Review: Disco Dub Band's "For The Love of Money", a one-off collaboration between producer Davitt Sigerson and reggae musician Mike Dorane, has long been considered something of a classic by those who like their disco to come with a big dose of dub-wise flavour. Here the instrumental O'Jays cover, which originally appeared on the Movers label in 1976, is given the remix treatment by long-time fans Mr Bongo. The superb A-side, in which Dorane's instrumental talents take centre stage, naturally comes accompanied by the frequently played Dub interpretation, a typically wild and bass-heavy affair that sounds like it was mixed "live" in one take in true Lee Perry/King Tubby style. If it's not already in your collection, it should be.
Review: Since launching in 2014, Portland's ZamZam Sounds imprint has offered up a string of beautifully packaged seven-inch singles from a mixture of big hitters and rising stars from the global bass music scene. Their latest missive comes from Dayzero, a Japanese dubstep producer best known for his outings on Wheel & Deal, Sentry and, most recently, Vomitspit. The two tracks here are weighty, intergalactic and otherworldly, mixing dub style rhythms with the kind of angular, razor-sharp sub-bass motifs more often associated with dancefloor dubstep. Both cuts are quality, though it's rolling A-side "Orbit Dub" - all lolloping dub beats, wobble bass, metallic effects and paranoid aural textures - that really stands out.
Review: Melodica maestro Augustus Pablo released a number of influential albums during a golden period in the 1970s, though little quite as ground-breaking and far-sighted as 1976's "King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown". Mixed by King Tubby, it was one of the first great dub albums and is still one of the finest examples of the stripped-back, rhythm-heavy style around. If you don't already own a copy, we'd heartily recommend picking up this reissue. Musically, the tracks sound as warm, weighty and spacious as ever - all heavy Robbie Shakespear/Family Man Barrett bass, idiosyncratic drumming and killer melodica/Clavinet/organ action from Pablo.
Review: By the time they recorded "Songs of Praise" in 1990, African Head Charge had gone from being an Adrian Sherwood solo project to a fully-fledged band helmed by percussionist Bonjo Ivabinghi Noah. Here reissued to mark the album's 20th birthday, the set remains arguably the group's greatest single work. While rooted in the twin attractions of heavy dub and dense African percussion, the album makes extensive use of a dizzying array of influences, from gospel, steppers reggae and yacht rock, to traditional Arabic music, blues, disco, religious chants and even industrial music. This edition features a handful of decent bonus tracks, but they're unnecessary: the original album is little less than a masterpiece and should reside in every discerning listener's record collection.
Review: Way back in 1998 when Massive Attack's career-defining "Mezzanine" was first released, legendary dub technician Mad Professor cooked up some radical reworking. They now get their first official release alongside dubs of two tracks that never actually made it onto the album - Metal Banshee: a dub version of "Superpredators" which was a cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Metal Postcard", and "Wire", which was actually recorded for the film "Welcome to Sarajevo". Wild effects, plenty of knob twiddling and oodles of reverb define this freaky late night collection and mark another essential release in the catalogue of the already legendary Mad Professor.
Review: Versa on System; it's a match made in dub heaven. Slower than the usual club-ready output V.I.V.E.K's label has often been known for, these are perfect home listening for the current lockdown era as Versa goes in deep; "Temple Song" is all about the subtle loopy insistencies while "Breakthrough" sinks us even deeper into our chair with its minimal ingredients providing maximum immersion. Finally "Biosphere" ushers in the kicks for a warm and rolling dub techno escapade. Stunning.
Review: Some five years after their last full-length hit stores, Fat Freddy's Drop has finally got round to recording a new album. Entitled "Special Edition", it's set to be released in two parts. Part one (the second will follow later in the year) begins with the slow and steady soulful skank of "Kamo Kamo", before the more digital-sounding goodness of "OneFourteen" sees them wisely pushing honeyed vocalist Joe Dukie to the fore. More jazzy reggae warmth follows via "Raleigh Twenty", while "Special Edition" is a confirmed dancefloor workout - think disco-reggae - which mixes rapped and sung vocals. There's a surprising nod to house music on the hypnotic and synth-laden "Trickle Down", while "Six-Eight (Instrumental)" is Fat Freddy's take on dancehall.
