Paraphrasing the Soul Sonic Force and sorting through today`s releases for tunes that could have graced Alfie & Leo`s Amnesia dance-floor.
Utopia Records have licensed some bad-ass post-punk dub, straight outta 1990s Blackburn. The original of You Try is militant machine-drummed / gunned indie-dance, full of angular, urgent, abrasive guitars. These eventually locking into a great cycling, psychedelic riff. The delivery and music falls somewhere between Mancunian musical mavericks the New Fast Automatic Daffodils and early – pre-ecstasy – whizz, weed and acid Happy Mondays. A second mix reduces the drum machine rattle, fragments the vocal, and adds heroic doses of delay and reverb to the percussion that’s left. The axe sharpened to a single snaking, spiraling line. A third version brings the bongos even further to the fore.
FREQUENCIES OF DUB / BLOW OF THE DESERT
Brothers In Dub is a newish German label, that up until now has been strictly digital. Their first vinyl outing features Frequencies Of Dub and Andre Welt. A slow synthetic steppa, at its heart is Andre’s howling harmonica. There are remixes from Jah Schultz, and Conscious Sounds` Dougie Wardrop, who speeds the track up and shares glimpses of rhythm guitar and other deliriously dancing details.
More slow skanking, this time from Tokyo’s Taka Noda, making his debut on Portland, Oregon’s ZamZam Sounds. After over a decade of music making Taka-san finally caught a whole lot of people’s attention – mine included – via his dynamite collaboration with Danny “Legowelt” Wolfers, Tascam Space Season. Ido’s computerized keys create sounds like clipped guitar chords, while Taka’s terrific melodica adds a human touch. The bowel-bashing bass-line is also brilliant.
These two melodica and harmonica tracks in particular, due to their tempo and lead instruments, are perhaps the biggest parallels here to “old school” Balearic beat, or the early 90s British version of it, at least – Weatherall’s Mix Of Two Halves of St. Etienne’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart, and prog-house’s passion for dub and weed.
PULI / MR STEINBERGER UPSTAIRS
Constant Delay is brand new off-shoot of Animals Dancing dedicated to dubwise creations. Their first 45 is from L.A.’s Puli aka Damon Eliza Palermo, John Calvin Jones, and Phil Cho. The trio recently collaborated with Alex Ho on a quality LP, released by Music For Memory. The single’s A-side, Mr. Steinberger Upstairs, starts out like a ringer for African Head Charge – less of a skank, and more of stoned funky strut. Pieces like Fever Pitch. Percussive and squelchy, the drum hits are splashes of sound. Bubbling effects adding to the aquatic ambience. Relaxing, and recharging, like swimming through honey and treacle, a tapestry of tabla, tropical chimes and blissed-out bleeps, this is post-punk-edged, and certainly not roots. Chill-out room material that’s absorbed IDM and acid house, something to be filed next to gear like Good Block’s Naiad. Gingko Dub, on the flip, begins with birdsong, and then a broken but totally tribal rhythm. Melodica-like keys countering its dark, dub techno phasing.
LINVAL THOMPSON MEETS AVANTROOTS
Reggae legend Linval Thompson teams up with Pulshar – Pablo Bolivar and Sergio Sainz Vidal – on the pair’s label, Avantroots. The song, World Crisis, receives a series of remixes, including one from Detroit’s Rod Modell / DeepChord. This, and one from Pulshar themselves, both sort of adhere to the dub techno template established by Basic Channel / Rhythm & Sound. While the former is a definite dance-floor rocker, the latter has its boom reduced to a resting heartbeat. Drums crack like whips, dubwise thunder and lightning. The dread, hypnotic, meditative, deep, deep, deep. Braulio Lam, an artist from the Tijuana / San Diego border, breaks up the beat, bringing out the track’s blues and funk. A guitar is squeezed backwards. The echo used as a kind of plaintive call-and-response. Spain’s Deepnaut – the duo of Daniel s Erbé and Heredero – keep the 4 / 4 and dub techno trimmings / trappings, but instead of something dark, employ them to produce a song full of warm and exploding with light. Ringing keys coupled with clattering, colliding percussion. Awash with whirls and wows of melody. Despite Linval`s reality-rooted lyrics, the result is hugely uplifting, as if designed to summon a collective, shared, strength.
Big Daddy – Warlords
African Head Charge – Pitched Fever
Puli – Mr Steinberger Upstairs
Good Block – Naiad
Mystica Tribe – Ido
Noda & Wolfers – In Opposite Reality
Big Daddy – Chasmophyte
Pampidoo – Synthesizer Voice (Legowelt Mix)
Jennifer Touch – Shot Shot (Richie Phoe Dub)
Linval Thompson – World Crisis (Deepnaut Mix)
African Head Charge – Microdosing
3 Men Gone Man – You Try (Dub 1)
Frequencies Of Dub – Blow Of The Desert (Mixes)
Kulture Blak – On My Path