CARLTON PATTERSON & KING TUBBY
BLACK & WHITE IN DUB
HOT POT LP/CD
It's ten years ago now since Pressure Sounds released the first compilation of material from the highly collectable Jamaican Black & White label, so the timing is good for Steve Barrow's Hot Pot label to revisit such a treasure house of material – especially as this new set comes up with only a five track overlap with its predecessor. Carlton Patterson's label dealt primarily in quality tunes, the kind that attracted top DJ versions, and its also there that we can find some of King Tubby's most stately dub workouts. Black & White had an early association with Michael Campbell, later to become Mikey Dread, and it's Tubby's version of Ray I's Weatherman Skank, King at the Control that the artist mutated into his very own as Dread At the Control, his label and radio show. The inclusion of the Jammy mixed Disco Dub, the only non-Tubby engineered cut here, is good news as a difficult-to-find but essential side in the work of the then mere princeling. Also included is the Ring Of Fire sound-alike Black Lash the version to Carl Patterson's Dread Locks Power, one of those glorious horn versions in which jazz-lover Tubby excelled.
DUBWISE PRODUCTIONS MEETS JUDY GREEN
How refreshing to find a young, female, UK based reggae singer committing to a whole album of material, for David Slayen's Dubwise label to support the venture – and together produce such an impressive debut. Mancunian Judy Green (good to see Chorlton getting a shout on the credits!) is a singer already active with a series of singles in the nu roots market but produced with more of an old school sensibility whilst at the same time in the main managing to avoid the usual clichéd concerns of the average nu sufferers' fare. To vary the production the Dubwise people enlist UK session regulars Hughie Isachaar, Carl Gentles, Jonah Dan and Winston 'Sax' Rose adding flourish and drama to Chris Jay's drum and bass programming. Guest engineers are Dougie Conscious and Russ Disciple. Each tune carries a dub, but with nine vocal tracks it's not one of those 'short shrift' showcase affairs. Maybe some harmony vocals for future and recognition of the limitations imposed by sourcing the beats from one software package would put these players into a higher league – check out The Mirror and its dub or the closer Million Years.
KOMONASMUK & WHITE BOI / CURSOR MINER
2 PATHS OF ANGER: THE APOCALYPSE / GRIMEWATCH
COMBAT RECORDINGS 12"
This is to dubstep as Boris or Sunn 0))) is to metal, in the family but clearly deranged. The Apocalypse has a deceptively seductive Bollywood style percussion intro but rather than prefacing the advance of a chiffon pyramid wave it's a warped slide into the most cavernous bass drop this year, picking up to a chest-thudding beat that doesn't quite qualify as half-step and there's no escape from the glutinous heave of its progression other than the sampled slur of Armageddon announcements. The culprits are Bristol's Kieran Lomax as Komonasmuk and White Boi from the city's Sub FM. Cursor Miner's Grimewatch must be the antidote, a breakstep variant dubbed 'spazz-funk' that requires an entirely different chemical response to its flip, whereas The Apocalypse is built to be cut at 33 rpm this is a 45 deep racer with dub efx firing off countless triggers. The Combat label is doing its damnedest to keep bass and beats alive.
THE UNCERTAIN TRAIL
Lena is the dub incarnation of Mathias Delplanque, last encountered three years ago with Floating Roots on Quatermass. He returns in darker mood with a collection of odds and ends from the last couple of years, more distracted by the phlegmier depths of hip hop and the nether world of abstract breaks this time but still lugubriously and luxuriously deep, especially on the opener Entomodub 1 Remix that links directly back to previous efforts with its 'like Billy the Kid' patois inflected interjections – sounds like Scratch. And as the album moves on there's a growing detachment from directly identifiable dub foundations to more experimental, less 'grounded', work. Black Sifichi's Burroughsian slurred half-lit raps are always a welcome distraction and he works best here on Typewriter Ribbon (Liquid Paper Mix), instrumentally sounding like Tom Waits in dub – an enticing proposition. The Ghislain Poirer collaboration Saint-Urbain is definitely a bad headed slow motion stroll at dawn down those wet big city cobbled streets as the garbage collection trucks start their day. There's a reproduction of an Ed Ruscha painting for the album's cover, Monsieur Deplanque has admirable pretensions.
Auralux follow their Barrington Levy In Dub with the re-issue of a vocal set that might go some way to clearing the confusion surrounding the logjam of the then youthman's multiple releases as the seventies closed. This one was his Jamaican debut on Jah Guidance produced by Henry 'Junjo' Lawes, but similar sets were also issued in 1979 - Shine Eye Gal on Burning Sounds in the UK and Bounty Hunter on Jah Life the US – all had different mixes and track listings to cater for the targeted market. Whichever the album, the young singer captured the essence of the emerging dancehall style, fresh with attitude, taking the best from the old Studio One and Treasure Isle rhythms and the Roots Radics creating new rhythms in a sparser style. So here we have Real Rock re-created as Looking My Love, Get In The Groove as Shine Eye Girl and My Conversation as Collie Weed whilst for Horace Andy's Skylarking the lyrics remain unchanged and clearly still relevant to the times. David Katz covers the minutiae in the notes and adds four extended tracks Hammer, Stray Away Girl, Shaolin Temple and Shaolin Version featuring DJ Jah Thomas.
