Five Star Review

Kubix: Guitar Chant (Deluxe Edition)

Even if you might think so superficially: Kubix is ​​by no means the son of Talentix, the "sickle maker" from Lutetia (Paris), who may be known to some from Asterix Volume V "The Golden Sickle". In fact, Kubix is ​​an extremely talented guitarist, producer and composer who founded his own label, Attik Productions, back in 2005. In 2015 and 2017 he won a Grammy Award as a guitarist.
Xavier 'Kubix' Bègue was born in 1980 in a suburb of Paris. Inspired by his father's guitar playing, he decided to learn this instrument as a teenager. After that he played relatively quickly in rock or reggae bands. His virtuosity on the Gibson soon led him to backing artists such as Barrington Levy, Lee Scratch Perry, IJahman Levi, Horace Andy, Ken Boothe, Mo'Kalamity and many others at the biggest festivals. A sought-after session musician, Kubix also played with some French reggae bands such as Meta & The Cornerstones and the Colocks, whose "Sur Les Sentiers Du Dub“ from 2013, unfortunately also in the Dubblog has not been mentioned at all. Another convincing proof that the French can do much more than just boring, monotonous steppers.

His first solo album "Kubix: Guitar Chant(Attic Productions) was released in 2020. In November 2022, five additional vocal tracks were added to the original eleven tracks and re-released as a deluxe edition. The main element of the album is of course the guitar, but Kubix really understood how to gather renowned musicians around them, who were all given enough freedom to prove their virtuosity and joy of playing. We hear Japanese pianist Aya Kato (Kymani Marley, Sean Paul, Mykal Rose, Meta & The Cornerstones ...), keyboardist Marcus Urani (Groundation) or even more surprisingly: The legendary bassist and singer of the Gladiators, Clinton Fearon, plays an example bass on Gladiators trademark track "Mix Up". On "Still Standing" with classic Nyahbinghi drums and "The Walk" we hear the legendary Vin Gordon on trombone (Bob Marley, Skatalites, Burning Spear...). Other notable guests on the album include: Eric "Rico" Gaultier (Faya Dub & Faya Horns) and Matthieu Bost (Bost & Bim) on sax, Manjul on percussions and Manudigital on bass.
The album was recorded between Paris (Wise Studio) and New York (Rift Studio) and brings together no less than 21 musicians. The recordings were directed by Fabrice Boyer alias Fabwize (Bost & Bim) and/or Sébastian Houot (Tu Shung Peng), who is also responsible for the mixing. To top it off, Jim Fox took care of the mastering at Lion & Fox Recording Studios. An incredibly beautiful album that also draws inspiration from Kubix's musical skills and experiences throughout his long career. Sometimes the guitar sounds like George Benson, sometimes like Wes Montgomery, sometimes like Ernest Ranglin.
In short: Anyone who likes jazz-heavy instrumental albums à la Monty Alexander and Ernest Ranglin will also click their tongues with relish at “Guitar Chant”. Once again a dated Dubblog masterpiece discovered much too late.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5 Replies to “Kubix: Guitar Chant (Deluxe Edition)”

The album is really beautiful. Every song has its own fascination. I didn't know Kubix until today. Thanks also for the nice tips in the text.

Very nice, there is so much material to be heard! But don't believe that this album is difficult and indigestible. On the contrary, it is full of subtleties, other layers that all bring something into the feat that is based on a very intelligent track list. This album is a real surprise. I'm really impressed.

"Mix Up" or "Bongo Red"?

Uh oh maybe I should wait a few more days and listen to the album 10 more times. Maybe today just isn't the day to really get into it. In any case, my spontaneous reaction is not in the direction of enthusiasm. Yes, I like Ernie Ranglin and I also have a couple of records by Monty Alexander, but with Monty in particular I need a jazzy form of the day in order to be reasonably receptive to his jazzy improvisations. At the latest halfway through each Monty album, the jazzy “piano tinkle” really gets on my nerves. And here, too, the spark ( at least today ) does not jump over immediately. I'm often overwhelmed by the very strongly jazzy musical feeling. Maybe I'm just not smart enough for that. Although it is more about physical intelligence than mental intelligence. Purely in my head I can recognize the quality of the music, but unfortunately not much good is happening in my veins and in my whole body. On the contrary ! "Grow Old By Your Side" is a good example of everything that drives me nuts in music. A percussion rhythm that is very difficult for me, but not groovy at all for me. Seems to me that it is more intended for the head than for a pleasant body feeling. Well, and I think by now it should be clear to everyone who has read a comment about playing the saxophone that I find this saxophone unbearable. This applies to both the melody and the sound, which almost sounds like a squeaky clarinet to me. Of course, the album also has a lot of good moments that even I can perceive, but I have to sum up for myself that I can do without them. An album that I would describe as too "overheaded". An expression I use here in Dubblog and I think this is very appropriate. Mind you, maybe Monday is basically not my jazz day.
Yes, and then an example of my perception of CoverVersions. "Mix Up" with and by Clinton Fearon and here with Mo Kalamity! Since I can't put it into words how different I find the versions of the Gladiators to this version here, I'll throw in "an" original version and let everyone feel it for themselves. ( This version is also a real hit for me )
and this is the crowning glory for me :

If I only knew Mo Kalamity's version, I might also celebrate it, but I hope I was able to provide a little more understanding with my audio samples.
It's always like that (at least for me). The original version is "always" the version that I first knew. If someone got to know and love Mo Kalamity's version first, they may be looking for that certain something in the Gladiators that they won't find there, but I've known and loved the Gladiators versions for so long that it's almost impossible will, there only Ansttzweise to go one better. It's also a tune by the Gladiators that I count among my all-time favorites and I consider one of the best reggae tunes of all time. So a cover version would not have been necessary – for me.

Ok...... but don't let me bring you down. I'm not into jazz (since Prince Fatty raised it to my level or lowered it)

Greetings…………………… lemmi

Ok, since I got involved with jazz-rock (Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Soft Machine, Chick Corea) or rock-jazz (Frank Zappa's "Hot Rats" or "Waka Jawaka") in the 1970s , I have acquired an ear that is still not alien to this music.

Here are a few examples of what makes me discover and hear Kubix' "Guitar Chant".

1. Deep Eyes: The dialogue between Aya Kato on piano and Kubix on guitar is actually reminiscent of Monty Alexander and Ernest Ranglin. N'est-ce pas?
3. Sunday Children: This freshness and this open theme, initiated by the saxophone, accompanied by the keyboards of a Marcus Urani and the guitar of Kubix breathes a jazzy spirit. The solos follow each other and end in one Dub with drums and bass.
4. Brand New Star: Here we hear complex harmonies of jazz combined with a reggae groove, which in turn is carried by drums and percussion.
5. Paris/New York: One can easily hear influences borrowed from soul and black music. In the last third of the track, I am taken to 70s rock with a banging guitar.
6. Sand & Salt: Kubix combines Cuban and Spanish influences with his classical guitar, to which Aya Kato's piano responds.
9: Grow old by your Side: The title reveals a clever mixture of world music, reggae and jazz.
11: Altitude: At the end of the musical journey. Basically, the piece consists of two parts.
Part A pays homage to XNUMXs pop culture (The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, etc.) - a crucial influence on Kubix.
Part B is meditative, Kubix plays Indian sitar and gives us a psychedelic musical experience.

The album is so incredibly versatile, and new doors of perception are opened with every listen.

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