Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Beyond The Realms Of Dub

Adrian Sherwood can’t mix dub, so someone told me the other day. It was news to me, but then, I’m no expert and he is. The trouble with experts sometimes is that their authority can be a straightjacket that restricts their ability to appreciate that which is related to their field of knowledge. If you get my drift. I doubt that AS would consider himself fit to polish King Tubby’s crown, but that wouldn’t deter his legion of admirers from appointing him King of Anarcho UK Dub Tech Radicalism. There aren’t many challengers, true. His work with Mark Stewart is enough to secure him a place in my little book of legendary engineers, anyway.
   There’s something appealing about renegade activists operating in areas where many others already rule. Gareth Sager’s no Roland Kirk, but what a fine noise he made when, with Rip Rig & Panic, he broke into the kingdom of jazz to ransack the palace, nick a few treasures and leave, howling with laughter. The same might be said of James White and even John Lurie, although Lurie does have decent chops on him.
   It’s been a Dub-filled afternoon. Such things as ‘Garvey’s Ghost’ with Jack Ruby at the controls – no extravagant FX trickery, but with such pieces (players) at his disposal with which to create sonic mosaics he doesn’t need it.
   Mad Professor took me ‘Beyond The Realms of Dub’ – what a fine madness, taking the title track as an example, wherein the Mad One mixes vocals to make a Hammer horror atmosphere whilst drums burst through your brain like bursts from an Uzi. ‘Africa 93’ is laced with such lunacy that his royal highness Lee Perry should worry - a fantastical whimsy of heavily reverbed drum, bleeps and electro squiggles.
   Kit Clayton’s another imposter, but his ‘Nek Sanalet’ album contains some fine dub-electronica, like ‘Nuchu’, which is as good as anything Lee Perry ever produced in his sleep. And I mean that as a compliment. ‘Purpakana’ is also a worthy excursion through the psyched-out echo chamber. Likewise ‘Kalu’. Other tracks are more Basic Channel than Channel One, but you know how those two are connected so they still fit in the context of the album.
   A minute into Joseph Nechvatal’s ‘Ego Masher’ we hear a motorbike zooming off; perhaps it’s King Tubby riding through the alleyways of Kingston on his Honda. The track, from Sub Rosa’s ‘Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music Vol 6’, bares some relation to Dub’s ability to rearrange sound. Not that Dub is JA’s answer to musique concrete, exactly, but the boldest producers’ inclination towards splicing in that which sits outside of music is tangential to this brand of avant-garde sound.
   Without having played all of the compilation, it’s still evident that the sixth in this series is equal to its precursors, providing, as they all do, diverse examples of noise and electronic music, some of which, you may not be surprised to learn, is both.


  1. nice one,
    interesting blog... thanks
    you must visit dissensus.com - films, dub, cryptonomicon ... maybe you're already there?


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