Sometimes they just appear like that - without notice, without warning. albums by unknown acts with cover artwork that is rather unusual for the reggae genre; the reviewer is unfortunately inclined to let such parts pass unheard in the streaming universe. Of course, you should never do that, as I did on Super Natural Sound's "Dub Tape Volume 1(Super Natural Sound) can demonstrate.
First thought: woah… Lee Perry's Black Ark studio? Already the first track makes it clear what's going on: Honest, handmade music, provided with instruments like in the olden days. That it goes so far that tapes, appropriate recording machines and various sound gadgets such as self-made sirens are used, I only find out later in the exchange with Aaron Sprague, the man behind Super Natural Sound.
“ Lee Scratch Perry was a big influence on my approach to working in the traditional style on tape with analogue equipment. My first release was actually a track I wrote and produced with Lee Perry in 2020. As the bass player for the New York roots reggae band Mosaic Foundation, I played a show with Perry and was lucky enough to record the song "Garvey Say" with him. I've been so influenced by Lee's style, the Black Ark sound and his spiritual approach that I'm trying to capture this analog one Dub- to keep the tradition alive.”
Aaron's present debut "Dub Tapes Volume 1” under the moniker Super Natural Sound is a collection of Dubs created in the past year. Contrary to the original intention of making timeless music, the instrumental recordings are sparsely sown Dub-Effects rooted entirely in the sound of the 70s. Joining forces here are Ranking Joe with the only vocal track and a wonderful melodica and bongo duo from Japan: Aki Mittoo and Goja Bongos. Mittoo's euphonious melodica is very different from the melody and playing style of an Addis Pablo or an Art-X; The instrument is wonderfully embedded in the mix and never intrusive.
There are also two drummers from Los Angeles and Israel, with the latter providing an extra portion of punch and slightly lifting the recordings towards the 1980s. Sprague does the rest of the instrumentation himself, completing a blend of many cultures and styles brought together, as he puts it, "by a love of reggae."
"Dub Tapes Volume 1” is intended to be just the first of many more albums from Super Natural Sound; ready-recorded vocal tracks, which will be presented by various female singers, are already waiting for the release. "Working with the different musicians drives me and always allows me to create something new," says Aaron Sprague. “I make sure that Super Natural Sound's music is positive, full of love and good vibes. The analog recording technology is helpful here and helps to preserve these vibes in the best possible way. After all, music is medicine, and I also support the healing effect with sounds for which I build my own instruments. All my equipment, which is older than me - from the 60s, 70s and 80s - plays a big role in this. I love the sound of that time and I want to spread it with my work; But above all I want to make music that I want to hear myself. The "Dub Tapes Volume 1" is just the beginning - the Super Natural Sound studio still has a lot up its sleeve."
There is nothing to add; the man knows what he is doing and what he wants to achieve with it. Respect for the handmade music based on an old recipe and also for the fact that he doesn't just go through the whole thing as an ego trip - quite the opposite: New York meets Japan meets California meets Israel, and it still sounds like a piece. LSP lives on - in all the musicians he inspired. "Dub Tapes Volume 1” bears witness to this.