Five Star Review

Dub Spencer & Trance Hill: Tumultus II

PINK FLOYD. An entire album screams Pink Floyd - and I love it from the first to the last track and back: "Tumult II“Is the name of the new release of Dub Spencer & Trance Hill, and I'm not so sure whether the categories "Dub"Or even" Reggae "are appropriate - both were always too narrow for the Swiss. The release info gives the predicate “more psychedelic Dub“- presumably for lack of better terminology, and the market is now asking for a drawer. One thing is certain: The gentlemen have mastered their instruments (I also include the "instrument" Dub) so good that you can use it to create not just simple music, but epic sound paintings. This requires the freedom not to adhere to the usual musical structures; not to rest in the eternal rhythmic repetition loop, to give the sound ideas time and space to breathe, to create or take up concepts at will and ultimately also the freedom not to give a thought to what is currently common on the market. The result was a number of great albums and an excellent reputation that even conceptual weirdnesses like "Riding strange horses"And"Christmas in Dub“Couldn't touch anything.

So here's another concept album that is more than ever beyond any Dub-Customs moved and perhaps precisely because of this a milestone in the previous oeuvre of Dub Spencer & Trance Hill is: Tumultus II, whose curious concept consists of nothing less than everyday life in an ancient Roman legionary camp. Troops march, armor and weapons clink and clatter, fanfares open the fight of the gladiators and we hear what other noise the ancient Romans were up to before they were allegedly beaten up by Asterix & Obelix. The Swiss Vindonissa Museum has reproduced and recorded all these ancient sounds as part of his sound workshop Tumultus and combines them with modern sounds - this time with that of Dub Spencer & Trance Hill.

House music: Dub Spencer & Trance Hill & the Romans (© Museum Aargau)

The concept could have gone really wrong - for example in the form of a flat musical Alberto Uderzo and René Goscinny comics. The above-mentioned fanfares come close to the dangerous, but the rest of the estimated hundred sound samples were alienated, placed in loops, with Dub-Effects edited and perfectly embedded in a musical journey flawlessly produced by the band's keyboardist Philipp Greter, which covers all Dub-Platitudes is sublime. Sometimes, however, the question arises to what extent the album concept has been taken into account - especially since the manipulated background noise works independently of it and could serve as a soundtrack for many stories. 

Musically, “Tumultus II” can be described as extravagant in the best sense of the word: Messrs. Trance & Hill take their time. You not only notice this in the duration of the tracks, where you develop a musical idea for almost 15 exciting minutes and present it in the most varied of timbres and rhythmic facets. The musical structures and arrangements are so finely interwoven that even after listening to it a hundred times I can't say for sure when one track ends and the other begins - apart from “Gladiator”, which is the exception with its flat fanfare intro. So if “Kopfkino” is mentioned in the accompanying text for the album, one can only agree with that: It is an adventurous, almost meticulously planned trip to a wide variety of musical destinations that I don't want to fix for myself. 

To come back to Pink Floyd: You have exemplified a lot of what has been described here - of course more epic and theatrical, but I certainly dare to compare: Excellent musicians, enormous inventiveness, great implementation and execution and excellent sound here and there; Also, both combos make only minor concessions to the market and radio listening habits at 03:30 minutes. All of this becomes all the more remarkable in view of the size of the production budget available. The latter could turn out to be unexpectedly positive if, in contrast to the state-of-the-art-high-tech glossy albums by Pink Floyd, the relatively dry and timeless sound of Dub Spencer & Trance Hill is aging much more gracefully.

So if “Tumultus II” isn't really as reggae or Dub-Release is tangible, what is it then? Simply an excellent musical work that - to calm everything Dubheads - of course with a lot Dub- Effects and laid-back rhythms á la One Drop await. At the same time, there is so much more to discover here - other artists would probably use all these ideas to fatten up several albums. Not so Dub Spencer & Trance Hill, and therefore two thumbs up for this impressive release. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

11 replies to "Dub Spencer & Trance Hill: Tumultus II "

Yeah ... I also love this album after 2 runs! And best of all: I'll be there tonight at the Vindonissa Roman camp at the record baptism! As always, it will be an unforgettable experience. Especially with Umberto Echo at the mixer!

It's going to be an interesting gig, Philipp. Maybe you would like to comment briefly afterwards how it was?


