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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:

 

 

Triumphant horns. Heady echoes. Quality vocalists. Massive bass. Tour De Force are all that and more, arguably at the forefront of sound system culture within America. Thus Battle Cry is an appropriate - and timely, given their upcoming Hong Kong gig -  musical statement, one that takes the past and produces the future. The instrumental opener sets the tone, but its the vocalists that truly capture the Dub-Stuy collective's musical vision.
 
On “Roots Lyrics,” Brother Culture serenades the origins of roots in the chorus, while the verses focus on the diverse modern realities of reggae music. “Strong To Survive” begins with a sample, pointing out the continuing presence of Babylon within Western culture, before a simply overpowering digitally-infused bass-line enters the equation: DUBstep. From there, Jahdan Blakkamoore handles a slightly mutated Sleng Teng riddim on “Pool Party,” celebrating the niceties of summer weather and aquatic activities. A touch of the irie, if you will.
  
Next comes the appropriately mellower “Old Time Love,” released late last year on a lead EP, with Jay Spaker crooning atop a sparser track that allows his melodic vocal to mix nicely with the thick bass. “Tiger Style” channels pure late 70s dub vibes, melodica and all, before Luciano takes his turn upon the mic on “Where Do We Go Wrong.” Introspective and optimistic, the lyrics promote unity and the necessity of neighborliness - an important theme given the role of sound systems in facilitating street parties.
 
Jay Spaker returns on “A Little Bit More,” a heavy rasta tune, and then the slow thunder of “Warmongers” reminds the listener that this is very much a 2014 production. In closing, “The Traveler” continues this aesthetic by laying an acoustic Eastern-tinged melody atop interweaving instruments. By the final fade out, Tour De Force has certainly made it clear that they are a force to be reckoned with; equally crucial is the sociocultural relevance of an emerging American scene to contrast the explosion of reggae within Asia, Europe, and South America.
 

 
Now available in vinyl and digital formats for purveyors of all persuasions. There’s also a recent mini-documentary by FACT Magazine on Dub-Stuy Records’ philosophy and outlook on music that is well-worth watching:
 

 
Triumphant horns. Heady echoes. Quality vocalists. Massive bass. Tour De Force are all that and more, arguably at the forefront of sound system culture within America. Thus Battle Cry is an appropriate - and timely, given their upcoming Hong Kong gig - musical statement, one that takes the past and produces the future. The instrumental opener sets the tone, but its the vocalists that truly capture the Dub-Stuy collective's musical vision.

 

On “Roots Lyrics,” Brother Culture serenades the origins of roots in the chorus, while the verses focus on the diverse modern realities of reggae music. “Strong To Survive” begins with a sample, pointing out the continuing presence of Babylon within Western culture, before a simply overpowering digitally-infused bass-line enters the equation: DUBstep. From there, Jahdan Blakkamoore handles a slightly mutated Sleng Teng riddim on “Pool Party,” celebrating the niceties of summer weather and aquatic activities. A touch of the irie, if you will.

 

Next comes the appropriately mellower “Old Time Love,” released late last year on a lead EP, with Jay Spaker crooning atop a sparser track that allows his melodic vocal to mix nicely with the thick bass. “Tiger Style” channels pure late 70s dub vibes, melodica and all, before Luciano takes his turn upon the mic on “Where Do We Go Wrong.” Introspective and optimistic, the lyrics promote unity and the necessity of neighborliness - an important theme given the role of sound systems in facilitating street parties.

 

Jay Spaker returns on “A Little Bit More,” a heavy rasta tune, and then the slow thunder of “Warmongers” reminds the listener that this is very much a 2014 production. In closing, “The Traveler” continues this aesthetic by laying an acoustic Eastern-tinged melody atop interweaving instruments. By the final fade out, Tour De Force has certainly made it clear that they are a force to be reckoned with; equally crucial is the sociocultural relevance of an emerging American scene to contrast the explosion of reggae within Asia, Europe, and South America.

 

 

Now available in vinyl and digital formats for purveyors of all persuasions. There’s also a recent mini-documentary by FACT Magazine on Dub-Stuy Records’ philosophy and outlook on music that is well-worth watching:

 

 

Brazen may be exactly that, by properly emphasizing the dub in dubstep and the bassy depths of low-end theory on True Dub With A Step. The opening horns of “Jah Bless” make it clear that reggae influences will appear as well, but this album is more about bass-lines and whatever that dubstep ‘whomp’ should be called. “Freedom” combines a meditative vocal sample with a sparse drum, before the machines attack alongside a keyboard melody. The juxtaposition of sounds continues on the revelatory “Roots,” which is slow and brooding with minor keys and unusual instrumentation… and then comes the massive “Ganja Farmer.” More re-imagining than remix, it’s effects-laden vocals atop a dark future dub groove. “Is This Dub” pinches from Bob Marley, adding a thick growling bass beneath the echoed vocal sample to a track that at times sounds like a funeral dirge for a rasta robot. “Laysir” turns the BPM up, initially toying with a sample before dropping the bass in increasing layers throughout the track. “Pull Up On This” leans further into dubstep, before closer “Tribe By Fire” (feat. Jah Rocker) ambles back into heavy future skankin’ territory. This is a forward-thinking release, mixing the sounds of modern bass music with the theory and approach of classic dub. Free download via Soundcloud:

Brazen may be exactly that, by properly emphasizing the dub in dubstep and the bassy depths of low-end theory on True Dub With A Step. The opening horns of “Jah Bless” make it clear that reggae influences will appear as well, but this album is more about bass-lines and whatever that dubstep ‘whomp’ should be called. “Freedom” combines a meditative vocal sample with a sparse drum, before the machines attack alongside a keyboard melody. The juxtaposition of sounds continues on the revelatory “Roots,” which is slow and brooding with minor keys and unusual instrumentation… and then comes the massive “Ganja Farmer.” More re-imagining than remix, it’s effects-laden vocals atop a dark future dub groove. “Is This Dub” pinches from Bob Marley, adding a thick growling bass beneath the echoed vocal sample to a track that at times sounds like a funeral dirge for a rasta robot. “Laysir” turns the BPM up, initially toying with a sample before dropping the bass in increasing layers throughout the track. “Pull Up On This” leans further into dubstep, before closer “Tribe By Fire” (feat. Jah Rocker) ambles back into heavy future skankin’ territory. This is a forward-thinking release, mixing the sounds of modern bass music with the theory and approach of classic dub. Free download via Soundcloud: