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Hong Kong’s own Blood Dunza returns to Australian label Dub Temple Records for his second EP of deep bass. Exploring his own musical archives, the four tracks from the Heavy Hongkong headman that comprise Flipside are productions from 2008-2011 that have laid dormant until now. Fortunately - given that this EP was compiled for release just before a tragic computer crash! According to Blood Dunza, these are “tunes that I made for myself to play to get a little high” during Heavy’s dubstep nights. While he’s more focused on “reggae related stuff nowadays,” this is an interesting and personal time capsule from one of Hong Kong’s leading purveyors of bass music.
 
“Triangle” sets the tone: layered, with pulling bass carrying dissonant tones and a haunting Oriental melody that at times is given total prominence. Thick echoes surround the pulsing low-end on “Flip,” before the style does exactly that with a Chinese vocal introducing a sparse near-breakbeat. These tracks are simultaneously busy and complex, though the slow-building “Drifters” initially indicates otherwise before the beat and soulful sampled theme emerge from the haze. Arguably more directly influenced by the dub aesthetic than mainstream ‘clubstep,’ Flipside ends with “Timeout,” which balances 16-bit squeals of glitch with soaring synths. 
An engaging collection as well as an intriguing snapshot into an artist’s development. Free download:
 
Flipside by Blood Dunza
 
Hong Kong’s own Blood Dunza returns to Australian label Dub Temple Records for his second EP of deep bass. Exploring his own musical archives, the four tracks from the Heavy Hongkong headman that comprise Flipside are productions from 2008-2011 that have laid dormant until now. Fortunately - given that this EP was compiled for release just before a tragic computer crash! According to Blood Dunza, these are “tunes that I made for myself to play to get a little high” during Heavy’s dubstep nights. While he’s more focused on “reggae related stuff nowadays,” this is an interesting and personal time capsule from one of Hong Kong’s leading purveyors of bass music.

 

“Triangle” sets the tone: layered, with pulling bass carrying dissonant tones and a haunting Oriental melody that at times is given total prominence. Thick echoes surround the pulsing low-end on “Flip,” before the style does exactly that with a Chinese vocal introducing a sparse near-breakbeat. These tracks are simultaneously busy and complex, though the slow-building “Drifters” initially indicates otherwise before the beat and soulful sampled theme emerge from the haze. Arguably more directly influenced by the dub aesthetic than mainstream ‘clubstep,’ Flipside ends with “Timeout,” which balances 16-bit squeals of glitch with soaring synths. An engaging collection as well as an intriguing snapshot into an artist’s development. Free download:

 

 

Showcasing an inclusive approach - proving that musical peace is at least a reality in the Middle East - Israel’s Zvuloon Dub System combines Jamaican and Ethiopian influences to produce a potent and timeless album. The vocals, sung in Amharic, Tigrinya, and Gurage, come from lead singer Yalo as well as several guests, while the rest of the band bring a clear and confident knowledge of classic roots reggae.
 
From the opening bars of the instrumental “Alemitu,” it is obvious that this album has been lovingly crafted, with a strong sense of purpose and respect. After a slow lead-in with horns triumphant, the groove arrives alongside a dynamic keyboard solo. On “Tenesh Kelbe Lay,” another nice rhythm provides the platform for the intoxicating vocals. Hypnotic, yet far more dance than drone, this shows influences of the dub tradition rather than being true dub from an engineering perspective.
 
“Sab Sam” is a catchy track, sounding similar to some of the more triumphant work of Amadou & Mariam in structure and vocal styling. From there, “Man Begelagelgni” chills things out a bit, allowing a nice walking bass line to shine through before “Ney Denun Tieshe,” which features the wonderfully wavering guest vocals of legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed amidst more tight horn lines. Then “Yehoden Aweteche Lengeresh,” bearing some influence from Zap Pow’s “Last War” riddim, returns the album firmly to the Jamaican fold.
 
