Henry & Louis meets Blue & Red Jah Jah Never Fail I
BSI BSI021-1 7" VINYL
Henry & Louis are Jack Lundie and More Rockers' Andy Scholes whilst Blue & Red is an alternate incarnation for Rob Smith from Smith & Mighty - all from Bristol, England. Here they are joined by Jamaican Steve Harper, a.k.a. Shalom, who manages to deliver an upful vocal - unusual these days for a righteous subject matter. The real story is a case of "always the version" as the dub turns out to be a storming slab of modern steppers which concludes far too early. This limited pre-release signals an imminent showcase set with contributions from Johnny Clarke and Willie Willams amongst others.
Hypnotix Kumah - Spirit of the Word
AFRICAN DANCE RECORDS ADR010-02
Hypnotix spent many years building a reputation in Prague, then the wider Czech Republic, as an ethno-reggae rock band. What separated them out from many other outfits operating in the same area was Bourama Badji, their Senegalese vocalist, the musical dedication of the band members, the vision of their bass player Michal Ditrich and then working with African Headcharge's engineer Louis Beckett (now with ADF but still son of Harry!). With the separation of the Republic came a slimming down of the band, a tightening up of their percussion base and a conscious moved towards a sound more dominated by freer African polyrhythms. Still coming from a dub root they have managed to work up a much more satisfying framework for their obvious talents, especially the chanting style of Bourama and the driving bass sound of Ditrich which now characterises many of this set's best tunes. Time for wider appreciation.
Wayne Jarrett Bubble Up
Lloyd "Wackie" Barnes set up his Bullwackie's outfit in the Bronx and specialised in a creating super heavy roots sounds around the same time Afrika Bambaataa was throwing down new beats in the gymnasium. At the time of the early eighties this material was under appreciated being too close in time to the reggae sound that had ruled through the previous decade. Time allows us a reappraisal then as the catalogue continues its CD reissue programme. Wayne Jarrett had a vocal quality and delivery somewhere between Horace Andy and Bim Sherman in style. This showcase vocal and dub set features six tracks and is worth investigating if only for the final tune "Holy Mount Zion", a slow but insistent rhythm reminiscent of Tubby's mixes on Yabby You with beautiful flute lines from co-producer Clive Hunt.
Junior Soul Super Love / Super Cool
BLOOD & FIRE 10" PK3
This limited edition 10" pressing needs to be snapped up before stocks exhaust as it's a stone classic. Junior Soul's classy reading of "Super Love" is eclipsed by Tubby's restrained but funky dub where the flute of arranger Clive "Azul" Hunt is chopped in through the mix. The flip features a Lloyd Charmers cover of another Curtis Mayfield tune "Darker than Blue" with Tubby on the version again. The release prefaces a full album's worth of similar fare due up later in the summer.
A compelling debut from the shabbily monikered Swiss duo of Vincent Haenni and Gabriel Scotti, where the more subtle elements of the expanded modern dub lexicon gather at the core of their conception and execution. Recently the pair have been scoring live sets for synthesised images and real time projections, also creating soundscapes for public readings by French Actor Carlo Brandt. So this album catches them as they are with juxtaposed samples mined from across the spectrum of musical styles as well as literary genres - from the great French poets to a 70's cookbook for the American housewife. Resolutely downbeat but never dismal, there are occasions when the applied gloss may approach a Saatchi & Saatchi dubwise presentation but the variation and humour redirects us to the real agenda. Imagine Erik Satie back - and rocking in a languid fashion!
Le Peuple de l'Herbe 000+
Various Dub This Net - Altered Connections 1
Le Peuple de L'Herbe formed in 1997 around the nucleus of DJs Stani and Pee who had both been running hip hop jams in the bars of their hometown Lyon. Drummer Psychostick and trumpeter N'Zeng came later and the sound of the band was designed to swing between fusion and clash. This debut album pulls together a representation of their work so far including both sides of their first Supadope single, "Herbman Skank" and "PH Theme", the former being cartoon ska and the latter a jazz'n'scratch rap in Wolof. Over the past couple of years alliances have been formed with ADF and Adrian Sherwood which defines the scope of their current sound which is at once unselfconscious, eclectic and joyful, typifying much of the dancefloor orientated music coming out of France.
