Review: Blimey, if this isn't major meeting of musical Midas minds then we don't know what is. Alter Echo, E3 and Headland all collaborating with legendary dub flautist Diggory Kenrick. "Temple Duel" sets the scene in deep underground chambers, untouched by the sun. Reverb space is our only guide and ritual combat is the only way out as we make our way through subsonic 808 bass foundations, a near-industrial mid-range bass guitar groove, stiff snares, stick-fighting percussion and Diggory's torchlight melody. A truly fluid hypnotic narrative that arcs through the dark, if you're looking for an even foggier route flip for "Temple Dub" where the torch is extinguished and you have nothing but your sonic wits to take you home. Only Diggory knows if you make alive or not...
Review: Main man Echo Ranks brings his meditative messages on "Politician" above some heavyweight and decidedly modern dub from Dubbing Sun on Moonshine. Such conscious messages will always make their mark when delivered on a decisive dub - the hits are fresh, the bass has that swagger and the whole mood is shady and nocturnal. Small Town offers a tricky "Dubz Roots" version while Radical Guru offers more broken beat and destructive remixes on the flip-side for when you need to rip the floor apart. Add in those warrior leads and you've got a real standout dub.
High Life (feat Kazam Davis & Exile Di Brave) (3:46)
Dub Life (3:29)
Review: Irie Ites Music always come correct when you need some heavyweight sounds to feed through your sound system. This latest one sees Dubmatix lay down a stepper's riddim with a deep bassline that rumbles on for days. Kazam Davis and Exile Di Brave both feature to drop some raggedy arsed chants on "High Life", then things get more colourful and psyched-out on the flip thanks to a knob-twiddling and vital dub mix from Dubmatix. Bass doesn't come much heavier than this one, so snap it up and get it dropped.
Review: Eastern Roots have built up a small but well formed discography since debuting 2012. It was in 2018 that this particular wax first landed and is now made available again during these red hot days of summer 2020. "Signs Of The Times" is a playful and mysterious jam which is in no hurry to go anywhere, instead looping the same flute lines up top and natty chords over hot-stepping drums. A meandering lead does eventually join the party and only serves to heighten to the trip. On the flip, two different versions strip things back in brain frying and dubbed out ways.
Review: Marco Marastoni and Michele Iemmi are the Dub Hunters and now they're back with another big catch that finds them play all their own instruments apart from the horns by Vale and kete drum by Crucial Rob. "Christopher Columbus" is a shiny dig dub with dub swells washing to and fro beneath big horn leads that are filled with playfulness. On the flip you'll find the more meditative "Melodica Versions" performed by Michele Iemmi, and both sides are primed for some big summer action.
Review: Berlin's master beat specialist, electronic dub pioneer, African music enthusiast, Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound member, and Hardwax co-founder, Mark Ernestus, is back with a new Ndagga bullet - and yes, that list was exhaustive on purpose. The myth of a man has turned his attentions from techno to African beat music over the last few years, and the releases have been amongst our favourites within the 'outernational' scene. "Lamb Ji" is as electric and magnetic as you'd expect, full of life and mystique thanks to its complex percussive patterns, hazy production, and lamenting tribal vocals - a super charger on the system. "Lamb Rhythm" is basically a version of the original; more dubby, more stripped-back and with no vocals. Powerful stuff, as always.
Stranger In Town (Gentleman dub club remix) (3:55)
Stranger In Town (Gentleman dub club dub) (3:56)
Review: Riddim Punks are still riding off the success of their huge remix of Chronixx's "Sell My Gun", but now return with more heat. This one was written with Jamaican/Canadian reggae superstar Exco Levi and touches on themes of cultural alienation, the Windrush scandal and immigration. The bass is blistering and the effects subtle yet superb. The enveloping sub bass is present and correct and ensures this one will do plenty of club damage. What's more, it is taken from a forthcoming album so keep your eyes peeled for that one.
Review: J Robinson's productions on his own WhoDemSound label are always worth checking, and his latest missive - a hook-up with storied singer El Indio - is no exception. Indio is in fine form on "Roadblock", adding seriously soulful vocals to a Robinson digi-dub riddum (think crispy machine drums, booming bass and jaunty keyboard stabs). As usual, Robinson provides two top-notch flipside versions, "Road Dub" parts one and two. The first of the pair is deliciously rhythm-focused, with various tape delay-laden vocal snippets and piano stabs flitting in and out of the sound space. If anything, the second part is even more spaced out, with lengthy delay trails flitting back and forth across the stereo field. It's our pick of the bunch, though all three tracks are strong.
Review: From their Jeri Jeri roots, Hard Wax maverick Ernestus's Senegalese drum ensemble work elevated to Ndagga Rhythm Force in early 2015. Sprinkling our collections with beautiful cosmic dub tech ever since, the troupe bring the 12"s together for a full album adventure. From the instantly distinctive percussive layers and thin glimmers of highlife guitars on "Lamb Ji" to the intense rolling drums and yearning vocals of "Jigeen", climaxing with the hi-hat-snapping "Yermande", the detail, soul and richness of this project is near matchless.
Review: If it's dub-wise flavours you're after, Mungo's Hi-Fi has always been a reliable source of dancefloor heat. On their latest album, the Scottish collective has joined forces with sometime Dub Mafia front woman Eva Lazarus, whose sweet singing, spoken word raps and patois-laden toaster chat are put to work over a range of sub-heavy riddims (think dancehall, dub, ragga, roots etc). The result is a set that flits between sweet, sultry head-nodders, surprisingly soulful skankers and more robust and aggressive club workouts. Highlights include a slick cover of Beats International classic "Dub Be Good To Me", the summer breeze of Kiko Bun hook-up "Light As A Feather" and the 21st century dancefloor madness of Max Romeo collaboration "Babylon Raid".