MUNDO / MUNDO & LIFTED MC
MY SOUND / BURN IT DOWN
DUB ASSEMBLY 10"
The assumption of a South London, or even UK, geography attached to anything resembling dubstep is finally dashed away by the feverish production rate of Texas-based Jason Mundo. Although this is third single in as many months, by June another plate will be pressed up and a jostle of fresh cuts in the queue for future unleashing. Mundo is a full-on disciple in submission to the power of the bottom end, his bass drops are rapidly becoming his trademark and his tunes can be plied across dub, dubstep and breaks DJ sets with equal devastating effect. The bass on My Sound is birthed fully formed and rolls consistently through the track giving an almost techno feel whilst Burn It Down is a choppier breaks laden affair, breathless and smoky with a call and response rhythm pattern with intermittent DJ grunts. Its dub Jim, but not as we know it.
OBSERVER ALL STARS
JAPANESE DUB BASKET/OBSERVER PUNCHIN' DUB
Apparently this single is sourced from way old master tapes archived to a DAT mysteriously labelled 'Delta Force 9'. A few years ago it was handed by Niney the Observer to some 'European engineer' to clean up the mix for eventual release. As for the title, refreshingly that's a pure marketing device naked designed in an appeal to the ever hungry Japanese reggae market and absolutely nothing to do with the origin of the musicians! The tune itself is vintage Niney along the lines of the tracks worked with Scratch and Tubby, but of a later vintage, perhaps early eighties; the difference being the samples laid over are obviously derived from what might be called a more polluted source than downtown Kingston and sounding more like a mixtape from the mid eighties. It's certainly a curiosity but one which Niney and dub aficionados need in the bag. Another excellent 7' also out from the same date and on the same label but more conformant with Niney's roots output is Razor Blade Dub/Flint Stone Dub.
ROD TAYLOR / MIKEY DREAD & KING TUBBY
HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY / DREAD ALL THE WAY
DREAD AT THE CONTROLS 7"
Head straight for the version and find a dub of a vintage caught on Mikey Dread's classic African Anthem, reproducing the experience of tuning into the DJ's 'Dread at the Controls' Jamaican Broadcasting Company show. Opening with the cut-up radio sting: 'Dash yuh weh dread...please sir, would you mind saying that again …..!' and running into one of those vintage steppers tunes with rousing militant horn section a la Aswad's Warrior Charge or his own Jungle this is pressed up on seven inch single, distributed and sold by U.S. West Coast reggae vendor Ernie B, these days an economical source fro European dub heads. The tune itself, staple sounds system favourite from roots disciple Rod Taylor, was given a severe scrubbing last year with x amount of version on the Reggae Fever label, including a reworking of the original with DJ Capleton joining Taylor combination style.
NOTHING NEVER DONE BEFORE THE TIME / VERSION
BASIC REPLAY 12"
First up was the batch of White Mice seven inch reissues bearing the original Intelitec Musik artwork, then came the vocal and companion CDs from this, until then, under-represented artist in the reissue market. Now, apparently at the special request of Jah Shaka, who may have worn out his copy – comes one of White Mice's most sought-after tunes from the dancehall era that perversely did not appear on the previous releases. Not only does the digi version Nothing Never Done Before the Time have the dub version attached here but the flip of the twelve also has previously unreleased analogue alternate vocal and dub cuts – and it this one that's the killer with a bass rhythm and ominous piano roll reminiscent of Augustus Pablo's awesome deep Ras Menelik Congo Harp from Hugh Mundell's Run Revolution Come.
WAREIKA HILL SOUNDS
WAREIKA HILL SOUNDS
HONEST JONS RECORDS LP/CD
Perhaps the finest achievement of the Honest Jon's people is their support for the ' blazing groundation roots reggae' of Calvin 'Bubbles' Cameron, lead trombonist of Count Ossie's Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari and graduate of Tommy McCook's Supersonics, the band that created countless rock steady rhythms that kept Jamaica dancing. Coming to the label via Cedric 'Im' Brooks' Light of Saba, a couple of years ago there was the revival of Lambs Bread Collie, followed by the Coconut Head EP – the tracks from that are included here - a crisply updated exposition of the classic nyabinghi style, a music oozing pride and humility at the same time, a rebellious upfulness that places this album in a clear lineage back to its forebears. Alongside Cameron in the horn section are Dave Madden on trumpet, best know for his work with Lee Perry, and 'Deadly' Headley Bennett on sax, veteran sidekick of Prince Far I and whose only album was for On U Sound. Taken in balance with the album's other dominant sound, percussion – and afrobeat king Tony Allen appears on one track – it's a rich mix. The only dub included here, One People version, a stomper with organ and vamps and swirls with a couple of judicious bone interludes indicates there's plenty here for further version excursions on this material.