Review: Napoli producer Enrico Fierro AKA Milord may not yet be quite as well known as fellow city dwellers New Guinea, but he shares the same love of cosmic synthesizer sounds, atmospheric electronics and lo-fi drum machines. "Meta/Music", his first EP for Pinchy & Friends, inhabits a similar sonic space to the Early Sounds Recordings regulars, too - or at least the synth-fuelled jazz-funk-meets-Balearic cuts "The Kemetist", "Infinite Balance" and the sparse, dubbed-out bliss of "Meta Music" do (incidentally, all three feature copious amounts of dub style delays on the drum hits, which is no bad thing). Best of all though is opener "Transcendental Experience", a slow-burning fusion of new age melodies, intergalactic electronics and minimalist drums that's worth the admission price on its own.
Little Birds, Moonbath (feat Michelle Helene Mackenzie) (6:06)
Tipu's Tiger (feat Pender Street Steppers) (10:11)
Of Yesterday (instrumental) (5:37)
The Ultimate Which Manages The World (4:40)
Words Without Sound (6:09)
Review: With a drowsy, loved-up trademark sound that sits somewhere between the beach, bedroom and the dancefloor, Canada's Yu Su is a great fit for Music From Memory offshoot Second Circle. The resultant EP is arguably her strongest to date. She begins by enlisting the help of Michelle Helene Mackenzie, who provides a drowsy spoken word vocal on the ultra-deep and starry brilliance of "Little Birds, Moonbath". Fellow Vancouver residents Pender Street Steppers lend a hand on the deep and picturesque shuffle of "Tipu's Tiger", while "Of Yesterday (Instrumental)" sees Yu Su wrap meandering synth solos atop hazy chords and gentle tribal drums. Elsewhere, "The Ultimate Which Manages The World" is dubbed-out and effortlessly Balearic, while "Words Without Sound" offers up more intricate hand percussion and some sparse electronic elements.
Review: The unstoppable Bokeh Versions welcome the new year with some forward looking digi-dub gold. This one comes from Nottingham based sound sculptor TNT, who has never put out a vinyl record until now. An artist who has been pursuing a solo career since his Earthquake collective went south in 2002, he has stayed relatively low key while putting out various dub plates. The best of them from 2006 to 2018 are now collected here with production by Aba Shanti making each one pop. This album tells the story of a fine chapter in UK dub history, so don't miss out.
Review: Given Massive Attack's background, it was almost inevitable that they'd release a dub overhaul of one of their albums at one point. That time came in 1995, when British sound system legend Mad Professor - responsible for some of the greatest UK-made dub records of all time - put his distinctive twist on Protection. 21 years on, the set still sounds sublime: a radical translation that frequently bares only a passing resemblance to the Bristol band's original. It's packed with highlights, from the spaced-out, dub-house rework of "Spying Glass" ("I Spy"), to the ricocheting percussion hits and twinkling pianos of "Weather Storm (Cool Monsoon)", and creepy, delay-laden string surges of "Eternal Feedback (Sly)".
Review: Soundway has high hopes for the third album by "underground super-producer" Lord Echo. That set is due to appear in early 2017, and as a taster, they've decided to drop this fine single. "Just Do You" features the vocals of Mara TK of Electric Wire Hustle fame, and is a deliciously cheery chunk of Caribbean inspired dub disco indulgence. It's accompanied by a fine Dub - which, naturally, features more tape delay and a tougher, stripped back groove - and an instrumental version. There's also a bonus cut in the shape of "Only You", which features regular Lord Echo collaborator Toby Laing, best known as a member of globe-trotting Kiwi supergroup Fat Freddy's Drop.
