe even helped make his recordings classics too). On “Natures Dub“In any case, he offers us an unsurpassed minimalist interpretation of Rockfort Rock, almost completely stripped on pure drum & bass with fistling hi-hat attacks and sparingly used echo. Such tracks are likely to have induced the minimal techno producers Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald to re-release the entire oeuvre of the Wackies label. Thanks a lot for this! The sound on the “Super Dub Session “is softer and typical of the label's Lovers productions. Soft melodies and lots of reverb and echo determine the sound here. Above all, the drum sound from the Black Ark studio puts its stamp on the tracks. The arrangements are more lush and musical, occasionally there are even tentative brass sections.

From the Bronx it's now over to Brooklin, where the Clocktower label is based. House owner Brad Osbourne never had to deal with such little things as recording sessions or with reggae artists. He just bought complete session tapes from Bunny Lee and Lee Perry in Jamaica and mixed them into his own Dubs - which of course he also gave his copyright to. Now there are a few of these again Dub-Objects available: "Clocktower Records Presents Clocktower Dub" (Abraham / Import). Here are some scruffy ones Dub- Heard versions of hits by Junior Byles, Johnny Osbourne, Dennis Brown, Augustus Pablo and the Heptones, always mixed with recordings from Perry's Black Ark studio. Obscure, weird and idiosyncratic are the appropriate adjectives for this Dub- Best characterize the collection from the 70s. 

Since we're working on inclines Dubs are: "Hallucinogen In Dub" (Twisted / EFA) goes one better: A Dub-Ambient sound network that was undoubtedly created under the influence of small mushrooms. Spherical synth pads and colorful electronic doodles are the predominant stylistic devices here. They stand in exciting contrast to solid reggae grooves and rich basslines and make this work for reggae fans to consume. Some pieces sound like Dreadzone on drugs, others like Stockhausen on reggae. The listener should therefore have a certain tolerance towards musical experiments. However, after a brilliant start, the tracks usually calm down a bit and finally develop a more meditative mood. If you are open minded enough, you will have fun with this album - if you are not, the cover will put you off.

Since I am - without a doubt - open minded enough, I also got the album from Brain Damage, "Always Greener (On The Other Side)" (Hammerbass / Import) from France. Here, the listener can expect extremely slow, monotonous rhythms with a fat sound-FX set. Rhythm & Sound meets Wordsound meets Alpha & Omega - one could briefly summarize the concept. However, Brain Damage is less minimalistic than Rhythm & Sound, not as experimental as Wordsound and not as dark as Alpha & Omega. Nevertheless, the album exerts a strange fascination. The meditative mood, the limbo between disharmony and groove, the sluggishness of the bassline ... It is not easy to illuminate this fascination - and it is also not easy to get fully involved with the album. But if you do, you hear a lot: soft echoes of oriental melodies and Indian harmonies z. B. or mysterious scraps of words that emerge from the sound complex. The two vocal tracks with Tena Stelin also set two nice accents.

Let's stay in France, a music nation whose reggae and Dub-Create only slowly and very gradually becomes visible to us. The DubProducer and mixer Miniman is located with his self-confident French titled album "En Marche Pour Sion " (Age Of Venus / Import) on the way to the kingdom of the Rastas (like gentleman). His pounding steppers rhythms leave no doubt that he has mastered this path with a steady pace. The whole album appears like a deja vu from the 90s, Disciples, Rootsman and Zion Train send their regards. But that doesn't seem to bother Miniman: He doesn't care about the current trend in business, he doesn't care about attracting buyers outside of the French reggae community and he doesn't need strong guests to voice his tracks. He just makes his music - uncompromisingly and consistently. What is to be bad about it? So it fits only too well that he has his picture taken in his Ikea bedroom studio. You have to have that much self-confidence!

The Groove Corporation from Birmingham, on the other hand, stands for the modern club sound of the Dub, which incorporates the diverse influences of electronic music and is located entirely in the here and now. With "Dub Plates From The Elephant House Volume Two " (Different Drummer / EFA), pack yours for the second time Dub-Plate box and show where the status quo of the genre is at the moment. Their spectrum ranges from exciting crossover sounds (like "Clever Kid" to that like a Dub-Remix of the Gotan Project sounds) to trip-hop experiments and hard-hitting dance floor steppers rhythms. Diversity seems to be the basic principle at G-Corp, because every track has new arrangements, new sounds and new surprises in store. A property that is currently in the Dub is far too rare. They leave no doubt about the great potential of this genre and what its way into the future should look like. It is thanks to musicians like G-Corp that Dub has found its place in the dance of contemporary electronic music and asserts its unmistakable influences there. In this respect they are Dub-Plates of the Groove Corporation the exact antithesis to the tracks by Miniman: Modern club sounds with strong roots in reggae.

How strong Dub capable of influencing current club sounds is shown by the new album of the Thievery Corporation, "The Richest Man In Babylon"whose title makes it clear that it is not far from reggae. There are a few straight ones here Dub-Tracks that even the aforementioned corporation from Birmingham should be jealous of. Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, the two eclecticists in person, took good care and made their own Dub which they have embedded between wonderful lounge tracks with a strong world music influence. But only by the way. Let's turn to someone else Dub- Outsiders too: the Bad Brains. The dreadlocked punk musicians from Washington have with "I'n'I Survive Dub“(Reggae Lounge / Groove Attack) actually a flawless one DubAlbum submitted. Flawlessly ...? Not quite, because it can happen that brute guitar-punk sprinkles interrupt the moderate groove of the basslines and clear the ears without considering losses. Amazingly, it even works out quite well. The normal ones" Dub-Tracks are actually quite normal - apart from the fact that they are hand-played, which you can clearly hear, especially since the sound also sounds like a live atmosphere. Arrangements, instrumentation and Dub-Mixes stay pretty much on the carpet and some tracks should be played with a bit more punch. On the other hand, the brass section is nice, which is unfortunately far too rare in reggae today. Inevitably, the question arises with this album, who is it made for? Hardly for reggae fans, because then it should offer more. And whether friends of punk one Dub-Album, unfortunately, must remain an open question at this point. But if you listen to some hardcore dancehall productions, the boundaries between punk and reggae seem to dissolve anyway ...

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