Actually, it is still far too early for me to make a halfway qualified comment about this album. I've only failed a few times and everyone - I'll call it that DubTune - listened to a maximum of once. Once again it is a journey of discovery in which you discover something new with every turn and every new discovery is worth everyone
DubTune up again so that I can't wait to enjoy this album in peace and quiet at home. My buddy is not one of those now DubFan like me, he even manages to keep the radio on for a whole day without feeling the urge to "do Duke Reid". How often did I feel like throwing the entire contents of a Magnum Revolver into the boxes at the disco, and then enjoying the broken, hanging cables, which now and then have a flashing short circuit at their stripped, dangling ends cause, which in turn generates this strange hissing, which is not only called DubEffect, but what has actually already been used in one way or another. Very hidden, of course, and only visible to connoisseurs. But I digress. Where was I ? .... oh my buddy.
When my buddy is with me, he can't be calm and enjoy the music to the fullest. His urge to tell me something is just a lot higher than my urge to write a comment here from time to time. In other words, a lot has to come together for him to pause and focus fully on the music. The last time I managed to get him calm and irie was with DUB SPENCER & TRANCE HILL. This also speaks for the high quality of
just those. High grade music!
It will certainly take a while until the album has developed so far that I am going to do it again here. But the fact is, I have to have the THING !!!
My favorites so far are "Contubernium", "Scutum" and "Campus", although the other "DubTunes ”does not want to devalue it. But I still have to find out whether I find them "only" interesting or whether they will still send me into psychedelic ecstasy. If everything goes normally, I'm already looking forward to the psychedelic ecstasy !!!
That's why I find the drawer “more psychedelic Dub" very suitable. Which I would like to say right away that I don't find the creation of drawers as bad as it is often portrayed (because of drawer thinking and such). I only have good things in my drawers, such as CDs and everything else that contributes to the “healing of nations”.

So I would say always with the full drawers …………………… lemmi

“… If, in contrast to the state-of-the-art, high-tech, glossy albums by Pink Floyd, the relatively dry and timeless sound of Dub Spencer & Trance Hill is subject to a much more dignified aging. "

Contradictio! Pink Floyd albums like Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals on par with Tumultus II by Dub Spencer & Trance Hill? Lighthouses of progressive rock music that are 47 to 42 years old and are still recognized by almost every child today. Even with music connoisseurs who are mainly at home with classical music. Can be used in planetariums to underline constellations, travel through galaxies, etc. To be found among the best 500 albums ever to be compared with Tumultus II is almost sacrilege. If these albums haven't aged gracefully, then I don't know either. I'm pretty sure in 40 years no one will talk about Tumultus II anymore, even though it's more of a good ambient than imho Dub Album is.

Semper vivamus, semper fidelis, semper tutum!

Now come schoooon!

I found (think) Pink Floyd not bad either. But it's just progressive rock music ;-)

Gegen Dub it just doesn't work ;-)

Listen to you "Dub Side Of The Moon On ”. It is important to have the right version! The remixes of the DubChef a la Adrian Sherwood and his globally recognized colleagues. Only through the right one DubWizard the music gets really high. Until then, Pink Floyd was always okay, but now I need it Dubs and nothing else.

If you are one of those who don't find my humor funny in the least, save your eventual "shit storm". I won't read here again until Monday.

Basically, you can save yourself that entirely. I didn't mean to hurt you! From the point of view of a person who DubVirus was not infected, your "contradictio" may even be the only logical consequence, but - in this case I speak specifically for myself - here is now Dub On the top. Surrealism is hip here and Pink Floyd is just too normal. Normal nice music. As someone who has always been very fond Dub heard, I've often dared to ask what is actually "psychedelic" about Pink Floyd. Dreamy but maybe a really cool psych strip doesn't go off there.

"Dubbing Dubbing Psycho, Music Thriller, Music Killaaaah "
"Dub Me crazy Dub Me Mad "
"I Am A Mad Mad"

Happy Weekend and take it easy ......................... lemmi

Au contraire, Cornelius. :)))

While you are talking about the quality of the music itself, I am talking about the quality of the sound - in other words, to what extent the possibilities of studio technology were used to manipulate sounds. I don't mean field recordings and various sound effects, but the musical instruments themselves. The simplest example: the extreme greasing of a snare with reverb - like 1980's, like Momentary Lapse of Reason, such a datable, non-timeless sound.

The creative / artistic / musical quality of Pink Floyd should be beyond reproach; also that they - seen in the respective temporal context - were an extremely fashionable combo in several ways. Nothing bad per se, I would think.

And finally, one shouldn't forget: We don't know what will be in 40 years - but we know that this review is nothing more than my subjective point of view.


18.09.2020, Dub Spencer & Trance Hill, live on Legionärspfad Vindonissa, record christening, premiere and denier at the same time, a unique show!
Okay, first of all, my concert review is purely subjective and I'm thrilled! A revelation time, a trip (almost no drugs)!
Whether this is due to the prolonged lull in the concert due to the Covid-19 measures or simply to the good, personable, almost spiritual performance of the four Dub Spencer & Trance Hill heroes, I am unable to say. In any case, I am still full of happiness hormones and my body feels really good after this "dance".
The four were convincing musically and sound-wise and with Umberto Echo they had a master of his craft at the mixer. The sound was perfect!

