“I've wanted to record songs for a long time that have great meaning in my life and inspire me. It was time to bow to a few handpicked artists, ”is how Paul Zasky describes the idea behind the new album by Dubblestandart. What sounds like a glorified retrospective has actually turned out to be a release full of content in many respects, venturing into roots pearls of the late 70s and 80s. Anyone who suspects the umpteenth Bob Marley cover is behind it will be surprised: This is where heavyweights like Matumbi, the Twinkle Brothers, Steel Pulse or Burning Spear are honored.
Zasky, mastermind and bass player of the Viennese formation Dubblestandart, this time also breaks new ground in terms of production technology - it is not for nothing that the album surprises with the title “Dubblestandart & Firehouse Crew Present Reggae Classics“(Echo Beach). Initiated by producer Devon D., the recordings with the Firehouse Crew took place in 2017 and 2018 in Kingston's legendary Anchor Studio. The result is one for DubA production that is very reserved and focused on the essentials, which is strongly influenced by the game of the Firehouse Crew.
“We didn't reproduce much or not at all in order to get the sounds as original as possible - this resulted in a very transparent sound image. Of course, the unique recording room at Anchor Studios also plays a major role; there you get a drum sound that just has the right roots vibe, ”says Zasky, who was less involved as a bass player than as a singer during the recordings. That too a surprise, set DubUsually blestandart on samples and guest vocals - for example by Marcia Griffiths or Lee “Scratch” Perry.
Who has been the subject of "Dub“Has missed, be reassured: In the best showcase manner, the corresponding vocal versions follow Dubs, mixed in Robbie Ost's Vienna GoEast studio. Here, too, there is an unusual reluctance: solid Dubs that live primarily from Danny Axeman's grooving basslines. More courage for a sound adventure would have been good, at least for them Dubs on the CD or streaming version of the album. The vinyl version of "Dubblestandart & Firehous Crew Present Reggae Classics ”, on the other hand, waits exclusively with rougher and a little more daring Dubs on. If you own a turntable, you have a clear advantage here (and the CD is free with the vinyl).
In terms of sound, there are a few complaints about the album; so the mids could be a little less concise in favor of bass and treble, but the omnipresent trend towards “hot mastering” can also be felt by reggae and Dub not withdraw. One or the other will notice George Miller's extremely dry sounding kick drum, but Paul Zasky treats himself to a more than extensive reverb bath for his vocals. You can, but you don't have to like that - but it contributes a lot to the characteristic sound of "Dubblestandart & Firehouse Crew Presents Reggae Classics ”.
The question remains whether Paul Zasky's album concept will work - even sung cover versions of heavy songs by 70s / 80s roots reggae icons with the Firehouse Crew as the backing band. A difficult task that only succeeds with some compromises - sometimes better (Twinkle Brother's “I'm No Robot”), sometimes worse (Johnny Clarke's / Culture's “Jah Jah See Dem A Come”), sometimes surprisingly well (Burning Spear's “Fly Me To The Moon "). The crux of the matter is Zasky's uncharismatic voice, which fails because of the overpowering originals and also the classification of the album in the Dubblestandart-Oevre makes it difficult: Is it a solo album recorded by the Firehouse Crew by the band's bassist or at least one of the collective Dubblestandart? Perhaps the better concept would have been to have an album entitled "Dubblestandard presents Reggae Classics in Dub“And thus embark on a great sound spectacle without reservation. In any case, it is mostly those who boom from my speakers Dubs - from the vinyl version of the album.