I don't want to fool around for a long time and say right away: That's not a Dub Album. There are no echoes, hardly any reverb or other effects. This is by no means a journey through it Dub-Universe let alone a multi-dimensional sound flash in trip quality. But it's a nice, atmospheric instrumental album of a different kind - and I'm not in the position to call it one of the best releases so far of the drought 2020 in this regard.
We're talking about Nick Manasseh's new production, which he recorded with Praise. As far as one would like to believe the omniscient data garbage dump Google, the latter is an accomplished and sought-after violinist who has already worked with various greats in the studio and on stage. This makes it clearer in which direction we are moving here: To a different kind of clash - when string instruments meet reggae. This is not a sensation per se, nor is it new, as demonstrated by Cat Coore, Ras Divarious or numerous Sherwood productions. With "Manasseh meets praise“(Roots Garden Records) the two components enter into an almost perfect symbiosis.
On the one hand, this may be due to the producer Manasseh, who used his gentle but unshakable voice from the Earl Sixteen release "Gold dust“The familiar style continues: Acoustic guitars float over a lazy bass monster. Here Praise can bring himself in perfectly with multi-layered string recordings, so that sometimes the impression arises as if a string quartet played melancholy music for a film of this kind - as you can also see in the video for the track "Yes Mic":
I do not know why this particular piece was chosen for the promo video; In any case, my selling point would have been “London Babylon”, which is my highlight of the album with its melody and clever arrangement. Perhaps the choice was difficult because the tracks from “Mannasseh Meets Praise” make a wonderfully coordinated potpourri and ultimately look like one piece - even though the recordings took place over a period of almost ten years.
The album unfolds its greatest charm through its well-tempered sound. You seldom hear a reggae bass so comfortably soft, so deep and at the same time powerful, the highs are pleasantly reserved. In the mixdown, the violins (and sometimes a flute) are gently embedded; nothing screeches there, no sound is annoying - and yet one is miles away from being “ironed”. In the usual review self-experiment, I also heard this release in a continuous loop; it was never boring or annoying due to the repetitions - but it always revealed new nuances: in the sound, in the arrangement, in the (imo classical) melody.
If I finally had to sum up the qualities of the album in one word, it would be “subtle”. Not everyone will be comfortable with this assessment - hardcore Dubheads it could all be too lax. On the other hand, those who are open to nuanced acoustic sounds will like the album and the way it latently seeps into the subconscious.