"Felt". What connotations does this word have? Warmth, comfort, muffled sound, softness? "Felt" (Dubmission), that's the title of the new one DubAlbums by International Observer (behind which the British producer Tom Baily hides, who led the pop band "The Thomson Twins" in the 1980s). The music to be heard on it is the association of the title that has become sound; beautiful, melodious, warm, cozy Dub- "Songs". "Songs" because the Dubs “feel” like full-fledged songs without actually being able to hear vocals. They are artistic compositions in which every note, every beat seems to be carefully weighed and balanced. Everything flows, bubbles, rolls - infinitely relaxed and yet extremely exciting. “Relaxed” not “shallow” !: The felt-stuffed basses hum powerfully in the 44-heart cellar and the suction effect of the syncopated beats sucks ears, head and stomach inexorably through four-four time. There are interspersed melodica melodies, sounds of an acoustic guitar, contrapuntal percussions, accordion harmonies or the many other, sparingly but effectively used melodious ingredients that make the music seem so relaxed. Tom Baily understands Dub not just as a sound, but as a complex musical structure that needs to be perceived with both gut and head at the same time. It is an example of the art of making complexity appear light and simple. Everything is evident, self-evident, clear and consistent - in one word: perfect!
Evolution continues - with natural selection: "Evolution of Dub, Volume 4, Natural Selection "(Greensleeves). After Greensleeves started the series with the Joe Gibbs production "Dub Serial ”opened in 1971, the fourth CD box is now dedicated to the visionary producer and his brilliant sound engineer Errol Thompson.
The selection begins in 1976 with the album "Joe Gibbs & The Professionals: State Of Emergency" which we 10 enjoy Dubs presented in a loosely played “rockers style”. Garnished with beautiful brass melodies - what the tracks are more like instrumentals than after Dub can sound. Classic riddims such as John Holt's "Up Park Camp", Jackie Mittoo's "Our Thing" or "Heavenless" are cited here. Every melody is suitable for humming along and the militant rockers drum style lets the music fly - I have to admit that I really like the sound of this time. After the rather dry Bunny Lee productions, reggae now gets a certain swing and the rhythms start to roll again - whereupon the “Mighty Two” (Gibbs & Thompson) got along splendidly. By the way: The cover, on which Jamaican security forces search three alleged delinquents, was allegedly quoted in 1977 by The Clash for the album "White Riot".
Album two of the box - “Majestic Dub"From 1979 - was always overshadowed by Gibbs' famous" African Dub"-Series. Wrongly, as it shows here, because the album contains some really remarkable pieces. It's very different from “State Of Emergency”, it's a real one Dub-Factory with scaled-down production and classic Dub-Mix. But Joe Gibbs managed, as always, to arrange his tracks so that they didn't sound too empty or too minimalistic. This was not least due to the fact that he was not afraid to insert modern (and unusual) synth sounds, while Thompson, who was gifted Dub-Mixer, living out his love for samples. The latter is probably responsible for the completely unsuitable, but in its electronic strangeness also typical intro sample from Donna Summers "I Feel Love". Of course, well-known riddims and Sly Dunbar's light-footed drum style are used here again - but who would mind?
A further leap into 1984 leads to the inevitable, namely the “African Dub“Series, of which the less well known fifth chapter is brought to our ears. Released long after the previous four chapters in the series, it hit the market when Dub was already on her deathbed in Jamaica. The sound had changed a lot: instead of “Rockers”, “Dancehall” was the defining style. The pieces were correspondingly slow, heavy and bass-oriented. We get on straight with “Full Up”, shortly afterwards encounter “Heavenless”, “Taxi” and other classics. Nice melodies, rich sound, good mixes - the best in my opinion Dub-Set the box.
But album four is still waiting for approval: "Syncopation" by Sly & Robbie and of course produced by Mr. Gibbs. It closes the box, even though it dates back to 1982, two years before “African Dub Chapter 5 ”was created. As a friend of old Sly & Robbie recordings, I put it in the CD player before the other three - but it disappointed me! On the one hand, because Robbie's bass can hardly be heard - unbelievable! On the other hand, because the rhythm twins gave free rein to their sometimes not entirely stylish penchant for pop songs. So we come z. B. Enjoy the Beatles classic “Ticket To Ride” (garnished with a borderline rock guitar solo) or Leo Sayer's “More Than I Can Say”. In between there is also “decent” material: on “Space Invaders” and “Laser Eyes” we hear Sly's typical syndrum shuffle rhythm for this time.