Review: Silent Season have carried the music of Submersion and Mon0 independently before, but now the dub techno producers have teamed up to take their sound onto new plains of exploration. The sound palette is consistent with both their music and that of the label, but the familiar dancefloor tropes have been jettisoned in favour of a more meditative end result, leading in with the achingly beautiful tundra excursion of "Beginning Of The End". From there the album drifts with glacial motion through a range of finely crafted soundscapes, wielding a world of rumbling, harmonious noise in the middle distance without ever losing that seductive dub techno ambience.
Review: Mysterious Canadian dub abstractionists Seekersinternational will always keep you guessing - such is their provocative charm whether stirring up trouble on Bokeh Versions, Boomarm Nation or ICS Library. Now they make a welcome surprise drop on Max D's Future Times label, and sound right at home amongst the label's penchant for bizarro genre-agnostic mutations. There's soul, audacious sound design and luscious synths aplenty - all hallmarks of other FT releases. Of course there's a strong bedrock of Jamaican music culture informing everything, but once again the crew have delivered something distinct from their previous work. No one does it quite like Seekers, not even Seekers themselves.
Review: Second time around for Vivien Goldman's inspired debut single, "Launderette", a fine chunk of no-wave era NYC heaviness that first slipped out way back in 1981. The title track is typical of New York's open-minded post-punk scene, with Goldman adding her distinctive vocals to a bass-heavy backing track big on dub bass, Melodica style flourishes and Latin-tinged percussion. Flipside "Private Armies" is a little more experimental in tone, with dubbed-out guitars and layered vocals riding an unflinchingly heavy, punk-funk style bassline and clicking, high-octane rhythm track. It's arty but impressive and arguably even more potent than the more familiar A-side.
Review: Dubkasm's digi-dub roots dig deep into the early 90s. Boosted into the future by fellow Bristolians Pinch, Appleblim and Headhunter, here we find them declaring "Victory" with this instantly show-stopping horn-heavy skanker. Laced with space and complete with myriad versions, a fine balance of meditative bass and mind-blowing sonic creativity is at play throughout. Those with a penchant for the abyss-levels of dub science should jump straight on "Verse IV". Hear that stretched horn sound and you'll soon understand why it's been sub-titled "Raw Piece". Victory is yours!
Review: Spanish label Rocafort started 2019 by releasing their first dub reggae "45", so it's fitting that they are ending the year with a sequel from the same act, The Circle of Confusion. Like its' predecessor, "Yesterday Was History" features lead vocals from Studio 1 singer Cornell Campbell. His soulful intonation works wonderfully above the band's hazy, heavy and ear-pleasing digi-dub backing track. Arguably even better is the band's own flipside "Dub" mix, which is as weighty, spaced out and intoxicating as the largely digital dubs pioneered by British scene stalwart Mad Professor. It's worth buying the seven-inch just to get your hands on it.
Review: Dub maestro Mala joins forces with prominent British writer, dub poet and Rastafarian Benjamin Zephaniah and Natty for this heavy hitting, hand-stamped 12". "I'm a bad man anyway, this is my sound" says Zephaniah with real passion as spaced out pads and delicate chords soften his battle cry, and his musings on the black man's struggle, righteousness and Rastafarianism play out in absorbing fashion. Best believe this one is going to become a real cult favourite, not least because of the exceptional sound design and sense of space inherent in any Mala tune.
