To accompany the recent reggae round up, here’s a selection of rougher and tougher dubs.
Originally released on Roots Rock in 1991, and aimed at the heads of all war-mongers, the full-on, fairly frantic vocal mix is flipped by this still urgent dub – intro`d by the room shaking thunder of an angry planet roaring.
Alpha & Omega / Shuruaat Aur Ant / Partial
This was another tip from the dynamite Tom Dubwise – unleased on a limited 10” late last year. Partial rescuing this 1991 track from the archives of Alpha & Omega – the duo of Christine Woodbridge and John Sprosen, who’ve been making magical music since the late `80s. Stridently stepping, it sends a snatch of hypnotic Hindi mantra soaring over woodwinds, sitar, and Bollywood strings. The results like a Monsoon / Shelia Chandra Indi-Pop devotional, but boasting super human bass levels. The dub translates the title into English – The Beginning And The End – removes the vocal, and reduces the instrumentation to mere flashes, subliminal suggestions. Focussing instead on the remaining microscopic Basic Channel / Rhythm & Sound detail.
Alpha & Omega / Ancient African Civilisation / Partial
Partial have also picked up, put out – a little more recently – a second Alpha & Omega 10” missive. This one dating from 1996, and featuring the voice of long-standing collaborator, Nishka, aka Tracey Jarrett. The original mix moves around a strong melodica melody, while the 3 dubs dissolve and disintegrate to leave just the drum and the bass. Serrating melodies, leaving them ringing, surrounded by cymbal shock waves, and piano shards.
Centry / Zion Garden / Partial
Yet another 10” from Partial pairs a previously unreleased Danny Red tune, Jah See & Know, with an early Dougie “Centry” Wardrop production, Zion Garden. The latter was one of the first releases on Dougie`s Conscious Sounds imprint, back in the early `90s. Its gentle riff rising and falling, floating, through shifting parameters of sound. Submerged and aquatic, in a digital tribute to The Black Ark`s distinctive bounce downs.
Disciples / Prowling Lion / Partial
Still more from Partial, this time on a 12, featuring 5 mixes – 2 previously unreleased – of the Disciples` Jah Shaka favourite, Prowling Lion. Back in 1993, this was the debut release on Russel Bell-Brown`s own Boom Shaka Lacka label. The “straight” cut combining fanfares of keys – tuned somewhere between strings and horns – and a kinda “industrial Nyabinghi” rattle – militant music to move your feet. Each additional take is an increasingly deranged drop. Employing powerful plunges into delay, trapping the sparse instrumentation in echo, turning, twisting, them inside out. By the third version the track has basically been shaken apart, the spinning, disorientating debris just about clinging to the skeleton of a percussive framework. The Raw Mixes are even more stripped back, and more machined. Banging bombardments of bottom-end rumble and metallic, Mad Professor-like, ricochets.
A 10” set featuring 3 new mixes of Yabby You & The Prophets 1973 classic, Conquering Lion – commissioned, I think, to promo Pressure Sounds expanded reissue of the album that this seminal roots single was lifted from. Martin Frederick Harrison is an old friend of label founder, Pete Holdsworth, the two having both been in `80s On-U outift, London Underground. Martin’s also the person behind the marvelous Morricone tribute, Ennio, that appeared on 1991`s Pay It All Back Volume Three. His rework here takes the original out from 3 and a half to 6 and half minutes – with a sitar / string drone intro – focusing on the famous hypnotic organ riff, while cutting and clipping the rest of the instrumentation, as if ecstatically cross-fading it in. Italian producer, Paolo Baldini DubFiles, provides a vocal and dub – backing the song with glitched, Pole-like, static and fizz, paying his respects to Tubby`s slapped spring reverb with a ridiculously rubbery revised rhythm. There`s a wicked video of Paolo at the desk, doing his stuff, that`s part of the download package. I really wish this was up on YouTube to share, but this will give you some idea…
Pressure Sounds recently added two Paolo Baldini DubFiles reworks of Barry Brown to their Bandcamp page.
The Dub Organiser, in this case is not the great, very sadly late, Lee Perry, but Chris Lane, co-founder of Fashion Records – the label spun out of the legendary store, Dub Vendor. This melodica-led instrumental is stoned, sedate, but if it`s out on Jim Morrison`s “perimeter where there are no stars” then it`s in an orbit relentlessly rocked by meteor showers of shattered, skittering, percussion. The version swaps the melodica for horn blasts, and “wah-wahs” in phased snatches of guitar and piano.
A Channel One tune from 1982, mixed by Scientist at King Tubby`s, that finds veteran reggae hornsman, Vin Gordon, in collaboration with Earl “Chinna” Smith`s High Times Players – Gordon’s trombone in duet with Fazal Prendergast`s guitar picking. The heavily delayed drums dancing through a small solar system of subtle outta space synths. On the dub, the trombone is treated, falls, flies, away, leaving Fazal`s fretwork to take the lead. French label, Hornin` Sounds, have also just announced an LP of Fazal`s grooves.
Mafia & Fluxy / Zulu / Jah Shaka
The “Dangerous Brothers”, Leroy and David Heywood jam with Japanese super saxophonist, Megumi Mesaku, on this light-hearted skank, for a Jah Shaka 45. If you find the OG a tad trad, try the seismically subbed dub.
Reggae Roast`s Adam Prescott takes Augustus Pablo`s Far East Sound and slows it right down, for J:Kenzo`s Lion Charge label – in the process making perfectly plain the connection between Pablo`s melancholy melodica melodies and Ennio Morricone`s emotive Spaghetti Westerns scores.