Review: A Rocket In Dub returns to Krachladen Records in the same month that he appears on a split 12" with Graph. This time he has put together four 7"s that explore his famously dubby, minimal sound. Each cut is a precise experiment in sound, with icy hits and liquid chords washing over you while various different dub moods percolate below. There are incidental jams that encourage your mind to wander, then more dense and intense cuts of late night menace. It is another accomplished work in the catalogue of a dub technician who has been on top of his game for years.
Review: Alvin Davis is a musical polymath. He has worked in the worlds of jazz, reggae and soul with a slew of well known names such as Prince, Edwin Starr, Maxi Priest and David Hinds. This super limited 7" offers up a great horn and sax lead instrumental piece with Alvin's horns leading the charge. The mood is one of casual rejoice and subtle celebration - the hits in particular are a lovely hook that keep you locked. On the flipside, things get dread fuelled and deliciously dubby thanks to a rework from Alien Dread.
Review: True to their usual form, Krachladen Records serve ups big release that is split between Dusseldorf IDM masters Graph aka Stefan Jurke & Jens Beyer and A Rocket In Dub. This is the first in what is promised to be a new series that pops up a few times a year. Graph's 'Gowc Gowac' is a deadly dub with plenty of sci-fi motifs that help add to a feeling of revelation despite the heavy bass. 'Kon Konwac' is all whirring sounds, clacking hits and looped sonic freakiness that keeps you guessing. The three cuts from A Rocket In Dub all offer atmospheric dub with otherworldly found sounds that have you gazing on in awe.
Review: For their latest release, the Love In Public Spaces crew has turned to a genuinely new talent: London-based Iranian Kasra V, who was previously best-known for his residences at Love Fever and on NTS. His debut EP was apparently crafted using a vintage MPC2000, a "battery of FM keyboards" and "midi-synced drum machines". It's basically a late 80s style hardware set up, so it's no surprise that gentle and seductive A-side opener "Voyage" is awash with chiming lead lines, kaleidoscopic synthesizer sounds and warm, rolling grooves. He opts for a sleazier, more guitar-driven sound on "Last Orders", while inspired flipside "Escapism" is a mid-80s, post-electro synth-scape with subtle Middle Eastern tones, B-movie synth-strings and tons of sweaty drum fills.
Errol 'Flabba' Holt - "My Heart Is In Danger" (2:55)
Errol Holt All Star - "Danger Zone" (3:05)
Review: In 1982, Jamaican singer Errol 'Flabba' Holt joined forces with reggae's greatest rhythm section, Sly & Robbie, to release a track called 'Danger Zone' on their Taxi label. It's now a celebrated and well-known single, but few outside reggae record collecting circles know of Holt's earlier recording of the self-penned song. It was recorded and released on the tiny Different Drum label at some point in the 1970s, and here gets a much-deserved reissue. On the A-side you'll find his original vocal version; titled 'My Heart Is In Danger', it's a slick and soulful roots reggae treat rich in hazy horns, clipped guitars and warming bass. It comes backed by its original flipside, 'Danger Zone': an effects-laden dub that emphasizes the rhythm track's inherent heaviness.
Blind Prophet - "Hugh Dub" (The Illuminated remix) (4:10)
Review: Dutch duo The Illuminated finally make their debut on Rotterdam based label Dub Communication. Vale's expressive and conversational horns appear on a-side, with swaggering, stuttering dub production down low making for a futuristic feeling. The crisp hits ride up top, the chords hang in the air, and it's a lovely place to be. The reverse rework is of a signature sound from Blind Prophet which was originally put out on DUBCOM003V. All in all this is a heavyweight 120bpm dubplate stepper that really brings the dub heat to any dance floor.
Indica Dubs & Conscious Sounds - "Place In Dub" (3:39)
Chazbo - "Zion Is Home" (3:40)
Indica Dubs & Conscious Sounds - "Dub In Zion" (3:38)
Review: There's much to set the pulse racing on Indica Sounds' latest ten-inch, not least a first label appearance for rising star Eva Keyes, whose previous releases on Partial Records were all nigh on essential. 'A Place Called Home' is another brilliant soul-fired digital reggae excursion from the singer, with her trademark vocal lilt sounding more haunting than ever. Indica Dubs and Conscious Sounds make the most of selected vocal snippets on their accompanying dub mix, which naturally boasts tougher production and even weighty bass. Melodica maestro Chazbo gets to chance to do his thing over the same riddim on the flip ('Zion Is Home'), before Indica Dubs and Conscious Sounds successfully turn his take into a heavy steppers style workout ('Dub in Zion').
