Understand What Black Is (Mala instrumental mix) (4:38)
Understand What Black Is (Dego & Kaidi remix) (3:56)
Understand What Black Is (Dego & Kaidi instrumental mix) (3:58)
Review: Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of hip-hop history will tell you that the roots of rapping can be traced back to the early '70s spoken word albums of The Last Poets. It's because of this that the collective's recent album, Understand What Black Is (their first for nearly two decades), was such a big deal. Here the title track is given the remix treatment. Mala handles the A-side, delivering vocal and instrumental passes that re-cast the track as a skanking, dub-wise excursion full of ricocheting electric piano notes and suitably heavy bass. 2000 Black main men Dego and Kaidi Tatham take a more up-tempo approach on the flip, wrapping the Poets conscious vocals and instrumentation around their own fizzing broken beat rhythms, jazz-funk chords and darting electronics.
Review: 12th Isle's latest must-check chunk of entertaining experimentalism comes from Lo Kindre, whose dub-wise 2017 debut on Optimo Music was arguably one of that year's most overlooked EPs. "Chlorophytum", the producer's first solo missive since then, is another lo-fi electronic dub treat. Of course, it's not all gentle bass-heavy rhythms, endless delay trails and cute electronic melodies - closing cut "For Sleep" is a buzzing electronic raga, for example - but it's on these bass-heavy excursions that Lo Kindre most frequently hits the spot. Highlights include the extraordinarily sub-heavy shuffle of "Sounder", the ambient dub wooziness of "Aibell" and the creepy alien-dub oddness of "No Hiding".
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: With a sterling reputation in house across labels such as Local Talk and Glenview, often with provocative, political and conscious connotations, Russian craftsman Alexander Lay Far now draws even deeper feathers from his cap as he brings our attention to UK duo Riddim Research. Working closely with the pair to bring their floor-minded dub to life, the vibes sit somewhere between Fink, King Tubby, Silicone Soul and Mala depending where you place the needle on the record. From the chuggy swing of "Hustler's Dub" to the pant-swinging JB break on "Keep On Rocking" to the Smith & Mighty sized dub nodder "Clerks & Spies", the whole experience builds naturally and narratively while offering some key moments for the floor along the way. Genuinely unique.