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: If you're looking for an EP packed to the rafters with a mixture of attractive digi-reggae vocal numbers and soundsystem-bothering dubs, we'd highly recommend this 12" from leading Dutch crew King Shiloh. What's on offer is a sextet of 'versions' based around the same steppers-tinged digi-dub riddim from Dub Creator (instrumental versions of which are tagged on to the end of each side of the record). The riddim itself is a good one, with a stabbing bassline, picturesque piano stabs, flanged guitars and some unusual instrumental choices. The songs built on this solid foundation are all superb, with our picks of the bunch being Empress Black Omolo's soulful and positive, 'Love is the Weapon' and the cheeriness of Discyple's surprisingly accordion-heavy 'All Things Possible'.
Earl Sixteen & The Inn House Crew - "Born To Be Free" (3:46)
The Inn House Crew - "The Uproar Riddim" (3:50)
Review: Room in the Key hits cat number 150 with Earl Sixteen & The Inn House Crew coming together on this big new rhythm. Earl "Sixteen" Daley has been doing his do since way back when, and has worked with masters like Lee Scratch Perry. Here he serves up a tale of lockdown and cries to be free, with digital effects and clean, pristine synths lifting spirits next to an upbeat groove. Of course, a dub is include don the flip with extra guitar riffs and natty chords all helping to colour the airwaves.
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: For the latest volume in their ongoing "Reggae Cut Loud" series of seven-inch singles, Harlem Shuffle Records have gathered together two suitably rare gems from the undisputed king of rocksteady, Alton Ellis, neither of which have previously featured on a "45". A-side "Pumping In", an early rocksteady treat, is rich in R&B style guitar riffs, warm bass and an echo-laden vocal from Ellis. It was recorded in 1970 but for one reason or another only surfaced a few years ago. Flipside "Knock On Wood", a cover of the Eddie Floyd soul favourite, was recorded a number of times by Ellis; this version is the superior 1972 Joe Gibbs take, which boasts some superb Hammond organ sounds and a defiantly dub-wise reggae riddim. It's absolutely essential.
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.
Review: Long running dub dons Nice Up! unveil a brand new talent on their latest: that man is Escape Roots, a Glaswegian producer and Mungo's HiFi's Walk n Skank resident who calls upon vocalist Dandelion to muse on the many different joys of ganga. Riding on classic dancehall rhythms with hooky guitar riffs and tumbling claps, Dandelion touches on toothpaste, butter, soap and the titular Ganga Socks. It's tongue in cheek, head in the clouds stuff that will have you skanking for days. For those who like it more stripped back, flipside "Version" is where it's at.