“Tsbukti Fetret” includes an elegant East African melody on the krar, a traditional instrument that appears on several other tracks as well, while a solid skanking guitar propels the rhythm. Hinting more at rocksteady than reggae, “Endemenesh” - with Zemene Melesse on mic duties - leads into the funky and upbeat “Zelel Zelel” splendidly, before the sparse and almost melancholy “Yene Almaz” closes out the album. Here it’s the masinko, a single-stringed bowed lute, that harkens back to the Ethiopian musical tradition.
 
Through and through, this is world music in the most transcendent and intriguing of ways. An impressive work of musical fusion, Anbessa Dub is spirited and spiritual:
 
Anbessa Dub by Zvuloon Dub System
 
Showcasing an inclusive approach - proving that musical peace is at least a reality in the Middle East - Israel’s Zvuloon Dub System combines Jamaican and Ethiopian influences to produce a potent and timeless album. The vocals, sung in Amharic, Tigrinya, and Gurage, come from lead singer Yalo as well as several guests, while the rest of the band bring a clear and confident knowledge of classic roots reggae.

 

From the opening bars of the instrumental “Alemitu,” it is obvious that this album has been lovingly crafted, with a strong sense of purpose and respect. After a slow lead-in with horns triumphant, the groove arrives alongside a dynamic keyboard solo. On “Tenesh Kelbe Lay,” another nice rhythm provides the platform for the intoxicating vocals. Hypnotic, yet far more dance than drone, this shows influences of the dub tradition rather than being true dub from an engineering perspective.

 

“Sab Sam” is a catchy track, sounding similar to some of the more triumphant work of Amadou & Mariam in structure and vocal styling. From there, “Man Begelagelgni” chills things out a bit, allowing a nice walking bass line to shine through before “Ney Denun Tieshe,” which features the wonderfully wavering guest vocals of legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed amidst more tight horn lines. Then “Yehoden Aweteche Lengeresh,” bearing some influence from Zap Pow’s “Last War” riddim, returns the album firmly to the Jamaican fold.

 

“Tsbukti Fetret” includes an elegant East African melody on the krar, a traditional instrument that appears on several other tracks as well, while a solid skanking guitar propels the rhythm. Hinting more at rocksteady than reggae, “Endemenesh” - with Zemene Melesse on mic duties - leads into the funky and upbeat “Zelel Zelel” splendidly, before the sparse and almost melancholy “Yene Almaz” closes out the album. Here it’s the masinko, a single-stringed bowed lute, that harkens back to the Ethiopian musical tradition.

 

Through and through, this is world music in the most transcendent and intriguing of ways. An impressive work of musical fusion, Anbessa Dub is spirited and spiritual:

 

 

The Giants, it seems, are actually trying to be humble. With Reel 1 & 2 - Adapted Chapter, they’ve successfully taken on many of reggae’s most famous riddims, dubbing them not into spatial oblivion, but rather as funky instrumentals primed for the dance. Consistent in quality, and with several standout tracks: this is an impressive album. What about naming the originals you ask? Well, we all need homework from time to time! (EDIT: or you can check out this Spotify playlist direct from The Giants!)
 
“Adapted Chapter Dub” features a warm skanking guitar, before allowing a sample to make The Giants’ mission clear: ‘strictly rub a dub.’ Bringing the groove to the front, “Crafty Dub” is at times sparse and at times swirling and busy, with cascading keys nicely reappearing throughout. The short “Honey Dub” pushes the bpm up just a bit, before “Brixton Prison Dub” takes a darker percussion-laden approach to a familiar tune, which makes the bursting horns a mid-way surprise.
 
“Earth Dub” allows its riddim to slowly assemble, teasing with pieces until the melody-line finally - though temporarily - emerges from the shadowy haze, at times almost hinting at industrial mechanization. “Old Time Dub” gives away its origins immediately via a few very familiar words from Triston Palmer, yet the tune itself lets the horn move to the front-and-center, reverberating with power even as the rhythm section evaporates.
 
