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The Dub Chronicles: Simba (Return to the Throne)

(This text has been machine translated.) In constant flow Dub-Sounds from all over the world, there are occasional productions that stick out like huge boulders. A quick sneak preview is enough to know: Wow, this is something special. Such a rock is the new album of Dub Chronicles: "Simba (Return to the Throne)“(Brothers in Dub). What a sound! Tight, crisp & heavy. "Two soldiers creating the soundscapes of an entire army" - as the two brothers from Toronto describe themselves. If you look at the YouTube videos in which Jonathan and Craig Rattos stoically play their riddims in solitary togetherness, you actually wonder how this army sound can be created with such limited resources. Craig plays the drums and Jonathan sits behind a keyboard on which he plays the piano, organ, melodica and - it is hard to believe - even bass.


The brothers from Toronto have been in my sphere of perception since their album “Kingston” was released in 2018. A year later followed "The TakeOver“Which I wrote enthusiastically about, it breathes the jazz vibe with every note. Now with "Simba" the brothers' third album is in Dub appeared and towers over the two predecessors - even though some of the Simba tracks are based on the recordings of "The TakeOver". Here as there, the jazz vibe is defining, as are the beautiful instrumental melodies. But the arrangements on "Simba" seem even "richer" and more harmonious and the sound even more dynamic. Perhaps that is also due to the third Rattos brother, Ryan, who contributed the guitar here as a guest musician. In contrast to the previous albums, there are also four vocal tunes on “Simba”, which, however, blend wonderfully into the instrumental sound and enrich the overall work with extremely beautiful melodies. By the way, the album is a showcase. The second is that Dub- Version of the first half - mixed by Casey Burnett. Interesting, but not essential. The only thing that really failed: The cover! A lion (with a crown!) In the sunset in front of Mount Meru? Okay, “Simba” was inspired by a Kenja trip by Jonathan (and, as is well known, “Sima” means lion). But does it really make sense to package the trio's idiosyncratic music in such a visual cliché?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

2 replies to “The Dub Chronicles: Simba (Return to the Throne) "

Very nice album ... beautifully laid-back, deep bass and wonderful dynamics. The "Lion King" cover ... well, kitsch-as-kitsch-can, but we've seen much worse. The main thing is that the music is right!

Today there is no reason for me to be in a bad mood and possibly to spread it. That's why I saved the comment on “Simba” for today, because yesterday I noticed straight away that there was a lot of good in it, but wasn't able to enjoy the good adequately. At the moment I feel more like hunting, tracking down and destroying pigeons. They coo me full every morning and even on Sundays. I'm already upset against it, so stop off topic!
The first thing that touches me is the sound of the album. Yesterday, too, I was immediately overcome by a pleasant feeling of acoustic warmth and physically palpable harmony. But that was exactly my problem yesterday. I wasn't ready for harmony. And that's why I almost wrote yesterday that the album didn't really reach me and that I would have started a shitstorm over the piano-bass, which might have sent me off the field or at least had to go back into the goal.
However, I have to admit that it worked really well here with the bass. Very often there is a cozy warm bubbling, which I always appreciate very much with the bass. “Normally” keyboard bass sounds way too boomy to me and somehow it doesn't vibrate properly in my head. This is much, much better here. But I wouldn't be the Lemmi if I were so ready to accept a keyboard bass as a “successful innovation”. What I still don't like is that you (or I) can't tell when the bass note actually starts. The bass lines blur a bit into one another. It is not a problem to recognize a bassline, but I miss the kick or the moment when you hear and feel, now a thick, strong finger has plucked the string. And as you can see, the bassline is played only once and then switched to repeat. With the generally usual repetitive bass lines this is quite feasible but of course this is only possible at the expense of a certain improvisation, which even a bass player likes to incorporate into his bass playing. Especially an Aston "Familyman" Barrett could hardly be replaced by a keyboard in this way. And that's exactly why I like to raise my index finger, because I don't want us to be fobbed off with replacement programs and inexpensive replacement parts more and more often. My dream line-up for a band still consists of bass man, drummer, rhythm and lead guitar, (keyboard), percussion (!!!), horn section with trombone,
Trumpet and (saxophone), whereby the whole thing is set perfectly in scene by the most important instrument of all, the mixer. In addition, of course, instruments such as sitar and / or benjo and / or accordion and so much more (like a thick beach shell, like with Burning Spears wind section) can be added.
But THE REGGAE - INSTRUMENT in general, THE BASS shouldn't really be replaced by a ridiculous keyboard. Even if it is admittedly not always noticeable immediately and, as it worked out quite well here, there is no support from me. Then more of a tuba, as I was allowed to experience at a Hazmat Modine concert, where the bassline was played by a tuba.
Anyway, Simba is a very fine album, I can't and won't say anything else, even if I'll wait in vain for it to set me off with an adrenaline rush.
I could now give the well-intentioned advice that you absolutely have to take up Kumar's voice a little quieter, because the man simply has an organ that pervades everything and everyone. However, from my point of view, they only made this “mistake” with “Pack your Bags”. With the other two tunes they didn't make his voice so loud as if they wanted to compete with VP Records at all costs.
Cover? As someone whose half of the apartment is decorated with pictures by Hans Werner Sahm, I'm used to kitsch and therefore have no problem with the cover. I would even say I like this part.

Lots of text, with just one key message: "Simba" I like it! …………………………………………… .. lemmi

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