Roger Bain - "Stand Up & Rock Your Body" (instrumental) (5:29)
D Ivan - "Fire" (extended dub edit) (5:36)
Bill Campbell - "Body Beat" (4:24)
Brother Resistance - "Move It" (version) (5:52)
Adonijah - "It's Alright" (6:34)
Peter Britto - "I Want Your Love" (5:00)
Juno D - "Hotter & Hotter" (dub edit) (6:44)
Colin Jackman - "D'Jab Jab Dance" (Bad Lad mix) (4:23)
Levi John - "SOCA" (7:31)
Spiking - "Liberation Train" (7:52)
Mohjah - "Zion Gates" (dub) (4:21)
Andre Tanker - "Wild Indian Band" (6:22)
Touch - "Touch Music" (edit) (6:14)
D' Rebel Band - "Solid" (6:36)
The Millers - "Last Days" (5:57)
Chocolate Affaire - "Jump To Calypso" (4:04)
Review: The mighty Soundway Records label head Miles Cleret and DJ/collector Jeremy Spellacey turn their expert digging and curatorial skills to the Soca Dub & Electronic Calypso sounds of 1979 to 1998 on this bumper new triple pack. The 17 tracks touch on obscurities, instrumentals and dubs, vocal edits and all manner of roots, boogie, reggae, house, soul and disco gems. It makes for a never less than heart swelling collection that bring immediate sunshine to even the most rainy, cold days in the north of England. Highlights are plentiful, but our picks of the bunch are Bill Campbell's "Body Beat" which does exactly what it says on the tin, Adonijah's disco stomper ("It's Alright") and Levi John's "Soca", a lo-fi oddity with brilliantly loose drum work.
Review: Indica Dubs bring their three part series to a close with another stellar edition. It is the in-house team and Vibronics who link up here for "Timbuktu". Vibronics first landed on the label three years ago and in that time have become key associates. This latest is actually the first time the label boss has produced directly with Vibronics and the results speak for themselves. The track is a heavyweight number with bold leads and flabby bass that makes you move. The dub plate mix is down and dirty as the lead is swiped, filtered and twisted into something much more menacing. It marks a fine finale to this series.
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: 2020 marks a decade since Sukh Gill started the Indica Dubs project, which now incorporates an online record shop, soundsystem and record label. Naturally Gill features prominently on the label's latest release, which begins with a soulful chunk of digital reggae goodness from Danny Red, "You No Better". Gill joins forces with Conscious Sounds to deliver the "Better Dub" rework, where echoing guitar motifs and delay-laden vocal snippets ride a denser and weightier revision of Red's groove. The partnership continues on side B, where the "Humble Thyself" version - an instrumental take on the EP's lead cut - is followed by the heavier, wilder and more sub-heavy "Humble Dub".
Review: London's Kibir La Amlak continues to breathe new life into the traditional sound system on this new one on WhoDemSound. He does so with respect, always, and with plenty of knowing nods to the culture. "Ascension Rock" has tons of reverb and delay and a mesmerising flute lead that floats high above the stumbling drums and tumbling toms. Flipside "Twists & Turns Dub" is a more heady workout with extra fx, analogue trickery and swagger to spare.
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.
I Have Been Waiting For You (DJ Duckcomb Digimix) (7:19)
Review: Emotional Rescue serve up a balmy curveball cut perfect for the summer months. Glen Ricks "I've Been Waiting For You" was originally released back in 1983 on the highly collectible Seraff label and recently reissued by the label (ERC081). Here, as an accompanying release to that boogie version is a 1990 digital rework for the Xterminator label. With a distinctive swung riddim and smoothly incorporated dubbed out chords, Ricks' vocal channels the most soulful Jamaican deliveries, sealing the deal on this evergreen jam that sounds great in original and version forms. DJ Duckcomb steps up with a tender "Digimix" that retains the dusty crunch of the original with just a little extra bite in the beats.
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: For their latest release, Jah Fingers has dipped into the digital catalogue of long-running Abi Shanti and Iration Steppas favourite TNT Roots. Both tracks showcased here were first featured on the British producer's "Raw Dubplate Warrior Style" CD-R way back in 2010. A-side "Elohim" is a particularly cosmic and spiritual take on digi-dub, with spacey electronic motifs and exotic synth sounds echoing away atop a slow and low bassline and head-nodding drums. Over on the flip, "Verse II" is a heavier and more dubbed-out affair where delay-laden keyboard riffs and similarly sci-fi sounds echo across another killer bassline and hypnotic beat.