The whole thing started with a fanfare, played by a guest musician in legionnaires' clothing and skillfully alienated and tuned up by Philipp "Fibu" Greter through reverb, delay and various filter devices! Then there was a lot of bass and groove ... Live the band has a lot of driving moments, already slightly tending towards Goa trance, which animate even the biggest dance grouch to expressive dance in extreme form. These driving moments are extremely skillfully arranged with melody lines, effects, drum breaks and synth or guitar arpeggios, so that the dancer who is listening is never bored. The whole thing never seems monotonous, but lives and bubbles and surprises with rhythmic, melodic or stylistic twists, for example when it suddenly turns back into a deep offbeat-pregnant Dub-Reggae beat changes, and after a skilful increase that ends in a madness break, go on again with full bum-chack-bum-chack!
Also the introduction of the approx. 5th piece between Julian Dillier, who performed rhythmically and percussively with Roman chain mail, helmets, swords and various antique-looking cymbals or gongs and Philipp Greter on various effect devices, synths and a KaosPad was extraordinary, almost experimental, but always very groovy and danceable ... here, too, after what feels like five to ten minutes, the bass and guitar skilfully join in, and then explore other spheres again together with the drums. Markus Meier's sometimes jazzy guitar tone sequences and cluster sounds are always a pleasure in a class of their own, and how he sometimes sits in front of his jungle of effects devices and presses and turns more on the individual devices (than on the guitar), around the sound of his electric guitar through the air hunting is just fun listening and watching. The four of them obviously have fun themselves and that gives a very positive vibe that spreads to the audience!
If you ever have the chance Dub I highly recommend seeing Spencer & Trance Hill live (and I've seen them many times and go back again and again and it was never the same or boring twice ... on the contrary, the band and their sound are continuously developing and the musicians are interacting with a sleepwalking certainty that is second to none. From a (hopefully soon to come) future album the band has the chilli todaydub played as a premiere ... and I've heard rumors that it will actually be more driving on the record in the future (this reminds me again and again of the unfortunately no longer active band Tratosphere, in which Julian Dillier also excelled on the drums. And finally, of course, I have to Masi Stalder also wind a little wreath on the bass, because his ingenious and fat basslines hold the whole thing together and form a perfect foundation and groove together with the drums as much as they can ... simply top class!
Ah yes, the event was limited to 80 listeners and sold out in advance! Fortunately, there was NO mask requirement, although the event took place in a spacious barn and I only saw 2 or 3 mask freaks, so from this point of view, too, very personable and refreshing!

woah, Philipp ... impressive gig review, thank you - I've never seen DS&TH live myself - and it will probably stay that way for a long time, I'm afraid.

I find it interesting that Tumultus II has just been released and that there is already talk of a next album - you probably spend more time in the studio due to the lack of gigs.

I wonder what would happen if the masters of the classic Jamaican basslines would take on and develop their own thing based on it. That would also be a concept… dismantling roots classics for an album and putting them back together again piece by piece. Just sayin ';-)


If at some point (when all this Covid-19 bullshit is hopefully forgotten again) you have the opportunity to see DS&TH live, I definitely recommend it ... I've seen them very often (can't keep track of counting, but is definitely around 20-30 times) and still go back again and again because every gig is unforgettable in its own way ... for example, I sang jingle bells loudly at a Christmas concert of yours in Baden last year, which is actually unimaginable, when I think about it ... and it is precisely these special moments that the gentlemen generate again and again!
And who knows, I think the four of them read along with ... your idea of ​​a concept album that takes on classic Jamaica reggae basslines would also be very attractive to me as a lover of good "old" basslines ...

Monday morning and I have to read here how nice the weekend could have been.
Great report from the concert and the description of the music makes me really sad. Because I wasn't there. Somehow I live too far north, too close to the ass of the world (North Pole). You have already been here and I've had the pleasure of seeing you live a few times. So I know very well that Philip's enthusiasm is "not played". And if they read here every now and then, I would like to take part in the “small work assignment” right away, because I know the Jamaican basslines
continue to feel as the measure of all things for all eternity. (Pink Floyd is far from here).
But that could already create the misunderstanding that the basslines have
from DS&TH leave something to be desired. Not at my place. For example, I think the bassline of "Edmund" and the whole thing Dub still world class and ask around here:

"You still don't have it in your live program?!?"
My order for the next live concert is "EDMUND" !!! ;-)

Well and if not, of course I'm not angry either ……………………. lemmi

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