Hypertunez.com is a site that gathers together all electronic musics. One of its most eminent curators is global dub pilot extraordinaire Capitaine Laurent Diouf, also of Wreck this Mess fame, a show from Radio Libertaire in Paris. Laurent has done more than anyone to champion dub by any means necessary. Here he collects new-roots, breaks, beats, dub and trance dub from the "Dub this Net" section of the site which reviews all bass driven things. Highlights are the tracks with the involvement South London's art-dubsters Digidub who always manage to come up with some twisted angle on the genre and V-Neck who provided one of the most inventive dub outings of last year with their album "Dub Fiction". Amongst the other tracks come are Alpha & Omega, Power Steppers, Dublivion, L.S.Diezel and The Dub Factory.
Lee Perry Black Ark Singles Selector Too
Sonic paint-balling anyone? If one "unofficial" Scratch compilation deserves recommendation amongst the dross around then this Australian has got to be it. This twenty two track dub companion to match the vocal, DJ and instrumental set released last year, is a feast of invention and sheer studio daring collecting some of the strongest tunes ever to escape the Black Ark. Versions of such classics as Augustus Pablo's "Vibrate On" and the Heptones' "Mystery Babylon" are lined up with lesser known delights such as the Meditations' overlooked but inspiring "Land of Love" ("Land of Dub") and the all-time Upsetter rare groove "Rejoice Skank", a version of the Silvertones' spookily righteous chant "Rejoice Jah Jah Children". All these sides have been re-released in the UK as limited edition 7" vinyl on a re-created Black Art imprint and are now impossible to get hold of unless one reverts to the collectors market - making this compilation even more desirable.
Laughin' Gas The Red Sessions
LAUGHIN' GAS RECORDS BAD01
Phase 5 Space Bar
ROUND TRIP MARS RECORDS -2001
Very little new emerges from New Zealand other than of a sporting nature. Judging by the crop of dub inflected albums appearing lately from those islands reports of giant ganja plants growing wild in the country could be soon expected. Laughin' Gas have been playing in and around Dunedin for seven years or so and produce music of a quaint quirkiness that comes across like nothing so much as Soft Machine meeting Channel One in a psychedelic bouncy castle as directed by Joe Meek. Thousands of second year college students would die to create music as effortlessly and ingenuously wistful and wonderful as this. There is a dreadful techno track, albeit with the great title "To Lula by Train", which goes some way to breaking the spell but other than that this has got to be some kind of dimension thing!
Straight out of Auckland comes the label Round Trip Mars run by a character called Stinky Jim. Not confined to dubwise material the label is nevertheless associating with the UK's Different Drummer label. Phase 5 conjure up a cool and sophisticated dubby nu-jazz sound, rather than jazzy nu-dub sound. The album's credits give the clue as to what's happening antipodean-wise i.e. Burnt Friedman spends time in New Zealand recording and provides a Nonplace remix to the track "Mothman Skunk". Occasionally the mere track title is a sets an expectation that something out of the ordinary is expected. "Verb Vendor" and "Bag Juice" do not disappoint. As to the full explanation on what's going on deep down under much remains to be explained - its time we were told.
Various Reggae: I Am King - Classics from the Rockers Era
Ostensibly a straightforward selection from a late seventies Ladbroke Grove jukebox, but in today's marketing analysis a leaf out of the Soul Jazz book "Taking Reggae to the Masses". Although its difficult to believe that most punters do not possess, or have not even heard, tunes such as "Police and Thieves", "Night Nurse", "Uptown Top Ranking" etc., marketing surveys must prove otherwise. None of this diminishes what is a superior primer for the reggae novice. But its also great to hear some of the lesser know tunes given a rare airing such as Black Harmony's "Love Marcus" and Me & You's lilting lovers rocker "You Never Know What You've Got" - a real people's champion sound from the era.
Yabby You Jesus Dread 1972 - 1975 Volume 2
SIMPLY VINYL / BLOOD & FIRE SVLP318
The second part of this great compilation is available once again the way it should be - on vinyl, though the advice is not to hang around too long as I understand these Blood & Fire re-releases in partnership with the vinyl specialists are still a limited run repress. Recorded between the Black Ark, Randys, Dynamics and Channel One all the tracks were eventually voiced and mixed at Tubbys by the master himself with his pupils Philip Smart and Prince Jammy under tight manners. The resulting tracks are amongst the cream of Jamaican devotional music with a sound that is timeless, ethereal and mesmerising, simultaneously transcending and proudly representing the genre in which they were born. If one track were to stand alone as an emblem of the artist/producer it would be the combination DJ attack of the truly awesome "Jesus Dread" from Dillinger and Trinity, paying tribute to Vivian Jackson as the creator of a unique sound in reggae - and all its attendant dub versions present here.