Rupie Edwards All Stars - "Natty Version Plant" (3:48)
Review: Originally released in 1975 and now successfully excavated by the good people at Horus, this stone cold roots cut by Star The Marshall is more than deserving of a reissue. It's a sparse and moody cut that gets brought into sharp relief with the version on the flip. It's here that the Rupie Edwards All Stars drop their stark skank over four minutes of head-nodding perfection - one to lose your head in the smoke to. But Star's vocal on the original cut is the perfect garnish to this killer riddim, freewheeling and ever-so-slightly spooky.
Indica Dubs & Conscious Sounds - "Spirit Of HIM" (4:03)
Indica Dubs & Conscious Sounds - "Spirit Of Dub" (3:47)
Review: Leading modern dub label Indica Dubs ease into 2020 with more of their silky smooth and swaggering cuts. This latest 10" kicks off with Danman's "Jah Love Is True" with its lazy drums and ricocheting hits, then in house team Indica Dubs & Conscious Sounds link up for a dub before then offering "Spirit Of HIM", with big warrior leads and pillow drums and bass ready to sink right into. A further dub of this one finds them get busy on the studio dials and take you on a more heady trip.
Free Chant (Churchical Chant Of The Iyabinghi) (CD1: songs Of Praise)
Orderliness Godliness Discipline & Dignity
Hold Some More
Cattle Herders Chant
Chant For The Spirits
God Is Great
Deer Spirit Song
Heading To Glory (CD2: In Pursuit Of Shashamane Land)
No Don't Follow Fashion
Somebody Touch I
Fever Pitch (Raw cut)
Pursuit (Underpulse Motion DJ edit)
No Don't Follow Fashion
On The Off Beat
Run Come See Me
Mama Shante Garden
The Big Country (CD 3: Vision Of A Psychedelic Africa)
Positive Thoughts & Mind
Treatment For A Septic Horn
Drumming Is A Language
Mr Whippy Does Djibouti
Run Come See
Ran Came Saw
Who Are You?
Ready You Ready
Ready You Ready (part 2)
What Is The Plan? (with Mutabaruka)
What Is The Plan? (with Mutabaruka - version)
In "I" Head (CD 4: Voodoo Of The Godsent)
The Best Way
Take Heed... & Smoke Up Your Collyweed
Stoned Age Man
This & That & The Other
Dobbyn Joins The Head Charge
Fear Of A Man God
Peace & Happiness (CD 5: Churchical Chant Of The Iyabinghi)
One Love, One Heart
Dub Some More
Disciplined & Dignified
Healing Father's Dub
Dub For The Spirits
Review: Back in 2016 On-U-Sound released "Environmental Holes & Drastic Tricks", a five-disc retrospective of the early years of Bonjo Ivabinghi Noah and Adrian Sherwood's percussion-led Afro-dub project African Head Charge. "Drumming Is A Language", the second and final retrospective, brings the story bang up to date. Like its' predecessor, it gathers together four key, game-changing albums (1990's incredible "Songs of Praise", '93's "In Pursuit of Shashamane", 2005's "Vision of a Psychedelic Africa" and 2011's "Voodoo of the Godsend") with a bonus CD of unheard versions, remixes and revisions recorded between 1990 and '93. Touching on all manner of influences and showcasing the strong links between African and Caribbean music, the showcased material is as inventive, otherworldly and inspired as dub gets.
Review: Belgian imprint Mania Dub's latest release offers up a fresh pressing of a late 1990s sonic showdown of epic proportions. Initially jointly released by UK labels Fashion Records and Conscious Sounds, it features a wealth of jointly produced - but separately mixed - digital dub workouts from The Bush Chemists and the Dub Organiser. The former's credited tracks can be found on side A and tend towards the dancefloor-focused, with reverb-heavy trumpet lines, melodica riffs and gargantuan basslines riding fiendishly club-friendly rhythm tracks. The Dub Organiser goes in a more heady and intoxicating direction on the flip, preferring more laidback grooves, even bigger bass and plenty of tape delay.