Review: African Nightlife is a pair of Dutch producers who cook up some intriguing and hugely original material back in the mid-nineties. Opener "4Rest" is a melange of drunken synths and hurried drums with tribal claps that sounds like little else, "Brubaker's Slide" and "Brubaker's Skank" is dub in the style of Adrian Sherwood, and closer "Make Up Your Mind" is a dark, pressurised and bass heavy rhythm detailed with myriad effects and percussive sounds that are bleak and otherworldly. That these tracks are all more than 20 years old is hard to believe because they still very much sound from the future.
AJ Franklin & The Inn House Crew - "Where You Gonna Run To" (feat UK Principal & Vin Gordon) (4:15)
AJ Franklin & The Inn House Crew - "Where You Gonna Run To" (feat UK Principal & Vin Gordon - version) (4:17)
Review: The Inn House Crew are well known instrumental reggae producers who have made Room In The Sky their regular home. Their second release this month is a tasty hook up with AJ Franklin, UK Principal and Vin Gordon. "Where You Gonna Run To" is a popping dub fleshed out with cavernous drums and bass that sit together perfectly. Synth details and hits spit out and horns drift to sooth your soul. The effervescing vocals version on the flip injects a dose of warmth to an already steamy cut. Another standout effort from this ever reliable crew.
Review: Alchemy Dubs pull out all the stops to celebrate release number 10 as they present - for the first time ever on vinyl - the aptly named "Alchemy" by UK dub legends Alpha & Omega. It's a flabby number that stomps and swings like an elephant. Distant vocals and intoxicating melodies weave in and out as the beat plumps on and takes you every step of the way with it. Ojah sorts out a heavyweight dub refix on the flip to make this an essential little purchase.
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: The always on point iNdicia Dubs invite you to get down to their latest riddim at the hands of Kibir La Amlak. Entitled '"Ancient Pulse" this new vinyl only missive has an enacting lead line that flutters away over this label's trademark drums: they are neon, steel plated, contemporary and do a good job of making you move. A tripper dub takes care of the A1 while on the flip there are even more whacked out versions with endless echo and reverb and natty keys, while "Divine Timing" is driven by a drilling bassline that burrows superbly deep.
Review: London sound system crew, live show and record label Kibir La Amlak, founded in 2009 by Jamie JT Thomas, has been busy of late, and the fruits of their labour are now shining through with a third EP on Indica Dubs in June alone. "Eye | Eye" is the most dreamy and detached dub of the recent run of offerings. It has almost nostalgic leads up top, shining bright on a summer's day while smooth bass shapes and wavy drum lines all sinking you into something of a reverie. Various iterations come from the other three dubs, meaning there is something for every mood and setting.
Review: Kibir La Amlak is coming on strong in June with not one but two new offerings on regular home Indicia Dubs. "Lion Step" is another fresh and forward looking four track 10" with a thoroughly futurist twist on the tried and tested dub template. The shimmering leads glisten like buildings in some high rise metropolis, while the snaking leads and stoner effects all add to the escapism. The titular track leads proceedings in slick fashion, while "Lioness Step" slows down to a more meditative pace, with swagger bass for company.
Review: Italy's Babe Roots crew show off their silky dub techno credentials here with a couple of immersive new singles. "Music Mission" (feat Galas) is a bottomless cut with warped bass rumbles and endless echo overlaid by a classic reggae vocal from Galas. "World Struggle" (Ambient dub) casts you free from the dance floor with its floating chords full of grainy greyness and cloudy tension. The EP highlight might be "World Struggle" (feat Danny Coxson), a heavyweight, slow motion dub with earth shattering kicks and a deeply buried low end oscillation that's detailed with thunder claps and a soulful Danny Coxson musing on struggle up top.
Review: Earlier in the year, Babe Roots broke free of their hypnotic dub techno roots and delivered an ambient dub-influenced re-make of Earl Gateshead's "I Come From Gateshead". Here the Turn-based crew continues to blur the boundaries between dub techno, ambient dub and digi-dub via a first appearance on nascent Japanese label Newdubhall. Baba Ras lends a hand on fabulous A-side "State of Mind", delivering hybrid spoken and sung vocals atop a deliciously spaced-out dub rhythm that owes much to the work of Basic Channel. Even deeper and more alluring is flipside "Extent", an exemplary ambient dub excursion rich in bluesy trumpet solos, pulsing sub-bass and drifting, ultra-spacey chords.
Review: The always excellently go slow and tropical sounds of Big Crown now look to Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band for covers of two classics. Up first is Grace Jones' nightclub classic "My Jamaican Guy" while on the flip is Erykah Badu's tribute to the legendary J Dilla, "The Healer". Both retain the essence of the original but come with loose hand claps, shimmering steel drums that bring coastal breezes, sand and sun into the equation and leave you laying horizontal. These are fine interpretations of top notch source material.
Review: German producer Bhed takes charge of the ninth EP on the vital Trusik label. His mastery of ambient, dub, techno depths and bass weight are all present and correct here, never more so than on the fantastic opener "Eighteenhundred". Taking up the whole of one side of wax, it is more than deserving of that indulgence as it slowly trips through floating pads, icy hi hats and supple rhythms that soothe the mind, body and soul. "Apatheia" is a more edgy track which is just as cavernous but has you looking over your shoulder, and closing cut "East" is a pure and dreamy dub beauty.