Review: Producer and One By One Records founder Baay Selectah continues to mine the Valmeria Roots digital mix-tapes he created some years back with regular studio partner (and suitably soulful vocalist) Payoh SoulRebel. The two tracks showcased here are taken from 2013's Valmeria Roots Volume 1 and are based on a repurposed (and presumably re-recorded) classic roots reggae riddim. Payoh SoulRebel handles lead vocals on 'Selfish World', musing about selfishness in society over a warm, head-nodding groove. Fellow crew-member Mr Papua handles vocal duties on the flip, singing sweetly in Spanish over the very same much-loved riddim.
Review: The cuts on this 7" are the stuff of legend. It is said they have been out of circulation for 25 years after having first popped up on a white label 12" in the mid-90s. It features two takes on 'Dub of Independence' backed with the majestic 'Paranormal Dubwise' which lifts its catchy hook from a popular 90's sci-fi TV show. All of the cuts are clean and futuristic, with shiny and reflective drums offset by more earthy bass. Warped leads and twisted melodies add another layer of intrigue to these most original of dubs.
Mixman - "Rise Again I-Sion" (Mixman dub Section) (3:43)
Review: Of late, Blakamix boss Dennis 'Mixman' Bedeau has offered up a number of reissues of killer cuts from his extensive back catalogue. He's at it again here too, delivering a re-press of his 2012 production for Anthony Simba, 'Rise Again'. The A-side original version is a typical digi-reggae excursion, with Simba singing sweetly and soulfully over crunchy machine drums, colourful synthesizer lines and, most surprisingly, 80s style Fairlight sampler orchestral stabs (as used in thousands of synth-pop records over the years). Bedeau strips out most of Simba's vocal on flipside workout 'Rise Again I-Son', a near perfect digi-dub excursion that's not only weighty and delay-laden, but also makes use of some deeper and hazier synthesizer sounds.
Review: Reggae veteran Nick Manasseh, and David Hill formerly of the Ballistic Brothers, here make a welcome return to Acid Jazz for a first new offering since their 1998 album Shining. The results have already been getting high praise from reggae don David Rodigan and and radio tastemaker Giles Peterson, and the single is a hard-hitting one with nice fluid, silky guitar from Ernest Ranglin riding up top. This comes on the heels of Soul Revivers digital debut "Harder" which got plenty of plaudits, and is just as essential.
This Life (Feel Better Riddim) (feat Jah Mason) (4:03)
Feel Better Riddim (4:01)
Review: The Truesounds crew is a creative collective of artists and producers who are bringing their own perspectives and flavours to rootsy music. Here they offer up 'This Life (Feel Better Riddim) (feat Jah Mason)' and it is a slow motion riddim with Jah Mason in fine form delivering his odes up top. Wooden hits and bottomless kicks are the order of the day for the groove, which is never less than pillowy and perfect. There is of course and more ticked up and tripped out dub on the flip, 'Feel Better Riddim.'
Review: Having road tested these jams at huge gigs around the world before the lockdown locked us down, Fat Freddy's Drop now unleashes these dub wise detonations. Special Edition Part 1 is said to be the first edition of a long promised double album with separate chapters. There are plenty of song writing skills on show here as well as technical innovations and real studio magic with soul drenched dub, old school reggae and new school vocal riddims all sounding super fresh.
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 - while the screen-printed artwork is a delight.
Review: Rasmus Allin has kicked off a brand new solo alias for this new Treacherous Dub album on Copenhagen-based label StereoRoyal. It is in part an homage to the original Jamaican dub sound but with live drums and instruments also layered in with electronic sounds and a celebratory vibe. It's filled with purely instrumental tracks - a first for this long standing artist - and features an lithograph artwork made by the artist himself. Sonically it's richly rewarding, with bottomless echo and rugged riffs on some of the uptempo tunes meshing nicely with more languid and laid back dubs elsewhere.