As usual, there are detailed liner notes in the booklet of the box, which in the first part describes the evolutionary history of the Dub continue and in the second part refer to the history of Joe Gibbs in minute detail.
The return of Dub Spencer and Trance Hill! Two years of work was done on the new album, now it's finished: "Riding Strange Horses" (Echo Beach). The supposedly Italian duo, which was actually a Zurich trio (around bassist Marcel Stadler) and has now grown into a quartet, obviously takes the title literally and presents us mainly cover versions of songs from different genres. As is customary with Echo Beach, there are of course versions of The Ruts and Martha & The Muffins. In addition, we hear (in this context) real “strange horses” that are being ridden here, like z. B. Metallica, deep purple or gray area. This is occasionally accompanied by short vocal passages by Lee Perry, Robin Scott, WS Burroughs, The Catch and others. This makes it clear that we are dealing here with a great rock remix, with an echo chamber that consists of rock- Classics reggaeDubs makes. What is fascinating is that the Swiss guys use the same instruments as the rock greats in the originals. And that is exactly the USP of Dub Spencer and Trance Hill: They actually play rock with a reggae offbeat - which, acoustically, is very similar to the New Yorker "Dub Trio ”brings. Groove, timing and one drop are all right, but there are sound and arrangements that cannot deny their reference to rock. I wouldn't be surprised if everyone DubEffects would also be played live so that the music avoids exactly what Dub what really matters, namely the creative processing on the mixer. The result is idiosyncratic and fascinating - as long as you don't have any problems with hooklines like "Smoke On The Water".
Finn the Giant is a Dub-Producer from Malmö, Sweden, who won the “Heavyweight Roots Dub Reggae ”net label“ Giant Sounds ”(giantsounds.com). Now the time is ripe for the first real, physical CD release: "Dub Pon top“(Import). 14th DubThe giant has gathered s here: powerful steppers beats whose digital origins are unmistakable. Occasionally there are sprinkles of melodica or torn synth melodies, but the main focus is clearly on the basic rhythms, which progress in stoic, meditative rhythm. Finn managed to vary the beat and build melodic and varied riddims. But as inspired as the riddims are, the sound is unfortunately not. The tracks are mixed dynamically so that the groove is right. But Finn doesn't manage to eliminate his synthetic and somehow "tight" sounding studio sound. His Dubs could use a lot more space and space. Let's hope that the proceeds from "Dub Pon Top "will be enough for a new mixer ...
After the melodic reggae basslines, there is now an excursion into the technoid booming bass spheres of the to blow your ears free Dubstep. With "Steppas' Delight 2“ (Soul jazz) another important inventory of the scene is available. 26 bass-filled tracks are literally knocked around our ears and rammed into the pit of our stomach. Track 1, “Grime Baby” by Gemmy, already makes it clear where the journey is going: into an angry bass inferno. If you turn this tune up too loud, you can pick up the scraps of the subwoofer membrane from the floor afterwards. Minimal but huge. In the course of the double CD sampler we also encounter less radical statements as well as some pleasant garage house groove, and we will also notice that Dubstep has meanwhile become more differentiated and has a larger stylistic spectrum. Which, by the way, can also be seen in the new names in the scene. Besides Benga and Appleblim, there are hardly any “veterans” here. But the young vegetables are doing a good job and we can look forward to the future of the genre with hope.
Another, more interesting Dubstep release is "Studio Rockers At The Controls“ (Studio rockers). On this sampler there are some reminiscences of reggae like z. B. Samples, wind melodies or entire reggae vocals. The 23 tracks are mixed together by Tony Thorpe and are largely from the archive of the studio rockers label. I don't remember hearing the name Tony Thorpe, but it's supposed to be for his Dub-Productions and has directed Massive Attacks Meltdown Festival as well as remixes for Amy Whitehouse, Erykah Badu and Lee Perry. Anyway - his parforce ride through the world of Dubstep shows a good feeling for bass and beats. If you want to undertake a first, vague excursion into the new genre, you can start here.