As a spoken ‘Irie’ echoes, “Rocking Miss D Dub” rides a short, tight groove, revealing some engaging layers along the way. Then “Drum Song Dub” - the most uptempo on the whole album - shows off a few classic tricks of dub engineering (lasers and spring reverb) while featuring a haunting theme. “House Of Parliament Dub” initially sounds formal, with calling horns, which makes the restrained breakdown and buildup even better.
 
The delicate “Rain Dub” gives way to the chaotic “Mash Dub,” where reverberation reigns supreme. The horns return, cut short and emphasizing the echo, on the appropriately-titled “Drifting Dub.” While announced as ‘strictly drum n bass,’ “Bad Boy Dub” ventures into some jazzy guitar to bring its disparate elements together smoothly. “Dedication To Flabba Dub” does feature a powerful bass-line, giving a nice nod to a legend while also leading nicely into the horn-line of “You Don’t Remember Dub.” “Night Fall Down” seems to imply that the album is winding down; in reality the slow - yet groovy - tune is merely setting up the expected ambling bass on an excellent closing statement in the form of “World Jam Dub.”
 
It’s safe to say that while most of these are going to be familiar to the average dub/reggae connoisseur, there’s far more here than just updated covers of known versions… these are modern and updated interpretations recorded in loving classic analog style. Tune in now, this 18-track is even a free lossless download:
 
Reel 1 & 2 - Adapted Chapter by The Giants
 
The Giants, it seems, are actually trying to be humble. With Reel 1 & 2 - Adapted Chapter, they’ve successfully taken on many of reggae’s most famous riddims, dubbing them not into spatial oblivion, but rather as funky instrumentals primed for the dance. Consistent in quality, and with several standout tracks: this is an impressive album. What about naming the originals you ask? Well, we all need homework from time to time! (EDIT: or you can check out this Spotify playlist direct from The Giants!)

 

“Adapted Chapter Dub” features a warm skanking guitar, before allowing a sample to make The Giants’ mission clear: ‘strictly rub a dub.’ Bringing the groove to the front, “Crafty Dub” is at times sparse and at times swirling and busy, with cascading keys nicely reappearing throughout. The short “Honey Dub” pushes the bpm up just a bit, before “Brixton Prison Dub” takes a darker percussion-laden approach to a familiar tune, which makes the bursting horns a mid-way surprise.

 

“Earth Dub” allows its riddim to slowly assemble, teasing with pieces until the melody-line finally - though temporarily - emerges from the shadowy haze, at times almost hinting at industrial mechanization. “Old Time Dub” gives away its origins immediately via a few very familiar words from Triston Palmer, yet the tune itself lets the horn move to the front-and-center, reverberating with power even as the rhythm section evaporates.

 

As a spoken ‘Irie’ echoes, “Rocking Miss D Dub” rides a short, tight groove, revealing some engaging layers along the way. Then “Drum Song Dub” - the most uptempo on the whole album - shows off a few classic tricks of dub engineering (lasers and spring reverb) while featuring a haunting theme. “House Of Parliament Dub” initially sounds formal, with calling horns, which makes the restrained breakdown and buildup even better.

 

The delicate “Rain Dub” gives way to the chaotic “Mash Dub,” where reverberation reigns supreme. The horns return, cut short and emphasizing the echo, on the appropriately-titled “Drifting Dub.” While announced as ‘strictly drum n bass,’ “Bad Boy Dub” ventures into some jazzy guitar to bring its disparate elements together smoothly. “Dedication To Flabba Dub” does feature a powerful bass-line, giving a nice nod to a legend while also leading nicely into the horn-line of “You Don’t Remember Dub.” “Night Fall Down” seems to imply that the album is winding down; in reality the slow - yet groovy - tune is merely setting up the expected ambling bass on an excellent closing statement in the form of “World Jam Dub.”

 

It’s safe to say that while most of these are going to be familiar to the average dub/reggae connoisseur, there’s far more here than just updated covers of known versions… these are modern and updated interpretations recorded in loving classic analog style. Tune in now, this 18-track is even a free lossless download: